SPARTA, NJ – Sparta High School will be inaugurating the Distinguished Spartan Award at this year’s graduation ceremony in the spring.  Principal Janet Ferraro has announced this initiative as a companion to the recently enacted Athletic Hall of Fame.

Ferraro said the award will honor people who have “just done good by others.” A maximum of two inductees will be recognized each year as “Distinguished Guests,” at graduation. 

Nominees can include alumni ten years after graduation, retired staff members, prior board of education members and community members.  The selection committee will be looking for people who have demonstrated achievement in a number of categories:

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  • Education,
  • The Arts,
  • Science,
  • Professional or personal service,
  • Community or charity service
  • Other personal noteworthy achievements

“People will be selected not just for contributing in Sparta but could include a graduate who is doing big things in business,” Ferraro said.  “We will be looking at what else they are doing to change the world for the better.”

Nominees need not have attended school in Sparta but “if someone is helping children in any way in town, it affects the children’s educational experiences,” according to Ferraro.  She anticipates it could also “inspire our students.”

The selection committee or “Board” will be comprised of school administrators and at least two current teaching staff members according to Ferraro.

“As a school we need to start celebrating graduates and bring people back who have left Sparta, energizing their interest back in Sparta,” Ferraro said.  “When you recognize someone who has left Sparta, the tie to Sparta is made stronger.”

Ferraro recently announce she will be retiring at the end of December.  She said she is “wrapping up a few things that I hope to be new traditions,” including the Senior Walk started last year and the two areas of alumni and community recognition; Distinguished Spartan and Athletic Hall of Fame.

Nominating petitions can be found on the high school web site.

The Distinguished Spartans will have a plaque hung on the wall outside of the Media Center.  It will be visible to all who enter the school.  Ferraro said, as with the Media Center itself, the plaques and the honorees named on them, will represent “all of what education is to me.”

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