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The Wingspan

The Wingspan

Senior Superlatives at Centennial

A Google Form, a senior class and a longstanding tradition that had the packed hallways of Centennial buzzing even louder than usual.

Every year, seniors at Centennial High School get the opportunity to be permanently cemented in the school’s history by winning a superlative that gets featured in the yearbook. Some superlatives focus on looks, others reflect the student’s personality and some even serve to predict what the future may look like for the student. With 26 categories featured this year, there were many possibilities for various social groups to be represented. However, the question always remains: are senior superlatives an outdated popularity contest?

“I think as a yearbook staff we decided that…yeah, it mostly highlights people who are…considered ‘popular’ or have a larger presence in the senior class…[but] the goal of the yearbook is ultimately to highlight and showcase as many students from different activities, different groups…as much as we can,” yearbook advisor Sophia Nguyen said.

Having so many categories that emphasize a student’s personality may have helped with the issue of representation. Cecelia Newton, who won biggest heart, said that it was “gratifying” to win the superlative, but admitted, “it’s just kind of a popularity contest to be honest. You can kinda tell like the same kinda people got nominated.” However, she thinks that the tradition is a fun, mostly harmless way to cement seniors’ positions and personalities in school’s history.

The voting process was a bit complicated this year. First, students wrote in names of their peers that they wanted to vote for in each category that the yearbook staff had chosen. The staff then took the most highly suggested names and created a multiple choice Google Form that was sent out on Canvas. Another multiple choice form followed this one, which some students noticed did not include the names of the initial nominees. 

“There were…a few nominees that as we discussed as a staff we felt like some of them were not genuine or sincere…we thought we needed to remove some people and put more serious nominees on there,” Nguyen explained. She also said that “between creating the first and the second [form] some people got dropped and…added on due to counting…and so we just went ahead and added everybody who was nominated for that category and then let the senior class decide based off of who was most deserving of each superlative.”

Allie Liu is the Vice President of the Student Government Association, the President of the Howard County Association of Student Councils and is Howard County’s representative on the Maryland Association of Student Councils; needless to say, she won future politician. While she isn’t entirely sure what she wants to do with her future, she is looking into law and thinks that running for office would be “a fun possibility.” 

“I think they’re fun for spirit!” she said of superlatives. “They’re definitely something to be taken with a light heart because honestly everyone could be recognized for something if it was a possibility.”

One way the yearbook staff ensured that the superlatives were inclusive was by not specifying gender in categories that had the potential for two winners. For example, in the yearbook for the 2021-2022 school year, there were winners for “most athletic boy” and “most athletic girl.” On this year’s form, though, there were simply two opportunities to vote for “most athletic” without any specification of gender. “We know that there are students who don’t identify as either female or male and we just wanted to be very inclusive of everybody,” Nguyen said. “It would just be the two people who got the highest votes, and if it happened to be two males or two females or two nonbinary people, then that would just be who we would highlight.”

All in all, many see the superlatives as a facet of senior year life that brings excitement and community to the graduating class. “I was looking forward to it every year,” said Ella McCann, who was one of the winners for best eyes. Liu agrees, noting, “I personally think the traditional and sentimental value behind it is still fun…they really are to be taken with a grain of salt!”

Whether the superlatives are an outdated popularity contest or a fun way to affix students in their class’ history, the emotions of the superlatives may come down to something much more simple: “It’s nice to be liked,” Newton put it.

To order a yearbook by the April 12 deadline, use the link below: 


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About the Contributor
Abby Conrad, Feature Editor