SPARTA, NJ - The second annual Alumni Brunch took place at Sparta High School on Wednesday. Twenty alumni returned on the day before Thanksgiving to share their collegiate experiences with current Sparta High School seniors. The alumni are all currently in college so they were able to share relevant information with the students.
Alumni who attended-Eryk Banatt, Jenna Dowd, Jacqueline Foley, Tommy Keller, Katie Lane, Michael Lenker, Paige Lucas, Adrienne Marcino, Ali Marcino, AJ Maziarski, Brittney Nielsen, Courtney Noone, Brad Pettigrew, Jeffrey Prol, Holly Rudel, Melissa Rogers, Shannon Salem, Christine Scaglione, Leslie Sullivan, Breanna Vitolo
With nearly 200 students in the audience, alumni lined the stage for the program. They began by introducing themselves, then took questions. The first few questions were prompted by guidance director Rory Fitzgerald, guidance counselor Danielle Colte and Jennifer Dericks, event organizer. Students then warmed up, asking questions of their own.
The microphone was passed as alumni eagerly to shared their responses, sometimes giving vastly different answers to the same question. Topics were as varied as the answers. They touched on roommate issues, balancing athletics and academics, tips on the college acceptance challenges, ROTC, study abroad, internships and time management.
After more than an hour of discussion the program wrapped up with Fitzgerald asking for one word answers to the question, "What has been your best and worst experience at college?" Although the alumni did find the one word rule a challenging constraint, the answers were thoughtful, at times humorous and all different. Ali Marcino had the last word when she answered that she "hasn't had anything bad yet."
Fitzgerald shared his thoughts on the morning, "I thought it was a great opportunity for our current Seniors to gain some sound advice in preparing for their transition from high school to college next fall from some of Sparta High School's outstanding former students."
"I would like to thank Jennifer Dericks, who was the catalyst in starting this program, our former Sparta High School students who came back and spoke to our seniors and to our current Seniors who were very respectful and appreciative for the program that was provided to them."
After the program in the auditorium concluded, everyone moved into the cafeteria for a light brunch of bagels and fruit sponsored by the Sparta High School PSTO. Conversations continued. There were hugs of happy reunions, ongoing discussions between students and alumni. Some teachers, guidance counselors and former principal, now Sparta Superintendent, Dennis Tobin also came by to enjoy the morning.
Valedictorian from the Class of 2013, Christine Scaglione, returned for the program. "The alumni brunch was a great way to share my first year college experiences with this year's senior class. I also had a chance to visit with some of my favorite teachers and other alumni who I haven't seen since last June. I am so happy that I was able to attend," Scaglione said.
" It was rewarding to see both our former students giving back to the school and our current students thanking both our alumni and staff for the program afterwards," reflected Fitzgerald as the final bell rang signaling the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday.