SPARTA, NJ – Sparta Middle School Principal Michael Gregory has announced the Students of the fourth marking period of the 2019-2020 school year.  The teachers of the three academic teams in each grade level recognized two students for their notable actions and contributions to the Sparta Middle School community.

Their teachers shared comments about the students chosen for the fourth marking period.

The sixth grade teams are Amber, Sapphire and Topaz.

Sign Up for Sparta Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The Amber team selected Vincent Gueci and Haley Di Filippo.

Vincent Gueci teachers said, "Vinny is a positive influence in the classroom with his positive and caring demeanor.  He is interested and eager to learn and is motivated to always do his best.  The enthusiasm he brings to the classroom and friendliness to his peers and teachers is infectious.  Vinnie enjoys many varied interests including playing in the school orchestra, playing tennis, and especially driving cars.  The Amber Team is lucky to have a future NASCAR driver as one of us.”

Haley Di Filippo’s teachers said, “Haley is a sweet, kind and considerate student who loves coming to school so that she can try new things and hang with her friends.  She is a well-liked student who excels academically and who participates in school activities including Orchestra and Peer Leaders.  Additionally, she is active with our Spartan community by volunteering at the public library and playing recreational volleyball.  Haley is an exemplary asset to Sparta Middle School.”

The Sapphire team chose Sophie Ju and Cody Sutton.

Sophie Ku’s teachers said, “Sophie is a very thoughtful and caring young lady.  She is extremely hard working and very thorough.  Sophie shows kindness to others and is willing to help anyone who needs assistance.  She consistently does her work and does not hesitate to ask for clarification in that process. We were fortunate to have her on our team and to be a role model for others.

Cody Sutton’s teachers said, “Cody is a hard-working, caring and considerate young man. He shows responsibility for his work and is a true advocate for himself and others.  He is always willing to help others and does not hesitate to ask questions when something is not clear.  He is a role model for other students and we were lucky to have him on our team.”

The Topaz team nominated Alyssa Ciaburri and Terrance “Terry” Zukowski.

Alyssa Ciaburri’s teachers said, “Alyssa has a strong inner drive and leadership quality that inspires her classmates to achieve.  She has an innate ability to adapt to any situation due to her keen perception.  Her student skills are exemplary and serve as the gold standard for the Topaz Team.

Terrence (Terry) Zukowski’s teachers said, “Terry has demonstrated an enthusiasm and dedication to his academic pursuits since the beginning of the school year.  He is always willing to go over and above to help his classmates and teachers.  His continued commitment to excellence serves as an admirable example to his peers.”

The seventh grade teams are Diamond, Garnet and Ruby.

The Diamond team chose Maya Laliker and Mikayla Lapp.

Maya Laliker’s teachers said, “Maya embodies all the characteristics of the ideal Student of the Marking Period.  She is an enthusiastic learner, tenacious in conquering challenges, and brings a positive approach to all she does.  Maya is open and friendly, often extending a hand to help others.  She is an out-of-the-box thinker, infusing a fresh perspective during class discussions.  She has an infectious sense of humor and a ready smile. Always will go the extra mile, Maya is a student others are drawn to.  A role model in the classroom, they all know she is someone who is accepting and welcoming to everyone. Maya is certainly a source of pride for the Diamond Team.”

Mikayla Lapp’s teachers said, “Mikayla is a delightful student and individual.  She is a kind classmate, helpful friend, and trustworthy person.  Her honesty and integrity shine through daily as she navigates her way through school.  She has a quiet determination that exudes strength of character.  Mikayla is unfailing respectful and positive.  Whenever other students need help, are left out, or just out-of-sorts, Mikayla goes out of her way to help.  She can always be counted on to do the right thing and bring others along the way.  Mikayla is a student the Diamond Team admires and appreciates.”

The Garnet team nominated Erin Duthaler and Chloe Rullis. 

Erin Duthaler’s teacher said, “Erin is such a joy to have on the Garnet Team.  There are two things she brings to the table all the time, whether we are in school or during distance learning, and those are a positive attitude and a big smile.  Erin is polite, respectful, and hard working both in and out of school.  Outside of school, she is a  three sport athlete.  Erin has been an absolute pleasure to have on the Garnet Team, she will surely be missed.”

Chloe Rullis’ teachers said, “Chloe stands out on the Garnet Team as an extremely hard worker with an incredibly positive attitude.  Chloe can always be found with a smile on her face.  She is always quite respectful, not just to her teachers, but to her peers as well.  Her most outstanding quality, however, is her determination.   She seeks help when needed but also takes advantage of opportunities to push herself above and beyond whenever possible.  We are very proud to call Chloe one of ours on the Garnent Team.”

The Ruby team selected Ava Capeci and Carlos Cruz.

Ava Capeci’s teachers said, “Ava is an awesome student who illustrated what the Six Pillars of Character are all about.  Her cheerful personality, fun-loving spirit and determined attitude were all exceptional characteristics she shared with the Ruby Team this year.  During the 4th marking period virtual education, her teachers noticed her attendance often and was a frequent participant during live learning sessions.  She demonstrated responsibility, consistently turned in assignments with detail, and her teachers noticed how dedicated she was in all her subject areas.  The Ruby Team was lucky to have her this year and wanted to recognize her for this distinguished honor.  Congrats Ava and best of luck next year.”

Carlos Cruz’s teachers said, “Carlos has been an active participant in the learning process for the entire school year.  He constantly strived to be the best student and classmate he could be both in school and during virtual education.  The Ruby Team appreciated his positive attitude, big smile, caring personality and the respect he demonstrated on a daily basis.  During this unique 4th marking period distance learning schedule, he was a frequent participant and rarely missed any virtual classes for his teachers.  The Ruby Team was lucky to teach Carlos this year and proud of all the hard work he put forth each day.  As a team, we will miss Carlos.  Congratulations and best of luck next year.”

The eighth grade teams are Emerald, Jade and Pearl.

The Emerald team recognized Alex Grubbs and Gaaya Nadarajah. 

Alex Grubbs’ teachers said, “Alex has not let this quarantine deter him from doing his best.  He’s stayed organized and involved and always checks in with his teachers.  Despite this difficult situation, Alex has continued to work hard and keep a positive attitude.  Alex has a great sense of humor and is fun to have in class, even virtually.”

Gaaya Nadarajah’s teachers said, “Gaaya is an enthusiastic student and an avid reader. During this distance-learning period, Gaaya has been an active participant in group discussions and is always one of the first people to wish someone a happy birthday or congratulate them on an accomplishment.  She’s a positive influence online and in the classroom.”

The Jade team selected Gabe Jarvis and Cassidy Pry.

Gabe Jarvis’ teachers said, “Gabe is a young man who is one of the most conscientious students on the Jade Team. The teachers admire his kindness, student skills, and ambition.  He is patient, helpful, and attentive.  He never does anything for attention or praise or because he thinks someone is watching.  He makes his decisions because he has integrity and he wants to do the right thing.   Congratulations to Gabe Jarvis.”


Cassidy Pry’s teachers said, “Cassidy is a joy to have on the Jade Team.  Her natural curiosity and creativity add life to every classroom and are just some of the reasons why she is so successful.  She is driven by her own high standards, desire to learn and drive to exceed the standard expectations.  Cassidy has a strong sense of self and uses that as a compass when she makes her choices.  We have no doubt that Cassidy will continue to be tremendously successful.  Congratulations to Cassidy Pry.”


The Pearl team chose Evan Breitfeller and Tahg Herbison.

Evan Breitfeller’s teachers said, “Evan is the Pearl Team student of the marking period.  Evan is a conscientious student who is a pleasure to have on our team.  He is respectful of everyone around him and is a great teammate.  He is an active participant in his classes and has been especially proactive regarding his classwork while we have been working online.  We can’t wait to hear of  Evan’s future success and wish him all the best in high school.”

Tahg Herbison’s teachers said, “Thag is the Pearl Team student of the fourth marking period.  Tahg is an outgoing presence in his classes who can be counted on to participate whether we are in class or meeting for online learning.   He will work well with any other students he is paired with and leads by example in all subject areas.  He is a mature young man who will go far in life.  The entire Pearl Team is proud of Tahg and we are so glad we got to know him this year.”