SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Middle School cafeteria hosted guests last week.  Principal Michael Gregory introduced Sparta Mayor Christine Quinn and Councilman Gil Gibbs to the seventh grade students having lunch.  Quinn and Gibbs visited the students to issue a proclamation to the members of the Builders Club.

The Builders Club members and their advisors joined the councilmembers on stage to be recognized for the volunteer work they do in the community.  The students in the club support the Sparta Recreation Advisory board activities, Pass it Along, Tilly’s Kids, Valentines for Veterans, Girls on the Run and Junior Women’s Club of Sparta and Project Sunshine.

Councilman Gibbs asked the students by show of hands “How many people play sports in town?” “How many people enjoy walking down safe streets?” “How many people enjoy this school?” and finally, “How many have figured how to say thank-you?”

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He said, “These people have figured out how to say thanks by giving back through volunteering.”

Quinn explained what a proclamation means. “It is the highest award that can be given to someone in the community who has given back, whether you are in eighth grade or 80 years-old.”

Gibbs said he wanted to recognize the students in front of their peers to allow them to be also recognized by their fellow students and to generate interest in volunteering.

Club advisors Lisa Kaplan and Margaret Trum said, ““So many members of the Builders Club grew up in Sparta and happily participated in the countless activities sponsored by the Town of Sparta and the Parks and Recreation Department. It is very rewarding to see the joy on the students’ faces as they unselfishly volunteer their time and talents, working with younger children at these events and giving back to our wonderful community.”

“It is a good thing that makes you feel good about yourself,” said Builders Club member Liv D’Agati.  “You know you’re responsible for a lot of the cool things that happen in Sparta.”

Kaleigh West, club member, said “Most people don’t know about commitment. They think it is not fun but it is fun and it makes you feel good.”

Gregory said, “The students were completely surprised and appreciative of the town council's gesture. You see, the basis of the Builders Club is obviously community service, but the underlying message is that it is done for far greater reasons than acknowledgement or recognition.”  ​

Builders Club Members

Sixth Grade

  • Maika Batchelor,
  • Paige DeGiovanni
  • Liv D’Agati
  • Kaleigh West

Seventh Grade

  • Riley Maldonado,
  • Jessica Steel,
  • Sophie Regeimbal,
  • Julia McEllen,
  • Lily Loewen,
  • Peyton Nichols,
  • Claire Siipola,
  • Adelina Zahner,
  • Emma Cilli
  • Kayla Collinson,
  • Joseph Thomas Hallock,
  • Daniel Devine,
  • Luke Simmons,
  • Jenna Blandina,
  • Emily Jacobs,
  • Ryan Branning,
  • Grace Ward,
  • Fernando Gomez,
  • Mikayla Flanz,
  • Andrew Buchanan

Eighth Grade

  • Natalie Krudys,
  • Nancy Nester,
  • Kelsi Loewen,
  • Kae DeGiovanni

Some of the events the club members have assisted with over the years include the Sparta Recreation’s Trunk or Treat, Visit with Santa and Winter Festival, created ornaments for JWCS, assisted with Christmas activities for needy children of Tilley’s Kids in Newark and did crafts to support Project Sunshine for sick children.