Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Do the Spartan Up

Posted 01/04/2009 by Vince Crespin

New school-wide projects are bringing back Spartan Spirit.
by Vince Crespin

spartanup_small School spirit is no longer just a measure of a cheerleader’s peppiness or a student’s love for the school; the Thomas Jefferson faculty has started a new campaign called Spartan Up to increase school pride and revitalize the school culture.

The school’s Culture Committee created the Spartan Up concept. “The idea basically stemmed from a brainstorming session that a group of teachers were having to come up with a slogan for doing good deeds or creating something that makes TJ a better place,” said Culture Committee Chaiman Matt Spampinato. “Jeff Coleman came up with the old saying ‘Cowboy Up’ and then suggested changing it to ‘Spartan Up’. We ran with it. We are asking teachers who are willing, to take on one new and unique thing to do around the school; and if each teacher does, that will be like 80 new things that have been added to the school’s culture. We are trying to improve school spirit through focusing on TJ’s culture,” said Spampinato

Culture Committee Member and huge proponent of the Spartan Up idea, Teacher Grant Laman is very excited about the possibilities of what this new effort can accomplish. “If everybody gets on board there are endless possibilities with what can be accomplished. My own idea is to prepare a media blitz for the campaign. I don’t want to give away any secrets about what we have prepared, but I have enlisted the help of certain teachers for the program,” said Laman

While Spartan Up and its activities are currently limited to the adults, the plan is to expand it to the students down the road. The different projects that have been proposed include making a classroom solar powered, cleaning and organizing school trophies, sponsoring dodge-ball teams at the Renaissance Festival and organizing a Secret Santa for the faculty members. “My personal favorite is what Rachel Stutzman has suggested, that at a Home basketball game, we honor teachers with a teacher appreciation night, in which the staff gets in free, and at half time we will honor each of them,” said Laman.

Some ideas have already been set in motion, such as Stacey Fornstrom’s Game Club, in which students are welcome to stop buy and enjoy some quality gaming in his classroom on Thursday afternoons. “The game club is a great place to come for gamers, just to come and share the experience, enjoy new games and enjoy the comradely,” said Timothy Barber, a student beneficiary of the game club.

The decision to create a game club was easy for Fornstrom. “I was looking for a project to do for Spartan Up, and the kids came to me with this idea for a game club. I thought it was great because it was a student’s idea, and it was for the kids. So it was an easy decision for me,” he said.

While the types of projects that teachers are taking up vary, the opinions of the concept seem to be mostly upbeat. “I am glad to see people taking pride in the school and encouraging others to do so, so I applaud them starting Spartan Up,” said Business Teacher Matt Niccolo.

Susan Stokley was more then happy to contribute. “I spend more time here when I am awake then anywhere else; therefore, this is my community and Secret Santa is a fun and exciting way to get together with the staff and have fun. I think it adds another nice layer of community involvement,” said Stokley.

Many staff members are just happy that people are being recognized. “There’s so many great things going on at TJ that sometimes people don’t get recognized; Spartan Up is a great way to remedy that,” said Assistant Principal Scott Lessard.

To see a full list of all the Spartan Up projects got to If you have any ideas for a Spartan Up project please contact Principal Sandra Just at