SPARTA, NJ- The seniors at Sparta High School has special guests on Wednesday.  Twenty five alumni came back to visit the school and talk with students about their experiences after graduation.

“I think it is great when our alumni are about to come back and give feedback to our seniors,” Principal Ronnie Spring said.  “They got to hear experiences and expectations about college and any post high school path.”

He said it is a lot more effective to have the students hear from the alumni because they were recently sitting in their seats as seniors, with similar questions.

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The sentiment was echoed by Supervisor of College and Career Readiness, Danielle Colte. “It is rewarding to see former students who attended the program as seniors now returning as participants. The program is a great experience for our Sparta High School students as well as our Sparta High School alumni.”

When they introduced themselves, the alumni shared the schools they attend and the major they are pursuing. The questions ran the gamut from how did you choose your school and how did you figure out your major, to how do you deal with a roommate and what one thing is essential to bring with you.

Questions and Answers:

Choosing a school – “got a good feeling,” “the alumni network was strong,” “I knew what was not right for me- if it’s not right switch schools,” “made sure they offered my major.”

Choosing a major – “if you have a career path in mind, tailor your major to fit,”“started out in a pre-med track and narrowed it down,” “took a variety of courses and figured out what I enjoyed-even though it was a lot of work,” “look at the requirements and make sure you want to do the prerequisites,” “make sure you are passionate and that there are jobs in the field,” “if you’re not sure go to county college to get rid of ‘gen-eds’ then choose a major.”

Roommates – “it can be a challenge, try to find some middle ground about living habits,” “set ground rules early,” “don’t have to be best friends with your roommate,” “yelling at them doesn’t work, you have to work through stuff,” “earplug are a good idea,” “RAs can help.”

What one thing do you have to have – “Kurig,” “regular coffee maker because it’s more environmentally friendly,” “a mini fridge,” “car,” “headphones,” “Lysol wipes and spray,” “card holder on phone case.”

How is college different from high school – “90% of work is done outside the class,” “no one cares if you’re in class but you paid to go there so GO TO CLASS,” “you always have to study in college even if you didn’t have to in high school,” “professors won’t chase you for an assignment, you’ll just get a bad grade.”

Internships and work study – “job on campus is the easiest job ever for $10 an hour,” “good side money, it really helps,” “internship not only gives you job experience, it give you the experience of what it’s like to live like an adult,” “internship can also help you decide if it’s the career path you want or not.”

Sports, clubs, Greek life – “you have to love it or it will become a grind,” “it’s a good place to meet the people who will become your friends,” “if you want to try something new do it,” “can be good to network for potential jobs, especially professional clubs,” “it is great to do volunteer work.”

Did high school prepare you for college- “senior year does not prepare you for the work load in college,” “the best class to take was AP Lit, it helped tremendously,” “knowing how to do citations was invaluable,” “pay attention in math and take your math prerequisites early while it’s still in your head,” “DECA helped a lot,” “AP classes and take the test, it actually saved money.”

When asked, half of the alumni said they had taken and made use of AP classes.  

After the students finished with the Q and  they went out to the cafeteria to have a light brunch.

A senior said she liked the question about the one thing to bring to school.

Another said it was good to hear from a variety of university, military, county college and county college.

“It was cool to see how successful everyone is after they leave here,” another senior said.

Colte said, “I would like to thank the guidance department and the Sparta High School PSTO for insuring that the day ran smoothly. It is truly amazing to see how the Alumni Brunch has evolved since its inception in 2012.”

"The program is a great opportunity for our current seniors to ask alumni questions about life after high school as well as the college experience," Spring said.

Superintendent Michael Rossi thanked the alumni for attending the brunch and asked them to consider joining the recently formed alumni association.  He also told seniors to consider applying for the newly created alumni scholarship.

The alumni and their college:

  • Liam Armstrong – University of Maryland,
  • Angela Bergero – Montclair University,
  • Michaela Bleakley – Ithaca College,
  • Anthony Esposito, University of Miami,
  • Hannah Fagersten, Penn State University,
  • Thomas Ferraro, Cornell University,
  • Sean Fitzmaurice, Montclair University,
  • Kate Fontes, Seton Hall University,
  • Michaela Kayal, Iona College,
  • Zachary Kayal, Hofstra University,
  • Caroline Kepler, William & Mary,
  • Simon Levien, Harvard University,
  • Julia Loewen, Penn State University,
  • James Lynch, Montclair University,
  • Patrick Milliken, Marist College,
  • Sergei O’Sullivan, University of Montana,
  • Lomanni Ranasinghe, Rutgers University,
  • Rachael Schmidt, George Mason,
  • Billy Stoddard, Syracuse University,
  • Shannon Tarelton, Mississippi State University,
  • Robert Tarelton, New Jersey State Police,
  • Shane Whalen, James Madison University,
  • Josh Williams, Notre Dame,
  • Spencer Winberry, Norwich University, Senior Military College,
  • Hope Zwigard, County College of Morris