Month: February 2015

Teacher of the Year Announced

Words: Giana Han

On Feb. 12, the administration, accompanied by the SGA, walked into room 305 bearing balloons and a cake.

After the votes of the seniors were tallied, English 11 AP and Honors teacher, Mrs. Chung, emerged at the top of the ballot.

“The students got it right,” Mrs. Hafets said. “She is one of the most gracious, exemplary, giving, generous teachers, and students are so fortunate if they pass through one of her classes.  You can’t imagine how many college essays she accepts, and she has two children. She puts in so much hard work and dedication.”

The group walked into her class cheering with flowers, cake, balloons, and a sign.  Ms. Pasciullo, another English teacher who won the title last year, accompanied the group.  She was wearing the tiara that her 4B class last year gave her in honor of winning teacher of the year.  As the gifts were given to Mrs. Chung, Ms. Pasciullo took the tiara and transferred it to her fellow English 11 teacher’s head.

Mrs. Chung responded by saying, “Thank you to the senior class who was obviously a wonderful first class to teach for my return to Centennial. I have a special bond with the seniors, and I have loved every moment of being here. It’s good to be back.”

Years ago, before any of the current students attended Centennial, Mrs. Chung left to have her children.

According to Dorsey, ever since she returned to teaching, “We have been fighting to get her back. We’re glad to have her back where she belongs.”

Her students from last year were elated to hear she won.

“Mrs. Chung was the most caring teacher I have ever had, someone who makes everyone feel special and never lets anyone feel invisible,” said Pooja Patel.

“Mrs. Chung was different from a lot of teachers in that she teaches what matters in life, like about the college process,” added Daniel Park. “She can give good advice and, in doing so, she is always friendly and helpful.”

According to her former students, she wrote a letter to her class at the end of the year and mentioned each and every person in her letter.

“It’s amazing how after teaching just one year at Centennial, she has impacted so many lives at Centennial.  I’ll never forget the inspiration she has bestowed upon all of us,” said Aisha Alam.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Two Separate Languages, One Common Heart

Words: Minnie Gregorini

Photos: Izzie Chausse, Shalini Malhotra, and Minnie Gregorini

On Feb. 9, 16 Chinese students walked through the door to Centennial High School and set foot into a whole new world rich with very unique cultures.

25 students from Tianjin 25th Middle School came to America with one common goal: to experience the culture of American life. Of those 25 students, 16 came to CHS, while the other nine were sent to River Hill. CHS and River Hill welcomed these 25 students as a part of a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the Howard County Public School System and Tianjin 25th Middle School.

Those 25 weren’t just randomly picked. All the students in Tianjin 25th Middle School, whose first years are equivalent to an American sophomore, were given two tests. Once the results came out, the 25 students that scored the highest were given the opportunity to travel to America (in Chinese, America is pronounced Měiguó) and learn in American schools for three days. Because the test was administered to evaluate a broad range of subjects, many of the top students may excel at math or science but may not be as strong in English. It was a common struggle for the 16 students, and even harder if the CHS students they were shadowing didn’t speak fluent Chinese.

One student, Wang Xin Yu, said the hardest thing for him was “speaking. It was hard to communicate. But, I have learned more English already.”

Another boy, Li Rui, said that it was difficult ordering lunch. “The hardest thing was telling [the lunch ladies] what I wanted to eat. I couldn’t understand them. They couldn’t understand me.”

Many of the students especially liked the American school system. One of the students, Li Shang, said that she liked the dynamic between teachers and students. “The teachers and students are a lot closer in America than in China… It’s really nice.” First year, Li Hao (also known as Jack) echoed that observation.

Most of the students had many of the same feelings towards the common cultural practices here, though each of them seemed to have his or her own favorite part of America. One student, Li Xiao Zheng, stated that his favorite thing was the American people. “They’re really nice here,” he said.

“Computer Science. I really like Computer Science,” said student Liu Ming Yang.

“I really like the cafeteria,” said Gao Jin Sheng. “The food here is good!”

The CHS students being shadowed also got to experience a lot culturally. “I was really nervous at first because I was sure I would embarrass myself with my Chinese,” said junior Tess Hawkins. “But we ended up getting along really well,” she said about her and her shadow, Li Hao.

Brian Reed said, “It was nice showing [Jun Ran] around the school. It was fun learning more Chinese from him and I realized that the things that we take for granted sometimes they don’t have. So it’s really been interesting.”

There were also many students from CHS whose families were hosting a few of the students. Teresa Whittemore, Ryan Sorak, and Abby Pavuk were some of those students.

“I really like sharing a house with the girls I’m hosting. It’s funny, because I didn’t think I would be spending much time with them at all, but I’m spending a lot more time with them than I thought I’d be. I really like my shadow too,” Abby said.

She continued with, “I’d always wanted to be a host to an exchange student so when my mom got an email and asked if we wanted to host, I immediately said yes.”

All in all, this program has turned out to be a success for both CHS and Tianjin 25th Middle School. Hopefully, in the future, Centennial will be able to participate in more programs like it.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Kittleman Statement and Photo Timeline

Words: Maryam Elhabashy

During the process of writing my story for the “Unsung Heroes of The Civil Rights Movement in Howard County,” I tried to get as many credible voices to speak about desegregation in Howard County as possible. I decided to contact Allan Kittleman, whose father Robert Kittleman was extremely involved in desegregating Howard County. I emailed the Howard County Government website. I didn’t expect a response. I figured The Howard County Executive was an extremely busy man who had more important things to focus on. A few days later I was elated to see a reply. These are the words Allan Kittleman wrote to me. Below it is a link to a timeline I created to emphasize on the momentous events that brought the end of segregation in Howard County.

Dear Ms. Elhabashy,

I’m touched and delighted that you’re recalling my father’s contributions to the historic actions leading to the desegregation of our County’s schools.

Needless to say in today’s times, that action was long overdue, and corrected a terrible wrong, but in those times it took great courage to speak out against the status quo, the old practice of having separate schools for black and white children.

My Dad did what he did not because he thought we’d remember and praise him 50 years later, but because he knew it was right.  He helped others see that segregation was wrong, and was hurtful to our county and his friends of every color.  Dad got criticized and even threatened for saying all kids had equal rights and deserved equal treatment, but he didn’t let that change his mind.  He’s the example I think of every time I face a question that demands courage to do what’s right, and what may be unpopular.  I recall how he worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and became its first white member in Howard County, and later its only white President.  Now our schools are widely thought to be among the best in the United States, and the contributions of every member of our tremendously diverse student body are among the reasons why that is so.  Thanks for recalling how we got to where we are today.

AHK

For more information about the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Howard County, check out http://www.dipity.com/melhab/Desegregation-in-Howard-County-Schools/

 

Lines of Love Coffee House

Words: Jacob Mauer

On Jan. 30, Lines of Love hosted their third annual coffee house. The doors to the event opened at 6:00 pm at Centennial High School. Once $4 was paid as admission, the audience could take their seats before the performances began. Special performances were give by “Awkward,” a club focused around improvisational theatre, E-Hos, and Patrick Donovan among others.

The night began with Amaal Yazdi who presented poems that she wrote. After Yazdi, Tori Green and Michael Jansto performed together. Green sang while Jansto played along with his guitar. Following immediately after their songs, Tyler Adams both sang and played instrumentals for Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive” along with other classics. Skyler Betz was next in the show and sang “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.  She also gave the audience a demo of her own album. Last before the intermission was Centennial’s own “Awkward.” Included in their performances were acts of “telephone,” along with an act of funny, on the spot reactions to typical situations. The game of “telephone” started with the audience creating a story.  The first person in Awkward would then retell it to the second person only using actions. Then the second Awkward member would retell the story using words to the next member who would act it out, etc.

Intermission began after Awkward was finished and lasted roughly ten minutes. Refreshments and food were served. Foods such as cupcakes and cookies were brought and beverages included hot chocolate and coffee, as would be expected for a coffee house. Eddie Chow kept the event alive after the intermission with multiple performances including “Always,” along with others. At the end of Eddy’s performance, E-hos, the professional Hip Hop Artist/Entertainer from West Philadelphia, took to the stage and raised the crowd’s involvement by having sections of his song be sung by the crowd on his cue. Patrick Donovan arrived slightly late the show, but time was filled in nicely by E-Hos’ performance. When Donovan arrived, they sang and played together until the end of the show at seven.