SPARTA, NJ-Sparta's public schools held several events in April to raise awareness and funding for Autism Awareness Month. On April 14 at the Alpine school there was a Staff Dress Down Day and Breakfast where for a five dollar donation the staff could wear more casual attire than they normally would. Food for the breakfast had been donated by local eateries Augies, Greene Beans, Mohawk Bagels and Sparta Diner. Some of the Special Education staff and para-professionals brought in homemade dishes as well. The staff raised $200 from this day to be donated toward Autism Awareness.
Later that week on Thursday, April 17 Alpine students participated in the Eight Annual Autism Awareness Walk-a-thon garnering support from family, friends and the community. Sparta High School student Andrew Altieri supplied the sound system for the event coordinated by Kristi Diklich. Diklich is a teacher in a Self-Contained Language and Learning Disabled classroom. The efforts raised $3500 through donations bringing Alpine's total to $3700.
On Wednesday, April 23 The Mohawk Avenue School also held a Staff Breakfast and Dress Down Day at which $150 was raised. On Friday, April 25, the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students participated in a Dance-a-thon. Kindergarten teacher Kristen Bahnatka and pre-kindergarten teacher Kerianne Loyer led the students in dances including YMCA, Footloose, the Twist and others. They danced their way to raising more than $3300.
An additional fundraiser at Mohawk Ave was the sale of reusable Autism Awareness shopping bags. This effort raised $365, bringing the fundraising total for the school to $3800.
Last year Sparta schools raised more than $5600. This year that number was greatly surpassed with more than $7500 to be donated to Autism, NJ.
"Thank you to the Sparta community for supporting such a worthy cause," said Diklich who organized all of theSparta schools' Autism Awareness events for April 2014.