SPARTA, NJ – The National Arts Honor Society virtual ceremony celebrated the induction of 25 new members.  Each of the seniors had a slide in the ceremony with some of their creations, along with the classes they had taken at Sparta High School and the school they will be attending in the fall.

Principal Ronnie Spring said this event was special to him because last year it was the first event he attended after having been appointed principal.  He went straight from the board of education meeting to the ceremony in the media center.

“I was blown away.  Talk about amazing first impressions,” Spring said. 

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Sparta High School Vice Principal and Art Supervisor Jamie Barker shared quote from Henry David Thoreau in “Walden;” “It is something to be able to paint a particular picture or carve a statue and so to make a few objects beautiful it is far more glorious to carve and paint the atmosphere and medium through which we look to affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic was present in this event because, as the speakers explained art is a personal expression of their experiences.

Advisor Christine Mase addressed the students.  Recognizing “there is much going on in the world right now but it is one of the best times to be creative, to be an artist and to translate the world into a visual medium.”

“Life is hard sometimes, and things can go wrong, however it is how you respond to those times that makes you successful,” Mase said.  “And when things get tough, this is what you do. Make good art.”  You all have been given a special gift,” Mase said.  “Know that art can heal art can bind and art can speak to the masses.  So I challenge you all after tonight, after you graduate, go make good art.”

Vice President Natalie Krudys said, “Art has taken on an entirely new meaning during this pandemic as it allows us to express our struggles and emotions in the form of beautiful masterpieces.  Any kind of art, even beyond what we do for National Art Honor Society, can be good therapy…Art has the potential to change lives for the better.”

“Sparta High School NAHS President said, “Now more than ever we need artists in our world,” Sparta High School NAHS President Ande Wittenmeier said.  “We need photographers, sculptors, painters and all around creators to help us together and inspire each other in these times of uncertainty. I can say without a doubt these students today are those creators and artists.”

“Even with the shortened time we were able to accomplish so much with our service through projects together and inspire creativity within our entire Sparta arts community,” Sparta High School NAHS Treasurer Jade Crisco said. “This was an uncertain time and many of us still used art to express ourselves and come together.”  

The graduating seniors were listed with the schools they will attend and their intended area of study if known.  They also shared a favorite moment or memory:

Joseph Biss – Fashion Institute of Technology for Fine Art. His favorite memory is “Intermediate drawing and painting.”

Allison Bottoni – Full Sail University for Music Production, Advanced Photography and Teen Arts. She said her favorite memory is “Teen Arts with her friends.”

Taylor Canfield – Muhlenberg College for Biology; Intermediate Sculpture and Ceramics. She said her favorite moment was the time “both sculpture teaches complimented her glaze mix, saying it was something from a store.”

Yasmeen Caswell – University of South Carolina for Pre-International Business; AP Studio Art.  She said her favorite moment was “getting an award for the photo Myrtle Beach entered in the Sparta Camera Club EXPO XXXV.”

Jade Criso, NAHS Secretary – Community College of Morris for Secondary Education with a focus on Education.  Her favorite art moment was “when Ande would come to my art class.”

Riley D’Alessandro – East Stroudsburg University for Art and Design.  Her favorite moment was “being a part of NAHS and varsity swimming.”

William DiGuiseppe – Sussex County Community College for Illustration.  Her favorite moment was “the fall drama opening night.”

Jessica Fenners – Bucknell University for Cell Biology and Biochemistry. Her favorite moment was “when my math teacher expressed her love for my displayed art piece and mentioned that she looked at it everyday because it made her smile.”

Joshua Gorman – Sussex County Community College.  His favorite moment was “creating ‘No Evil Here’ because it was the first time in photoshop at least that I created something that was really mine and completely original.

Suehilah Hassan – County College of Morris for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.  Her favorite memory was “painting murals in the school hallway.”

Elizabeth Holden – County College of Morris for Photography of Technology.  Her favorite moment was “glass photography.”

Isabella Horowitz – American University for Business and Entertainment.  Her favorite moment was “the 2018 NAHS Induction when Mrs. Mase presented me with an award, encouraging me to continue my art.”

Avery Klinck – Butler University for Dance Performance. Her favorite memory was “having my sister dance in paint after school for my photography project.”

Natalie Krudys NAHS Vice President – University of Pittsburgh for Neuroscience and Studio Art.  Her favorite memory was “placing in Fresh Perspective, 2018 Student Art Show at the Morris Museum.”

Cameron Leary – Montclair State University.  Her favorite moment was “painting records.”

Samantha Lopen – Montclair State University.

Paige Markvicka – Kansas State for Pre-Veterinary studies, Biology.  She said her favorite memory was “doing face paint for community service I got to meet so many people and I had so much fun with the kids.”

Nancy Nester – Auburn University for Neuroscience.  She said her favorite art moment was “Hydrodipping with my class.”

Amanda Sansone – East Carolina University for Nursing.  Her favorite memory was “Hydrodipping.”

Kristen Sansone – East Carolina University for Nurse Practitioner/Research Nurse.  Her favorite moment was “Hydrodipping.”

Lawren Spinetta – University of the Arts for Animation. Her favorite memory was “junior year and advanced art.”

Jillian Stote – West Virginia University for Nursing.  Her favorite memory was “face painting for the Special Olympics fundraiser each year.”

Mia Von Eisenburg – James Madison University for Business.  Her favorite memory was “getting to draw portraits of children for Malaysia.  It was such a good feeling to bring jot to their faces and give back to their community.”

Sarah Wille – Sacred Heart University for Exercise Science, Athletic Training and Track. Her favorite memory was “the 2018 NAHS Induction Ceremony and Art Gala” and being inducted in the inaugural year of the National Art Honor Society at Sparta High School.

Ande Wittenmeier NAHS President – Syracuse University for Illustration. Her favorite memory was “visiting Jade’s art class.”

Barker thanked the art teachers, “I feel very lucky to work alongside such amazing colleagues.”

The art teachers were all part of the event, representing all media and class levels: Spencer Davis, Christy Graham, Jennifer Kucher-Csaltos, Kristin Lindsley and Mase.

Present members of the Sparta High School National Art Honor Society and 2019-2020 inductees include:

  • Daniella Abbasante – Junior,
  • Zoe Ameen – Junior,
  • Lizzi Botta – Junior,
  • Jordan Bucenec – Junior,
  • Chloe Clancy – Junior,
  • Emma Dyrsten – Sophomore,
  • Gianna Gorvan – Junior,
  • Mikayla Flanz – Junior,
  • Lukas Hein – Junior,
  • Sofia Horowitz – Sophomore,
  • Emily Jacobs – Junior,
  • Olivia Lee – Junior,
  • Julia McEllen – Junior,
  • Heather Maxwell – Junior,
  • Corinna Moriaty – Sophomore,
  • Daniella Rispoli – Junior,
  • Jamie Rubin – Junior,
  • Veronika Waltner – Junior.

“While we couldn’t the ceremony we had hoped, we know the National Art Honor Society will be even stronger next year and we are so excited to see what comes of it,” Criso said.

“Know that art can heal art can bind and art can speak to the masses.  So I challenge you all after tonight, after you graduate, go make good art," Mase said, quoting Neil Gaiman.

Sparta High School Vice Principal Jamie Barker thanked the art teachers, “I feel very lucky to work alongside such amazing colleagues.”

Barker shared quote from Henry David Thoreau in “Walden.” “It is something to be able to paint a particular picture or carve a statue and so to make a few objects beautiful it is far more glorious to carve and paint the atmosphere and medium through which we look to affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”

Barker said, “You have all mastered the art of creating beauty, but many of you have transcended beyond that.  You have affected your own perspective and that of others. And in doing so you have colored the mundane. Challenged the status quo.  You have innovated invented and inspired progress. Thank you for being artistic pioneers.”

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