SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta High School classes of 1981,1982,1983 and 1984 were together again for a reunion weekend July 17 to 19. It lasted a little more than two full days but took a year of planning.
Jeff Muti, class of ’83 reached out to a few class members from the four years he was at Sparta. They created committees and got to work. They met more frequently as the date came closer. Eventually some were meeting every day.
More than 200 people attended coming from near and far including Texas and Florida.
There was something on the schedule for everyone. The busy week end began on Friday night with a Meet and Greet for the individual classes.
- Class of 81 met at Sheridans Lodge
- Class of 82 met at St Moritz
- Class of 83 met at Lake Mohawk Country Club Tiki Bar
- Class of 84 met at Sparta Elks Lodge
Saturday morning began with a special 5K run on the Sparta High School Campus. The run began at the goal post on Cassels Field. The runners looped the new blue track, ran back to the football field to run the bleachers up to the press box and down again. The course then took them through the parking lot, on the path through the woods to Station Park across the fields and ended at the Station Park pond.
There was a golf outing at Sky View midday. A group of about 20 took a tour of the high school. Principal Janet Ferraro and PSTO President Jennifer Dericks guided them through the recently reconstructed building. They began in the new Media Center with a talk about some of the changes and new things available to the current students. The tour through the building game the alumni a chance to reminisce about their days walking the halls. It was at times confusing as they negotiated the new parts of the building as well as some areas that had been completely renovated, rebuilt and repurposed.
Principal Ferraro made posters with photos from old yearbooks that were displayed on the entrance to the Medial Center. They spent some time looking at the trophy cases and banners with the names of past student athletes. The tour ended at the school store where they were able to purchase SHS gear.
The main event was a catered semi-formal party at Waterloo Village. The venue was decorated with photos and memorabilia of Sparta High School; year books, overhead projector to display personal photos as well as old school newspapers.
The buffet dinner included a DJ from 6:30 until 9 p.m. After 9 p.m. the band From Good Homes played for the all of the alumni. The band members are all from the area but, as musicians, they have gained national notoriety.
Winding up the week end the families gathered at Hillside Park in Andover for a picnic.
Alumni and week end organizer Debbie Azzolina said, “What was truly evident throughout the planning down to the actual event is that Sparta Spartans are a special group of people. These friendships were the foundation that brought so many to travel near and far to see our friends again this past weekend. It was truly a memorable weekend of activities for all. May our moments together engage us to stay connected into the future.”
Alumni and week end organizer Debbie Azzolina said, “Our Saturday night gathering a Waterloo was a perfect setting for our multi-class reunion. At the bar we offered a blue drink called the Spartini. We also featured a memorabilia table of pictures, yearbooks, and school newspapers highlighting special teachers and sporting events.
“You could feel the energy in the room as classmates laughed, cried and embraced each other some for the first time in many decades. We released wish lanterns into the night sky to remember all of our classmates that are no longer with us followed by a poem that reminded us that they will never be forgotten. The evening ended with, From Good Homes playing all our favorite songs everyone was singing, dancing no one wanted the night to come to an end. As we said our final good buys we all followed a luminary lit path to the parking lot.
Azzolina concluded, “What was truly evident throughout the planning down to the actual event is that Sparta Spartans are a special group of people. These friendships were the foundation that brought so many to travel near and far to see our friends again this past weekend. It was truly a memorable weekend of activities for all. May our moments together engage us to stay connected into the future.”