SPARTA, NJ – Perona Farms was the site of the 48th annual Monogram Dinner celebrating the Sparta High School senior athletes. With parents, coaches and guests looking on, each of the student athletes were announced by Athletic Director Assistant Maureen Longo, including the varsity sports they played and their plans for after graduation.
The dinner is packed with tradition. From its inception it was sponsored by the Spartan Club, the original booster club founded in 1969. A quirky tradition has the students and coaches sponsored by individuals, families or organizations to attend the dinner.
“That’s the way it’s been done for 48 years,” Organizer Dee Passerelli said, without an offer of any further explanation.
Field hockey and lacrosse player Isabella Candeloro presented the invocation. Principal Janet Ferraro welcomed everyone to the event.
As dinner is served, Director of Athletics Steven Stoner announced three awards. Candeloro had received the Pass-it-Along Scholar Athlete award. Andrew Pondiscio earned the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association or NJSIAA Scholar Athlete award. Juliana McGuire and Ben Giugliano earned the New Jersey Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete recognition.
Sparta High School alumnae and lacrosse player Emily Corrice addressed the gathering. She shared her experiences as a student athlete, having continued her lacrosse career at Sacred Heart University.
Coaches and booster club parents from each sport presented their annual awards and scholarships to their players. Additional scholarships were awarded from outside organizations.
Sparta Youth Football and Cheer named Jessica Phillips from cheer and Alex Milliken, Michael and Ryan Rossiter from football to receive their scholarship.
The Ryan Kerr Award was presented by Sparta Middle School teacher Bob Medina for Cheri and Bob Kerr. That award went to football player Drew Veasey and golfer Jack Simon.
The Rebecca Skorupka scholarship was presented to Emily Sigillo by Sparta High School physical education teacher and coach Cathy Willie for Nancy and George Skorupka.
Sparta High School Alumnus Jim Dunn presented the Billy Reilly award. Dunn and his fund Verger Capital matched the $5,000 award making it a $10,000 scholarship. Dunn was the recipient of the award in 1991 after a championship soccer season. The 2017 winner was lacrosse player Paige Ryan.
The final award of the evening was presented by Stoner. The Male and Female Athletes of the Year were Cayleigh Glew from soccer and track and Alex Milliken from football and lacrosse. The scholarship fund was supported by “generous donations from Jim Dunn, Class of 1991/Verger Capital, Sharon and Jim McCormack, Tommy Zanetich, Class of 2002, Kelley Zanetich, Class of 2004, Parisi Speed School of Sparta and Kathleen and Bob Medina.
“Our mission is to recognize and support the student-athlete who competes for Sparta High School,” according to the Spartan Club literature. “We are proud of what our student-athletes and coaches accomplish.”