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The Spartan Speaks

The Student News Site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

The Student News Site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

The Spartan Speaks Bids Farewell to Editor-in-Chief Joey Mariani

Joey+Mariani
Joey Mariani

Joey Mariani, The Spartan Speaks Editor-in-Chief, will be graduating this Thursday.

Joey began high school in the Fall of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pretty much everything was online so I didn’t get to see any of my classmates really. And then it just kind of went from there. Like slowly the pandemic ended and we were able to go back to normal again, essentially, and we were able to start clubs again, like The Spartan Speaks, that had declined severely during COVID,” Joey said.

Joey joined The Spartan Speaks during his sophomore year as a staff reporter. He became the Opinions Editor his junior year and the Editor-in-Chief his senior year.

“So, [OHS] used to have a paper, like an actual physical paper they’d have once a month. During COVID, it got shut down and our viewership went down a lot online, so I figured we could do monthly newsletters that would highlight some of our articles we want people to see every month […] and we did that and viewership went up a lot,” Joey said.

Joey also created SPARTLE with his friend Blake Barrington, an Orono version of Wordle.

“[Joey] has helped to connect what was happening before [I arrived] with what’s happening now and sometimes he reminds me of what needs to be done,” The Spartan Speaks Advisor Mr. Sherman said, “I will miss his crossword puzzles. I just like his trivia brain; he knows so much about so many things. I think that’s really fun to interact with.”

Another club Joey participated in was Quiz Bowl. Joey joined his sophomore year and stepped up to lead it his junior year.

“My junior year, the current seniors essentially flaked out at the very beginning of the year, so I had to take charge and I didn’t really have any guidance, like I even had to figure out the password because they didn’t tell me,” Joey said.

Joey had to learn how to study, how to do transportation to tournaments, and how to get people “safe” for tournaments. There was no advisor at the time, which Joey notes was “technically not allowed,” which meant that Joey had to run Quiz Bowl without guidance, all by himself.

“He is a singular student. He’s an original [student]. He has a drive and such high expectations for himself that is incredibly rare. He is knowledgeable in so many ways that go so far beyond just the accumulation of what can be gathered from a school curriculum that just is evidence of his incredible, unquenchable curiosity for knowledge and his ability to learn,” Quiz Bowl Advisor Mr. Williams said.

During his freshman year, Joey joined the Orono Student Senate. At the end of his freshman year, Joey ran for Class President and was re-elected both his junior and senior years as well.

“Joey is an extraordinarily hard worker who likes to involve himself in a wide variety of things […] He’s done a really good job at getting his class organized and communicating with them and was the go-to person for that,” Student Senate Advisor Mr. Lundquist said, “I’ll miss how he was always happy to help out and laugh as he did it. He’s got a contagious laugh.”

Joey participated in SPARKS during his junior and senior years, as well. SPARKS stands for “Student’s Potential for Achievement Resiliency Kinship Support,” and is an after school mentoring/tutoring program aimed at helping academically at-risk elementary, intermediate, and middle school students.

Ms. Hunstiger, a SPARKS Advisor, noted Joey’s compassion and the difference he has made in SPARKS students’ lives.

“Joey has been a very reliable mentor. He is such a kind and caring person. Joey is someone who gives 100% at all times. He has had such an impact on the students. He has worked so well with all of our SPARKS students as well as taking time to just talk and learn more about the students. I will miss Joey’s smile and willingness to help anyone at all times,” Ms. Hunstiger said.

Alex (last name withheld) is a SPARKS student and testament to the impact Joey has made in SPARKS students’ lives.

“Joey has helped me with my math homework. My math grade is up. Most of my math tests were at benchmark since working with Joey. Joey has been very kind to me. He gave me advice on how to study and to make sure I stay on top my math assignments,” Alex said.

Joey also participated in football and club hockey, becoming a varsity football player his senior year. Joey enjoyed participating in sports because of the friends he met through them, the physical aspect of them, and because they are just plain fun.

Joey will be attending Harvard University this Fall, majoring in Economics.

“Originally […] I applied to Dartmouth early and I was like ‘Dartmouth is my number one’ and I was very fixed on Dartmouth. And then I ended up being deferred from Dartmouth and I kind of was like ‘OK,’” Joey said.

Due to his deferment, Joey decided to apply to “every single school [he] was remotely interested in,” which ended up being 17 in total. Joey was accepted by “quite a few” colleges, but ultimately chose Harvard because of his positive experience with their new-student orientation, location, and cost.

Joey’s advice for OHS students is simple:

“Try hard in everything you do, whether it be the MCA’s or just attending school events like football games or plays. I would say just try to make the most of every experience because you only have it once,”

If you have anything nice you would like to share about Joey, please do so in the comments!

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About the Contributor
Ethan Weiss
Ethan Weiss, Editor-in-Chief
Hello! My name is Ethan Weiss and I am the Editor-in-Chief of The Spartan Speaks. I am a sophomore and this is my 2nd year with the paper. I am excited to write about Orono news and student life. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, reading, and spending time with friends.

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