SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Middle School students, faculty and families gathered on the football field at Sparta High School for the 2017 Completion ceremony.  The event began with opening remarks and flag salute led by Vice Principal Brad Davis.  The National Anthem was led by student Sydney Dillon. 

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Dr. Daniel Johnson was next to the podium with words of welcome.  He challenged the student to “strive to reach your potential.” Johnson also spoke about “personal power coming from having passion,” suggesting that the students” look for opportunities to follow their passion.”  Further, that “power comes from having energy and recognizing that is it darkness that is frightening not one’s inner light.”  In closing he told the students to “be proud of your accomplishments but don’t rest on them,” as they go into high school.

Thomas Dean, Student Council President said, “We look back fondly at all we’ve done… groups of friend we have made…passions found.” Dean spoke of the trips to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., their eighth grade dance and the student faculty basketball game.   He reminded his classmates that “obstacles have shaped us to who we are today.”  Looking to the future Dean said, “It is up to us to carve out who we will become.”  He concluded saying he was “grateful and excited to be here with my classmates and to have the opportunity to spend the next four years” with them.

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Vice Principal Tracy Rivera announced awards earned by several of the students. 

  • Student Council Purchase Prize went to Lianna LaValley for her Mandala Project which will be displayed in the school.
  • Ronetco Supermarkets ShopRite award for Ambition and Cooperation went to Sarah Riley
  • Ronetco Supermarkets ShopRite award for Personality and Common Sense went to Lianna LaValley
  • William Calvani Award for good citizenship, community service, good character and respect for all went to Julia McEllen.
  • Herb Libourel Award for principals of service, leadership, citizenship, honesty, truthfulness and unselfishness went to Emma Cilli.
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award went to Suvaani Ranasinghe.
  • Daughters of the American Revolution Award for Outstanding Work in American History went to Robert Scott.
  • Russian Olympiada of Spoken Russian annual competition winner Kyle Sutton with a score of 98.3 and runner up Caileigh Walsh with a score of 98.

Michael Gregory, principal was next to the podium telling the students it was a unique completion ceremony because he has been their principal for six years.  “You will never remember what I say but  want you to remember Challenge Day,” Gregory said.  “Don’t forget the final activity ‘If you really knew me…’ Please reflect on that day often.” 

He closed with his farewell.  “This will be the last day I will say good-bye to all fo you.”  While he said he would meet them at the gate as they left the ceremony to say good bye to each student he did remind them that he would “be watching them; checking box scores, honor rolls, show bulletins” and the like to track their progress.

After each student was called to the stage to receive their completion certificate, Gregory was standing at the gate to shake hands and give a few hugs as the students left the field.

Additional photos will be published in a separate article.