Passion projects of the Centennial student body

Students throughout Centennial share their experiences in creating their own passion projects.

At the ring of the first-period bell at 7:25 am, Centennial students begin their regimented schedule of learning, practice, and repeat for seven hours, five days a week for 10 months a year. They plod through the same classes and same lessons every day, some more enjoyable than others, but once the red front doors fling open at 2:10 pm, the entire world is at the mercy of our high school students. 

While Centennial offers over 100 clubs and plenty of opportunities for student-athletes, some students prefer to exercise their talents and passions outside the domain of Centennial High School. 

Education Matters For All

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Centennial sophomore Emily Han put her passion toward teaching and tutoring students, offering free online and in-person tutoring. Han initially began tutoring just one child, but soon after she realized that there are so many other kids who are also in need of a tutor as well but just couldn’t afford it. Han’s small hobby of teaching one student in her basement once a week turned into an impactful organization helping students all over the world. 

Education Matters For All (also known as EMFA) is a student-run non-profit organization with several tutors around Howard County, Maryland who tutor younger students for free. “Two years ago, I started tutoring my own student virtually online,” recalls Han; she never expected that it would turn into something much bigger.

Han found her passion for working with kids, and found that helping students understand new and challenging concepts  was “such a good feeling.” EMFA’s main goal is to give the education that matters for all, which is why Han made the program free for all those in need of tutoring. “I had a lot of friends who were in need of tutoring, but they couldn’t afford it” Han recounted, so “over the summer, I decided to start EMFA to help out my student and her friends.” She stated that she’s “really glad and surprised that it expanded to this many students.”

However, being able to balance such a project plus the overload of homework that students receive every day must have been challenging. Just making the website took over two months; she stated that “there [is] so much time getting put into it” while still having to stay on top of her own work. 

“It’s definitely been a little bit challenging balancing this along with school, but one thing that has definitely helped is a board because we can split tasks, and makes it so much easier,” Han remarked. She was able to gather a group of students who are also passionate about helping kids and was able to create a whole board. The board members from various schools around the county, including Emily Han (president and founder), Sarah Hong (vice president), Shruti Patel (Co-secretary), and Meera Khosla (Co-secretary and event manager). 

As a result, Han is extremely grateful that her hobby was able to become an impactful organization helping students all over the world. All the time, effort, and hard work that was put into making such a project were all worth it, and Han hopes to continue this throughout the rest of her high school career and college. 

Located on the website (, the process of getting paired up with a tutor is super simple. On the home page, the student can register by choosing the subject they need extra help with and then complete a simple Google form with the basic information needed to find the tutor best for them. 

The dedication Han had was able to create a better impact on others who specifically are in need of tutoring. Having a strong passion and dedication towards something allows one to expand their interests and hobbies, making it more impactful. 

A Party Size Podcast

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Centennial seniors Michelle Bank and Claire Wu first met over a bag of party-sized barbecue chips at a  post-soccer season “fun fiesta” and have been friends ever since. Along with their affinity for barbecue chips, both Bank and Wu are avid podcast listeners and the lull of peak quarantine presented a perfect opportunity to combine their interests into their very own podcast, Party Size

Party Size features conversations between Bank and Wu in which they give advice for high schoolers about anything and everything, from friendship and relationships to music and TV shows. Their lively conversation and easy laughter make the minutes fly by every episode.

The first episode of Party Size was released on all listening platforms on September 13, 2020, but the initial catalyst conversation as well as the prep began as early as July of 2020. “We had this huge master doc of like all the stuff we needed, ” Wu recounts, “We researched what kind of mics there were, what kinds we wanted to get, how we would actually be recording.”

Because Party Size was started in peak pandemic times, most of Wu and Bank’s planning for each episode was through text and video chat, but a majority of the conversation was started naturally and didn’t require much preparation. 

For a couple of months after Party Size’s initial launch in September 2020, episodes were released consistently every Sunday discussing family stories, procrastination, food, etc., with guests occasionally being brought on to share their thoughts. However, the steady stream of incoming episodes began to dwindle in April of 2021, reducing to just one episode a month and coming to a full stop in August of 2022. Bank and Wu state that this inevitable slowdown of content was due to the return of in-person school. 

Bank explained that, “everything being back was so overwhelming…it wasn’t even on my plate of things to do.” The pandemic shutdown and online school allowed Bank and Wu to take the time out to do the more tasking portions of making a podcast, including the massive amount of editing. With the return of in-person school and the mass influx of work, Party Size inevitably drifted to the bottom of the priority list. “[It was] so much easier to transition from sitting at my desk working on classwork and stuff to just sitting at my desk and working on the podcast,” Bank comments when talking about quarantine times. 

Despite the substantial decrease in content, Bank and Wu appreciate that their fans have been extremely loyal and patient throughout the whole process. As their graduation date approaches, they are unsure of what will happen to Party Size once they go off to college. “I personally wouldn’t mind if we just left it after high school as like a little capsule of what we thought about and what we talked about in high school,” Wu speculated. 

Overall, Bank and Wu agreed that their passion project was worth the long hours of editing and recording. Starting their own podcast has granted them skills that they will use for life, such as editing on different platforms and talking in a thoughtful, coherent way while being recorded. 

The passion project gave the two an outlet to discuss a wide range of topics amidst the craziness that was going on around them during the pandemic, and they encourage other students to start their own initiative. 

For high school students, it is so easy to allow schoolwork and academics to consume your life and have them take precedence over hobbies and passions; however, as exemplified by some of Centennials’ own, it doesn’t have to be this way! Wu encourages other students to invest time in their passions, stating, “if you have an idea and you think it’s good and you’re really passionate about it, then you should just go ahead and start. Don’t think too much, just start.”


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