SPARTA, NJ - On Monday, March 9, Sparta High School’s Students Taking Action in the Community, or STAC, club hosted their first annual Chili Challenge in the SHS cafeteria.

Eleven different homemade chilies were entered into the contest. Five SHS faculty members entered and six students. Participants made their chilies ahead of time and kept them warm for tasting in slow cookers. Students and faculty who attended the event were given three tickets to vote for their favorites.

When asked about the chili she made, student Emily Chisarik said she and her co-chef, Riley McAteer, opted for a vegan version. “We spiced it up though” she said, “with black pepper, chili peppers, and chili powder.”

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In total, STAC made $300 for the Manna House soup kitchen in Newton. Julia Corrice, one of the event’s organizers, said she was very pleased with the turn-out. “For our first time doing it,” she said, “It went really well.”

At the end of the evening, three winners were crowned. First place and the best chili of the night, went to Meghan Edwards and Claudia Connolly with 30 total votes.   Chisarik and McAteer took home second place. Angela Trzcinski, a chemistry teacher at SHS, came in third.

“Before this, I had never made chili before,” said Edwards. “I’m a vegetarian, so I never even tasted our chili, but I guess it was good.”