SPARTA, NJ – An 80-year-old tradition continued last week as nine young ladies vied for the title of Miss Sparta 2017. The Lake Mohawk Country Club was decked out for the event that crowned Sparta High School senior Isabella Candeloro.
Sparta High School junior Hannah Fagersten was the first runner up and senior Jacqueline Hoffman was named second runner up.
Three past Miss Sparta’s attended the event; Miss Sparta 2013 Jacqueline Foley, Miss Sparta 2014 Jamie Melville and Miss Sparta 2016 Caitlin Lyons.
The evening was organized by Laura Elnasser, Vicki Foley and Nancy Nash. Lenny Fontes, once again, was the affable, steady master of ceremonies.
Three judges evaluated each girl on a 100 point criteria that included;
- a personal interview prior to the public pageant,
- their resume of community and school involvement and accomplishments,
- poise and confidence,
- response to two questions and
The first question was developed specifically for each contestant based on their interview or resume.
Candeloro was asked about the importance of youth sports because of her role as volunteer coach for Sparta girls lacrosse and field hockey programs for third through sixth grade children. Candeloro has five varsity letters in addition to having a 4.0 grade point average, having taken eight honors and nine AP courses. She is in the National Honor Society and World Language Honor Society.
In part, Candeloro said, “Youth sports gives them a support system that goes beyond the athletic fields but goes into the classroom.”
The second question was the same for each contestant. Fontes asked each girl, “If you could go back in time and meet a person from history who would it be and why?”
This year there were a number of duplicate and overlapping answers. They said, in part:
- Ashley Terpak said, "Walt Disney because he succeeded when many said he couldn’t.”
- Aleisha Slack said, “someone from the 20’s to find out what was going on in that interesting time.”
- Victoria Munro and Vida Codjoe both said Martin Luther King.
- Munro because “he had a good message of equality; everyone has a good heart and inside is as beautiful in all regardless of what the outside looks like.”
- Codjoe said, “Martin Luther King junior has paved the way for African Americans to this day.”
- Julia Miller said “Roosevelt because he was disabled and it would be interesting to find out how he did all he did and got us out of the depression.”
- Hoffman said, “Rosa Parks because she has a unique aspect in history… She’s not just someone in a textbook.”
- Serena Fioretti found it hard to choose just one person.
- Fagersten said “George Washington…I would love to see what was behind the man who influenced our country.”
- Candeloro chose Eleanor Roosevelt because of “her quote that I have written on my bedroom wall, ‘No one can make you feel inferior unless you give them permission.’ She was such a strong woman.”
In another tradition of the contest Lyons addressed the participants. She said, “Each and every one of you would represent Sparta well. You will go through a lot this next year. Be sure to take everything you said up here today and implement it.”
The three judges were Lisa Simko Schumann, Clare Carberry and Carlos Fardi. Schumann owns and directs Dance Expression dance arts and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts from Adelphi and is a member of DEA, ADT of New Jersey and NADAA.
Carberry graduated from Eustace Preparatory High School in 2013 and studied Finance at Fairfield University. She currently works for Wells Fargo Advisors and lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Fardin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to the United States when he was 10. He attended Don Bosco Technical High School and Capri Hair Design before moving to Kinnelon. Fardin owns Rumours I and II and believes in the theory family first, work second.
Candeloro who will represent Sparta at the Sussex County Queen of the Fair competition later this summer. She will also make other appearances throughout the year.