SPARTA — Sparta High School has created a new curriculum and are now offering students a chance to excel in science.

Jim Jarrell, Physics teacher at the high school, explained the introduction of this new program that allows the top 25 science students in 8th grade to be placed in an honors Physics class in their freshmen year.

Last May, freshmen Steve Viola scored a perfect 5 on the AP Physics C Mechanics exam, and Veronica LaBelle, scored a 3. This exam is a calculus-based physics exam. Most juniors and seniors strive to accomplish this. After Physics, students will take AP Biology in their sophomore year, AP Chemistry in their junior year, and AP Physics in their senior year.

Jarrell has also started a bio-diesel project that converts vegetable oil into usable energy that can fuel a variety of things from cars to the heating system in the high school. After receiving a $5,000 grant from the Sparta Education Foundation, Jarrell began to set up his bio-diesel unit that will convert vegetable oil into fuel.

To use bio-diesel for heating the school, Jarrell using a small building detached from the school that can be set up as a lab to create bio-diesel. Jarrell would also like to involve the art students to help refurbish and paint the outside of the building. As the project grows, Jarrell will face the challenge of collecting used oil from local restaurants.

“I am so excited about this,” says Jarrell. “I want kids to understand science and see how it works in the real world. They will be walking away with this experience when they finish science at Sparta High School. I am also hoping to involve community members with science backgrounds and bio-diesel experience. Feel free to call me at the high school.”

Local businesses interested in donating oil can contact Jarrell at

This article first appeared on The Sparta Independent.