Top 10 Dinner Held at Sparta High School

Steven Vocaturo, Sean Decker, Andrew Thomas, MIchael Meisel, Peter Jin, Dylan Panicucci, Amanda Pegher, Shirley Wang, Christina De Gasperis, Isabella Cuan.  A pyramid of the top ten students, wearing shirts from the schools they will be attending in the fall.
Eric Hood was Dylan Panicucci's Russian teacher.  Panicucci is going to West Point in the fall. 

SPARTA, NJ - The Media Resource Center at Sparta High School was the site of the Top Ten Dinner on May 28.

The small gathering is an annual event for  the students who are ranked one through 10 in the senior class. The students select one teacher who has had the greatest influence on them during their academic career. In front of their parents, the high school administrators and members of the board of education, the students and teachers speak about each other.   

"This is one of the nicest events we have to honor our students," said Sparta Schools Superintendent Dennis Tobin.

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Director of Guidance Rory Fitzgerald echos this sentiment, " I look forward to this event every year in order to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of our students at Sparta High School."

The class of 2014 Top Ten Students:

  1. Peter Jin          
  2. Isabella Cuan           
  3. Dylan Panicucci        
  4. Sean Decker          
  5. Christina De Gasperis          
  6. Steven Vocaturo               
  7. Michael Meisel              
  8. Andrew Thomas            
  9. Shirley Wang                  
  10. Amanda Pegher                  

Chosen by the students, the teacher honorees were:

  • Angela Trzcinski  Honors and AP Chemistry Teacher - Jin
  • Craig Merril World History, US History and AP Art History  Teacher - Cuan
  • Eric Hood  Russian, Honors Russian Teacher- Panicucci
  • Deborah Gianuzzi  Wind Ensemble,  Band, Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, AP Music Theory -Decker
  • Kenneth Scognamiglio  AP Biology and Comparative Anatomy- De Gasperis
  • Christy Graham  Photography and Graphic Arts Teacher-Vocaturo
  • Angela DeLuccia  Contemporary English,  AP Language and Comp Teacher- Meisel
  • Antonia Adamiak     Biology and Biochemstiry Teacher- Thomas
  • Brian Brennan AP European History, US History II -Wang
  • Loni Bach  Orchestra, Symphony, Philharmonic Orchestra and Piano Teacher - Pegher

Some of the teacher honorees shared their thoughts about their students and the evening.

Graham said, "It was such an honor being chosen as one of the top ten students honored teachers. It was a night full of laughs, tears, and very big smiles. I will never forget that night or the student that chose me. He is definitely one of a kind and I know he will change the world for the better one day. I am so proud of him and all of his achievements."

"The Top 10 are truly extraordinary students who will find great satisfaction in doing very important work in the future.  I thank them for the honor of having taught each and every one of these exceptional young men and women. They are the best of the best," said Adamiak.

DeLuccia also said, " It is truly an honor and privilege to teach the best and brightest at Sparta High School. Each has a world of opportunity in front of them. I had the honor of speaking on behalf of Michael Meisel- he will be attending Yale in the Fall. Michael's equal affinity for the sciences and humanities is truly remarkable.  He will find nothing but success as he pursues higher education."

"I love the Top 10 Dinner." said Gianuzzi. "It is one of the best things we do at the high school. Cannot think of a better way to share how amazing these kids are than with those who taught them. It is a very emotional and special evening. I am so honored and proud to be have been chosen to speak for Sean Decker. He is a very special young man."

Merril shared his thoughts on the evening.  "The greatest reward a teacher can receive is a simple 'thank you' from a student. The dinner does far beyond that recognition.   The night is a culmination of their hard work and dedication throughout their four years at Sparta High.  I felt truly grateful for the invitation by Isabella Cuan.  Each of the comments was heart felt and uplifting to all in attendance.    Best of luck to all the top Ten recipients."  

"It is a wonderful night filled with laughter and tears as we celebrate the top ten students. It was a privilege to attend as a guest of Peter Jin. He may be the most curious and enthusiastic chemistry student I have had," Trzcinski said.

As the school year draws to a close, there will be additional events honoring student achievement. On Thursday evening the Senior Academic Awards dinner will be held at Minerals Resort and Spa. On Friday the Media Resource Center will host the Underclass Academic Awards tea.  Graduation is scheduled for Friday, June 20 at the school.

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