Las Vegas Comes to Sparta Thanks to the Education Foundation

Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
A Casino Night attender looks at the items available to win. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
People socializing at the bar. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Some of the items up for the Silent Auction. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
The craps table. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Players  at the blackjack table. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
A group of friends playing Caribbean Stud Poker. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Players trying their hand at craps. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Attendees playing roulette. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Blackjack players looking right out of Las Vegas. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo

SPARTA, N.J.- “The snow hasn’t stopped us,” said Sparta Education Foundation Board Member Nancy Purnell.

The organization held its Casino Night at the Lake Mohawk Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. where attendees braved the cold and icy weather to show their support.

“My kids went to Sparta High School and I just wanted to support them. They are in their 30’s and 40’s now, but I wanted to support education,” said Linda Ingala. “I realized I didn’t have to enter the “Principal for a Day” drawing, but these items are gorgeous. It’s going to be a fun night.”

Sign Up for E-News

 Among the approximately 56 tricky tray items available to be won were a hand signed hockey stick signed by the New Jersey Devils Travis Zajac, Tiffany and Company Jewelry, a Nexus 7 tablet, certificates to J. Thomas Jewelers and Krogh’s, wine baskets, tickets to the Sparta High School and eighth grade graduations, and a chance to be Principal for the Day at each Sparta District School. There were also silent auction items which included framed photography, many from local student artists, and sterling silver CZ jewelry. The event also featured music, food and drink and, of course, gambling.

The Lake Mohawk Country Club looked every bit a casino from the Las Vegas strip; from Caribbean Stud Poker and Roulette to Blackjack and Let It Ride, there was a game for everyone in the improvised casino.

“I am feeling lucky, this is a great event,” said Sparta Deputy Mayor Molly Whilesmith. “My coat check number and auction number are the same which seems lucky, so I’m looking to play Roulette.”

Glitz and glamor aside, the important part of the event was to raise money for Sparta District Schools through the Sparta Education Foundation. The foundations mission is to raise funds that will enable them to make ongoing charitable contributions that enrich the educational experience of children in the Sparta Public Schools, and to promote pride and positive awareness in the Sparta Public Schools. Their vision is to engage the entire community in philanthropic giving that strengthens our public schools, supports our teachers and inspires our s

“We raise money to support things the school budget can’t support, especially with the crunch we’ve had in the last few years. We have fundraisers like the Turkey Trot and Casino Night, and that money goes right back to the schools. Teachers write grants and the grants are reviewed, they have to fit into the curriculum, and then we approve those grants and give the money back to the schools,” said Don Cutshall, President of the Sparta Education Foundation.

“We support the robotics class and all of the photographs out there were printed on printers that we provided and we funded the sculpture garden and amplification systems in the grade schools," Cutshall continued. "We’ve funded about 25 different projects that have totaled about $360,000, and we’re closing in on half a million dollars raised, so it has been good. It gives you a good feeling when you go out and see the students using things that you’ve supplied and the teachers and kids are excited, it is well worth the time and effort.”

It was made clear that the foundation, and the school district, enjoy working closely together, and that everything they do is for the betterment of students, teachers and the Sparta community.

“I want to thank on behalf of the entire school district, all of our students and all of the staff, the Sparta Education Foundation and all of their volunteers and their tireless efforts in providing a special education for our students,” said Sparta's Superintendent of Schools Dennis Tobin in his welcoming address. “They’ve raised over the years about a half a million dollars and at this point right now, approximately $375,000 have been awarded to our students and staff in the way of grants, resources, equipment and programming to once again enhancing our education programs and our overall goal of providing the best education possible for our students. Thank you all for coming out and supporting our school district and I wish everyone an enjoyable and lucky evening.”

With the strong support of the Sparta community no luck was needed to make the Casino Night a success.

For more information on the Sparta Education Foundation and their work, click here to visit their website. 


Follow The Alternative Press of Sussex County for Sussex County News, as well as The Alternative Press of Sussex County's Facebook Page, for news, and other information.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: DWI Sparta Man Crashes in his Own Yard

April 25, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Sparta man faces driving while intoxicated charges after crashing his car into a tree.  On April 22 around 4 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Erick Finley went to the home of Mitchell Panten, 61, on Sagamore Trail following up on the report of an accident, police say.

Finley found Panten had hit the tree in his front yard when backing into his driveway.  Panten was ...

Sparta Police: Drug Charges for Sparta Woman After Traffic Stop

SPARTA, NJ – A Sparta woman is facing drug charges after a traffic stop on Route 15.  On April 21 around 11:10 a.m. Sparta Cpl. Joe Antonello stopped Marina Scheer, 20, because the license plate on her green Toyota was bent making it impossible to read, according to police.

When Antonello spoke with Scheer he smelled marijuana in the car.  Scheer said there had been a passenger ...

Plane Crashes into Lake Aeroflex in Sussex County Park

NEWTON, NJ—A one-manned plane crashed into Lake Aeroflex in Kittatinny Valley State Park around 11:30 this morning.

“I heard the plane cut out, then I saw it turn left and flatten out, and then it landed in the lake,” passerby Justin Leyman said. “It took the rescue crews about a minute or so to get the pilot out of the lake."

The plane was completely ...

The Issue of Alternatives to Elected School Boards

April 14, 2018

The time of electing local school boards should come to an end. According to the National School Boards Association, “the local school board is a critical public link to public schools. Whether elected or appointed, school board members serve their communities in several important ways. First and foremost, school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 29, 3:30 PM

Codey Arena, West Orange

Girls Try Hockey Free Clinic


Fri, May 4, 7:00 PM

Sparta Evangelical Free Church, Sparta

Veritas Christian Academy presents The Music Man

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, May 6, 7:00 AM

Liberty State Park, Jersey City

11th Annual Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for ...

Health & Wellness


Thu, May 10, 6:00 PM

First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, Sparta

Creating a Pollinators Garden - Talk & Plant Sale

Education Home & Garden

Sun, May 13, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Newton Council Candidates Call for Elections to be Moved

April 12, 2018

NEWTON, NJ – Four candidates for the Town of Newton Council have the same idea; move the election for council members to the November general elections.  Candidates Matt Dickson and Jason Schlaffer and Ludmilla Mecaj and Wayne Levante just do not agree on how to make that happen.

As a Faulkner Act town, Newton originally established their non-partisan elections to be held separately ...

TAPinto Paterson Video: Paterson Police Officer Tamby Yagan Laid to Rest

April 25, 2018

WAYNE, NJ- The precision of well over 1000 police officers coming to attention was a sad reminder of the all too frequent line of duty deaths the profession faces on an annual basis.

According  to “Officer Down Memorial Page”, 135 law enforcement officers lost their lives on duty in 2017.

The pipes and drums played in unison, honor guards raised their flags, a New ...

You Could WIN a New Roof Through No Roof Left Behind

If you live in Sussex, Morris or Warren County and your home needs a new roof, you’re in luck! Jeff Alte Jr. Roofing & Siding will be giving away a free roof to a family in one of these counties through the national No Roof Left Behind program.

Nominations are being accepted through May 31st online only.  Nominate yourself or anyone you know who needs a new roof. Nominees must ...

Buying a Home Is Cheaper Than Renting in Majority of US

Great news for first-time New Jersey home buyers! The results of the 2018 Rental Affordability Report from ATTOM show that buying a median-priced home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 54% of U.S. counties analyzed for the report.

The updated numbers show that renting a three-bedroom property in the United States requires an average of 38.8% of income.

The least ...

Home Buying Myths Slayed

Team Nest Builder wants YOU to know the truths about buying a New Jersey home!

Some Highlights:

The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!

Despite mortgage interest rates being over 4%, rates are still below historic numbers.

88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!

The credit score requirements for mortgage ...

Buy A Home To Build Your Family's Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate, on average, by 3.6% per year and to grow by 18.2% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey. Team Nest Builder wants you to understand what that means for homeowners and their equity positions.

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home ...

Now’s the Time to Buy Your NJ Luxury Home

House no longer fits your needs? Planning on buying a New Jersey luxury home? Now is the time to do so!

Recently, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing released its Luxury Market Report which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.  The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds the number of people searching to purchase these ...

Buy a Home NOW Before Mortgage Rates Climb Higher

Whether you’re a buyer searching for your first home, or a homeowner looking to move up to your next home, Team Nest Builder knows you should pay attention to where mortgage interest rates are heading.

Over the course of 2018, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates increased from 3.95% in the first week of January to 4.40% in the first week of April.

At ...

Sparta Spartan Youth Football and Cheer: Links to Registration for Athletes and Coaches

April 25, 2018

Sparta Spartan Youth Football has opened registration for the Fall 2018 season:

Tackle Football - Grade 1-8 now through June 1

Flag Football - Co-Ed Grades Kindergarten -12 now through August 1

Sparta Cheer Registration

The program is also looking for coaches:

Tackle Football coaches  apply by May 15

Flag Football coaches apply by August 15.

Sparta Youth Football ...