Month: March 2015

Centennial Softball Starts on the Right Foot

Words: Sandy Eichhorn

Centennial varsity softball started their season off with a win over the Wilde Lake Wildcats.

The game was tied 0-0 until the bottom of the third inning when Wilde Lake scored a run with a hit to center field. Centennial quickly answered with two runs in the top of the fourth from Junior Jordan Ciraolo and Sophomore Celina Jensen.

The Eagles kept the runs coming and was winning 8-2 by then end of the fifth.

Wilde Lake changed their pitcher during the sixth inning, but that didn’t stop the Eagle’s momentum. The Eagle’s scored eight runs and held Wilde Lake scoreless for a 16-2 victory.

Many of the player’s contributed to the team’s 16 runs; Celina Jensen (4), Emily Davis (2), Jordan Ciraolo (2), Brita Hawtof (2), Jordan Burk (1), Sammy Kastner (1), Emily Allen (1), Abbey Strott (1), Tori Montanez (1), and Sam Sterenberg (1).

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

Controversial County Budget to be Decided on in May

Words: Miranda Mason

On May 12 at 7:00 p.m., the County Council will hold a public hearing on the Education portion of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget. This will be the last opportunity for Howard County residents and employees to make any public testimonies about the Education Budget for next year. After the public hearing, written testimonies can still be emailed to the entire Council until they make their final decision in late May.

The FY 2016 Education Budget became the focus of protests from HCPSS staff and students after a line in the budget was added that would eliminate media support staff from schools. At a Board of Education hearing on the budget on Feb. 28, media specialists from high schools across the county gave speeches detailing the detrimental effects reducing media staff would have.

Despite these protests, the Board of Education passed the budget without changing the line in question and will send it on to the County Executive and then the County Council for final approval.

If the County Council passes the Education Budget as is, the media secretary position in HCPSS schools would be eliminated, leaving media centers staffed with two media specialists. Media secretaries currently serve to keep media centers open and functional throughout the day, which leaves media specialists free to teach classes and work with teachers.

If the media secretary position was eliminated, this would require either the media center to remain closed while media specialists fulfill their teaching duties or for media specialists to keep the media center open throughout the day in exchange for reducing or eliminating their time spent teaching students media literacy and research skills.

According to Centennial Media Specialist Linda Norris, both of these scenarios would hurt students.

“The bottom line is that not having a full media center staff– three of us– will ultimately affect students’ achievement,” said Norris. “There won’t be the coverage in the media space which allows for certified media specialists to work with students and collaborate with teachers.”

Norris added that students and staff who are protesting the decision to eliminate the media secretary position are now turning their attention to the County Council. According to Norris, anyone who is against the current FY 2016 Education Budget is being encouraged to email their testimony to the entire Council before they make their final decision.

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

Centennial Wins Awards at National History Day

Words: Rachel Truitt

On Saturday, March 14, freshman Katie Gao won first place at the county level of the National History Day Competition at Reservoir High School.

The competition was split up into two categories, junior and senior. Because Gao is in high school she competed in the senior category. The theme of this year’s competition was “Leadership and Legacy.” In the competition, there were various categories to enter such as a written paper, website, exhibit, website, and other entries combined.

There were 49 entries total, but for Gao’s category, paper, there was six competitors. For her entry, Gao wrote a paper on Henry Dunant, a Swiss business man and social activist who was responsible for the creation of the International Red Cross.

Gao and second place winner, junior Cecilia Hsu, also from Centennial, will now move onto the state level at UMBC in April. If she wins at states, she will then move on to nationals.

Gao was very happy to win first place. “I put in a lot of time and effort into my project,” she said, “and it was nice seeing it all pay off.”

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

Centennial Holds the Maryland Blue Ocean Competition

Words and Photos: Jonah Drenning

On Saturday, March 21, 32 teams gathered at Centennial High School to participate in a special kind of business competition: the Maryland Blue Ocean Competition. Founded by Centennial Senior Nick Benavides, the second iteration of his competition required students to develop and present “blue ocean” business ideas.

But what does “blue ocean” even mean? According to the best-selling book “Blue Ocean Strategy”, whose co-author Renee Mauborgne was a keynote speaker at the event, blue ocean strategy is the use of uncontested market space to make competition irrelevant. In other words, the business ideas are so new and innovative that they will have no business competitors.

The presentations kicked off at 11:20 am where groups featuring topics such as cloud computing, sports injury treatment, farming, and fashion were split into in four different rooms to present their ideas to judging panels composed of local business leaders and entrepreneurs. Teams were scored from one to five in four different categories (innovation/creativity, viability, knowledge, and presentation) and the top scorers from each room and the four next best scoring teams moved on to the final round of presentations.

Before the final round started, workshops dealing with topics from 3D Printing and mobile development to thinking outside the box and balancing entrepreneurship with college were held for the participants to attend. The workshops were led by figures in the community with business experience, including Centennial’s own teacher, Mr. Lee.

Beginning at 4:15 pm, the final presentations began and boasted an audience that filled Centennial’s entire media center. The presentations were well-rehearsed and several groups showed off prototypes and talked of deals with companies.  All the teams were very respectful and could be seen shaking hands and applauding after other groups’ presentations.

“The finalists presented very developed ideas,” said Benavides, “A few teams have already started selling their products.”

In the end, first place went to team LyfeCord, whose members are from McDonogh. Their product is a nylon and polyester phone charger for Apple devices that prevents fraying and other damage that frequently occurs (more information can be found at

Team GelGear won second place with stylish and affordable concussion protection equipment and third place was awarded to team ProtoCast, who developed a new method to manufacture metal parts using 3D-printed plastic molds. Other finalists were Vicinities, LLC (event-matching social network), Hawks, Inc. (turbine used to recharge electric/hybrid cars), SoundCheck (music comparing and evaluating software), EliteU (peer-to-peer online tutoring), and Agrius Games (multiplayer card game).

Blue Ocean Committee members Pranav Ganapathy and Andrew Deng remarked, “This year Maryland Blue Ocean Competition is expanding horizons and we tried to attract more people from around the state.”

The competition was open to competitors statewide and attracted students from schools such as McDonogh, Gilman, River Hill, and Atholton as well as many others. However, the competition began at Centennial and is run entirely by students, many of whom are from Centennial.

“We’re proud of all the teams who have competed today.  Thanks for making Blue Ocean a success!” proclaimed committee member Kunal Pathade.

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

Class Board of 2017 Will Be At World Fest

Words: Sabrina Han

On Friday, March 20, Centennial’s World Fest will take place from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. There are many clubs that will be helping to ensure that the event runs smoothly. Among those clubs is the Class Board of 2017.

Claire Lee, president of the 2017 Class Board, says that the club has been preparing for the event “for about three weeks”. At the event, Class Board members will be making and selling American-style food, like french fries and lemonade.

The event is a celebration of different cultures around the world, and will feature food stands, talent shows, fashion shows, and many more. “People should attend this event because it is a great opportunity to witness and experience different cultures while supporting their school,” Lee stated.

“The club members and I are looking forward to…the great fundraising and advertising opportunity. Since World Fest is such a big event, many people will be there and we feel like this is the best place to gather funds and make our club known,” says Lee.

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