SPARTA, NJ – The last few weeks of school finds AP students with some free time on their hands.  Because the national AP tests are given in early May more than 200 Sparta High School AP students are effectively finished with some of their classes weeks before school officially ends for the summer.

This year the students were challenged to “create an initiative that will economically, environmentally, socially and/or culturally benefit the school, community and or the wider world in some way,” according to grade 11 AP English teacher Jamie Barker. 

In various formats Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Dr. Daniel Johnson and Principal Janet Ferraro explained that the project had students work in “Interdisciplinary groups,” working on concepts that were also interdisciplinary. 

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 “The project ranged from making the school more economically friendly to donating to charities, to forming new clubs and activities that will enhance the school culture,” Barker said “The students really modeled global citizenry and collaborative an innovative approach to current issues.”

On June 8 the students presented their project to a panel of staff, administrators and community leaders.  The teachers from AP language, literature, biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, environmental science and calculus participated. 

“They are so impressive,” Ferraro said.  “I am very proud of our students and all of the hard work they put into these projects.”

Students from AP language, literature, biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, environmental science and calculus participated. 

1 Beekeeping Society

  • Robbie Gennat
  • Anthony Esposito
  • Connor Gormley
  • Danny Smith
  • Niko Ellington
  • Billy Loewen
  • Julia Flake
  • Mitchell Coyle

2 Further develop the school’s biodiesel production capabilities and donate the product to a locally run mobile yoga studio.

  • Quinn Van Es
  • Terry Rippon
  • Jimmy Apostolico
  • Kevin Toedtmann
  • Justin Melick
  • Alex Pegher
  • Alex Roy
  • Chris Vachris

3 Create a game based on the game Asteroids utilizing a neural network to simulate generations of evolutions of enemies that scale to a fitness value based on the player's success to further the understanding of how programs can teach themselves to accomplish complex tasks.

Contact Brenden Brusberg or Emerson Chin for more information.

  • Emerson Chin*
  • Brenden Brusberg*
  • Jack Williamson*
  • Ben Dottinger*
  • Brendan Huff*
  • Erich Schwarzrock*
  • AJ Viola*
  • Kirk Brown, Junior*
  • Brent Bloomgren*
  • Raghuram Selvaraj*

4 Design a student-run program to educate students about domestic violence, LGBTQ+ violence, and human trafficking. Develop a partnership with organizations such as Ginny’s House to help victims of such abuse. Simultaneously, develop a program to educate younger children about self-respect and respect from others by developing a children's book promoting tolerance.

  • Eileen Huhn
  • Audrey Biss
  • Victoria Heim
  • Emily Irwin
  • Coralyn Kurz
  • Erin Walsh
  • Grace McGovern
  • Buddy Al-Aydi
  • Madara Gulbe

5 Working to better local animal and homeless shelters by making dog beds and treats. Hopefully this will be through the culinary and home economics programs already offered in Sparta schools.

  • Talia Smith
  • Cambray O’Brien
  • Shelby Kapp
  • Taylor McConley
  • Hannah Fagersten
  • Paige Smith
  • Gianna Macones

6 “Notes to Anyone,” an initiative to bring the power of stories directly to the community (2 people only)

  • Mia Pulido
  • Sylvia Sochacki

7 Design a novel indoor composting system using various chemical and biological techniques capable of first sanitizing and then decomposing waste from high school biology and anatomy classes, aimed at reducing waste from latex gloves, paper towels, and potentially even biological specimens.

  • Nicole Kwon
  • Alex Poret
  • Soumya Duggirala

8 Start a Green club  to improve school’s recycling methods, water filters for school so less plastic water bottles, awareness, outdoor activities/hikes. Help make a club that will unite all green initiatives in Sparta. Check out the google docs we created to get a better idea:

  • Fiona Hynes
  • Anna Valentine
  • Olivia Poles
  • Emma Bova
  • Alyssa Stouch

9 Gather used, student level instruments from former players and create plan to supply them to students in younger grades in the Elementary and Middle Schools who are in need of their own instruments. Furthermore, create a school club of kids in the music department to provide lessons to the students who receive instruments to keep them involved in music all the way through high school.

  • Alex Hofgesang
  • Michael King
  • Kaylynn Pierce
  • Ryan Ryersen

10 Switch from Styrofoam lunch trays to plastic reusable trays and utilize the tray washing machine we have.

  • Brendan Puszcz
  • Jeremy Dericks
  • Jordan Trzcinski
  • Andrew Lopuch
  • Joseph Serovich

11 Gathering more interest in astrophysics- possibly by setting up the telescope in the school.

  • Lucille Mure
  • Melissa Nolan

12 Setting up an aquaponics tank near cafeteria. Will be an education tool for biology and environmental science classes --the combination of aquaculture or growing fish and hydroponics (soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated ecosystem.

  • Sara Vincelette
  • Kirsten Scott
  • Julianna Riehl
  • Maria Strongilos
  • Zoë Abrams
  • April Cucciniello

13 Change for Change: Gift Card Remainder/ Rounding up receipts

  • Julia Bally
  • Emily Bettano
  • Kada Cernek
  • Sofia Cook
  • Jillian Henderson
  • Morgan McBride
  • Jessica Wolfe
  • Nils Veidis

14 Improve people’s days by creating a healthier breakfast option that is accessible and affordable for students. Our goal is to provide breakfast smoothies for students to start their day off right.

  • Billy Stoddard
  • Nick Matkiwsky
  • Thomas Mortillaro
  • Evan Johnson
  • Rebecca Greenberg


15 Create a program to affiliate Sparta high school with other schools worldwide using email, Skype sessions in order to expand students’ cultural knowledge and their outlook on foreign affairs

-Tatiana Esteva-Ingram

16 Build a wildflower garden to promote the wellbeing of bees, butterflies and other pollinators. can be maintained by a club/ AP environmental science class.

  • Nina Strowe
  • Kaela Panicucci
  • Jamie Corter
  • Brittany Galvin
  • Steven Sullivan
  • Elias Frieling
  • Mikey Botta

17 Redecorate a run-down room that serves the community seven days a week

  • Emily Kosker
  • Sophie Sandgran
  • Daniel Baker

18 Adopt a “Grandfriend” from Knoll Heights Village in Sparta, NJ. Club at the High School

  • Emily Sigillo
  • Lia Gaccione
  • Kelly Carolan
  • Jackie Dowd

19 Start a produce greenhouse garden

  • Lily Bowers
  • Ariel Smith
  • Isabel Opresnick
  • Melanie Cardoso
  • Victoria Montesano
  • Steph Chalef
  • Brianna Cannicci
  • Devin Cotis
  • Claire Vreeland
  • Michelle Cella
  • Chris Link

20 Create an app where musicians can collaborate to make music and expand the music community.

  • Conor Smetana
  • Colleen Hand
  • Sean Devaney

  21 Design reusable water bottles to sell in the school store to cut down on the amount of plastic water bottles used. Also use the profit from the bottles to install a water bottle filler.

  • Madison Levinson
  • Caroline Kepler
  • Stephanie Downes
  • Jillian Parks
  • Sophie Venus

22 Build an outdoor classroom in the courtyard behind the nurse's office   PLS FILL THIS OUT

  • Zoe Canzoniero
  • Hailey Mead
  • Alexis Faria
  • Kaitlyn Mead
  • Chloe Rippey
  • Madelyn McEllen
  • Kayla Edwards
  • Carly Seeland
  • Jamie Rennie

23 Coordinate a traffic guard for the mornings and afternoons on West Mountain Road

  • Sarah Kokoszka
  • Eric Da Silva
  • Chris Murray
  • Blake Aschenbach
  • Thomas Ferrara
  • Julia Liland
  • Andrew Brininger

24 Create a local job fair in the Sparta High School seniors and juniors

  • Nina Levatino
  • Jane Sosik
  • Ashley Schoenfeld
  • Juliana McGuire
  • Molly Schelle
  • Lauren Mitchell
  • Isabel Passerini

25 Restore the 5k course that used to exist around the high school/through station park.

  • Sean Lowery
  • Connor Dick
  • Brandon Shepherd
  • Matt Guerra
  • Joe Schwab
  • Liam Armstrong
  • Rachael Spelman
  • Michael Mancuso
  • Travis Tracy
  • Evan Marcino

26 Create an annual, school-year-long fundraising event that involves competition between grades and ultimately contributes to a charity of choice

  • Bridget Hilgendorff
  • April VanNieuwland
  • Isabella DeFilippis
  • Valerie Molina `
  • Emma Diplas

27 Air Care recycling program→ our role is just to collect it and ship it to the company

  • Illesha Patel                    
  • Camilla Kwok

28 You get prescribed something and go to the pharmacy. The pharmacy gives you a pill bottle. What we want to make is a pill bottle cap that has a set time lock on it that the pharmacist programs into before handing out the prescription. This time lock will ensure that the person taking the prescription ONLY takes the medication when they need to, and that they will not end up overusing it. Say for example one gets prescribed antibiotics. The pharmacist programs our pill bottle cap, and they put it on the pill bottle. The pill bottle will then dispense a pill every 8 hours or however many hours one would need wait to take this pill. This time lock we will have could help stop pill abuse, or medication overdose.

  • John Murzaku
  • Chudi Onwuasoanya
  • Jack McGovern
  • Michael Tartaglia
  • Drew Vreeland

29 Procure affordable CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing kits for Sparta High School science department usage. This will be accomplished hopefully through a grant. These kits will be used to perform labs that engineer bacteria and to demonstrate advanced concepts in genome editing. The ultimate goal is to educate students on this powerful new tool and familiarize them with DIY biology.

Link to document

  • Simon Levien
  • William Theilacker
  • Zoe Merold
  • Jessica Longstreth
  • Lomaani Ranasinghe

30 Making the senior courtyard a much more visual-pleasing and inviting place so seniors do not continue to leave school every day

  • Jackie Hoffman
  • Bridget Froding
  • Julia Iannuzzi
  • Molly Curley

31 Build and program an automatic fish feeder for the fish tank in the Media Resource Center

  • Ben Giugliano
  • Emily Lake
  • Premal Patel
  • Joaquin Talon
  • Mishka Mysh
  • Sam Roscoe

32 Special Education club to help the special education students interact and develop connections with other students within the school and community.

  • Sam Mathusek
  • Angela Elzind

33 Design a website outlining and addressing the issues students have with vigorous classes; sleep deprivation, lack of food, burning out, etc. Also, talk with professionals, the student body, teachers, etc. on how they handle the situation/suggest handling the situation. Advertise it to the student body.

  • Ashley Lasko
  • Juleanna Green

34 Create a website/resource center to link to the school´s website that will include information about sexual violence, safe sex for LGBTQ individuals, eating disorders, and mental health. This will hopefully make up for the lack of lessons on these important topics in Health Class.

  • Sylvia Kloian

35 Create care packages for homeless women in the surrounding areas that include sanitary items to lower the risk of infections and disease spread.

  • Isabelle Baptiste
  • Kaitrina Rubenstein
  • Elizabeth DeFelice
  • Elizabeth Botoni
  • Kylie Piacentino
  • Allie Middleton

36 Remapping, numbering, and labeling the school to make it more understandable for incoming freshmen.

  • Molly Sullivan
  • Julia Lopez
  • Sarah Ramos

37 Create a program for children with speech impediments and social anxiety in elementary schools and in hospitals to build their own aquaponics system mason jars to help cope with various social stresses and improve behavioral development.

  • Ashley Jackson
  • Kristin Smith
  • Lauren Danko
  • Abby Pineyro
  • Isabella Candeloro

38 Create a butterfly garden in the area between the science rooms and the gym room to teach students about genetics and life cycles.

  • Luke romano
  • AJ Rudolph
  • Reed Mccall
  • Dylan Mazzella
  • Matt Dumbroff

39 Create an app consisting of an interactive map of the school to assist people such as parents and new students to navigate around the school easily on back to school night.

  • Sarah Hoffman
  • Andrew Dalmedo

40 Birdfeeders:

  • Jake Alben
  • Val Shumskaya  
  • Andrew Newman

41 Integrating an online compiler into future computer science classes

  • Devin Gozdenovich
  • Andrew Pondiscio

42  First Impressions Daycare

  • Kristine Le
  • Sarah West

Ferraro said she hoped some of the projects could be implemented in the future.  Some students plan used their AP projects as part of their college application. 

“It was inspiring and rewarding to watch their efforts grow from the creation stage to the implementation and sustenance stages,” Barker said.