SPARTA, NJ — The Sparta High School seniors took part in the first senior walk on Wednesday. After the senior academic award breakfast the students donned their mortarboards and gowns and boarded buses to tour the district.
Sparta High School Principal Janet Ferraro organized the initiative, based on similar walks done by high schools throughout the country she said in her note to parents. Some of the experience was captured in a video by Sparta High School teacher Doug Krauland using the school's drone.
Six school buses with a police escort made their way to Alpine Elementary School, the first stop on the four building tour. In a scene that would be repeated throughout the morning, the district’s youngest students lined the halls, some with hand made signs, some looking for a ‘high five,’ some cheering wide-eyed as the seniors loomed large touring the building.
Principal Joe Leone, Vice Principal Pete Miller, the office staff and the teachers all came out to greet the seniors. While only half of the seniors attended Alpine as younger children, they were all smiling at the reception they received.
Back on the buses the seniors headed to Mohawk Avenue School where Principal Laura Trent was ready for them. Balloons decorated the railings of the school that was closed when the seniors were elementary school students.
The Mohawk Ave students greeted the seniors with a song and hand made cards. As the soon-to-be graduates toured the school one senior girl said, “this is really cool.”
The buses took the students to Helen Morgan School next where Principal Doug Layman and Vice Principal Frank Ciaburri were waiting outside on the sidewalk. The other half of the senior class had attended Helen Morgan as elementary students.
"This was a school community event that truly exceeded our expectations," Layman said. "Congratulations to the Class of 2018 and to the staff at Sparta High School for establishing a tradition that all future Sparta graduates will look forward to with eager anticipation and pride."
Led by Sparta High School Vice Principal Steve Schels and Sparta Middle School Vice Principal Tracy Rivera the seniors were once again warmly greeted with smiles, signs and applause.
The final stop on the farewell tour was Sparta Middle School where there were many hugs and tears exchanged between students and their former teachers. Orchestra teacher Andrea Santora directed a string ensemble set up in front of the media center as they played “Pomp and Circumstance” for the passing seniors. Principal Michael Gregory snapped a few photos with his phone.
The office staff had created giant passes granting students access to “your future,” “college,” “your dreams, "great adventures" and “the world."
Back on the buses the seniors returned to the high school for a pizza lunch before going out to graduation practice on Cassel’s Field.
“I want to thank the entire school community for the support during the first ever Senior Walk,” Ferraro said. “Thank you to the PSTO, the building administrators, staff and students at all of our schools. Once again, I felt incredibly honored and proud to be a Spartan. Our Seniors were celebrated by all, and it was an incredible morning.”
Mohawk Avenue School video created by Jennifer Dericks
Sparta Middle School videos created by Debbie Corso