Student Voice

Noel Sparks’ influence continues to ripple throughout Moorpark College

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Noel Sparks’ influence continues to ripple throughout Moorpark College

A self portrait of Noel Sparks is displayed for attendants to see for the first time since her death. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

A self portrait of Noel Sparks is displayed for attendants to see for the first time since her death. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

A self portrait of Noel Sparks is displayed for attendants to see for the first time since her death. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

A self portrait of Noel Sparks is displayed for attendants to see for the first time since her death. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

By Ulises Koyoc

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Moorpark College’s Choir lent their voices during a memorial honoring Noel Sparks. The faces of Sparks’ peers told a story of heartache, as students gathered to remember the passionate artist and chorister.

At 12:30 p.m., a line of students and staff made their way into the courtyard of the Applied Arts complex in Moorpark College. Multiple songs and a solo were dedicated to Sparks. Overcome with emotion, the soloist could not complete her part.

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Sadden faces appeared from Spark's former choir peers. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Sparks’ life was tragically cut short during the deadly Borderline bar shooting, on Nov. 7, 2018. Described as compassionate, driven, and talented, it was clear that the 21-year-old touched the lives of those around her.

Justin Hong, a linguistics and music major at UC Berkeley, knew Sparks personally. They had attended Borderline frequently; there Sparks was outgoing and did not shy away from showing off her moves, according to Hong. Hong was among those impacted deeply by the loss of Sparks. He says that he is extremely grateful to have even crossed paths with her.

“Noel was such a loving and expressive person that showed herself through her dance, art, and music,” Hong said. “If she was here, I wish I could tell her how much she was appreciated by everyone.”

Another attendee, Clare Sadnik, an adjunct art faculty member, shared the same anguish even though she had not known Sparks personally. Sadnik observed Sparks’ dedication in the hours she spent working on ceramics or sculptures near Sadnik’s office. Sparks had also used the Makerspace regularly according to Sadnik.

Sadnik was amazed by Sparks’ personality as she was hardworking and vibrant to everyone around her. Sparks’ impact on Moorpark College is so tremendous that even individuals who did not know her were moved by her passing.

“We lost such a warm character that always pushed her passions to the limits,” Sadnik said. “I think now, we must take care of each other in trying to heal from this loss.”

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Peers shed tears as emotions rise at Memorial for Noel Sparks. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

Art professor and organizer of the event, Cynthia Minet, led the memorial by depicting the life of Sparks and who she was as a person. Minet stated that Sparks was an outstanding artist whose work was beyond extraordinary. Being an art professor, Minet believes that art can help people cope with Sparks’s death which is one of the main reasons she organized the memorial.

“I’ve been completely shaken by this event, but I have to try to remember that creativity is one of the ways we can express our sorrow,” Minet said. “I just wanted to offer that to everyone.”

After the choir performed, people had the opportunity to take a flower and put it in a vase by Sparks’s sculpture. Almost immediately, a line formed and people could be seen crying and embracing each other as they went along the line.

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Flowers are put into vases beside Spark's self portrait sculpture. Photo credit: Michelle De Leon

To conclude the memorial, everyone was invited to express themselves by writing on posters. Many people took advantage of this as some wrote long paragraphs or drew illustrations to express themselves.

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Participants were given the chance to write their feelings or condolences on posters in dedication of Noel Sparks. Photo credit: Shariliz Poveda

Although Sparks’ is no longer with us, her memory lives on in family and friends. Described as someone who would have changed the world, she left her mark by creating memories and art that will forever commemorate her life. If you would like to help support Sparks’ family, a Gofundme page has been set up. Sparks is survived by her parents, Tony Sparks and Wendy Anderson.

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