Month: December 2019

Centennial Participates in 2019 Hour of Code

Words: Alexandra Valerio

To promote coding careers for students, Centennial will be hosting the Hour of Code event from December 9 to 15, and students from all grades will be able to practice coding with staff at Centennial. 

Daleth Sendin, a Centennial Technology teacher, has been in charge of the Hour of Code event since it was adopted by the county. He mentioned that during his first Hour of Code, they “didn’t have chromebook[s] [or] computer labs like we have now.”

Sendin sent Centennial staff the Hour of Code 2019 materials so that the staff can properly show students how to code. Each year the English and Art departments participate. Believing that there is overlap between math, science, and computer science, Sendin wishes he would have more participation from these departments because “there is a lot of applicable stuff with the Hour of Code.” 

Sendin has recruited staff as well as students from computer science backgrounds, such as Girls Who Code, and additional groups who are interested in participating in the event. 

Junior Adam Goldstein has participated in the Hour of Code for all of middle school and two years of high school, but he also has a lot of programming experience outside of Hour of Code. He is knowledgeable in 10 programming languages, has maintained the chseagletime.com website, and has created VR headsets with his friends.

“I respect [the Hour of Code] vision, but [I] disagree with their focus,” says Goldstein. “I have seen [a] lack [of] an actual introduction to the main skills programmers use. [But, I believe] there are some [skills from the Hour of Code] that are beneficial.”

“I would want to see more activities like creating a simple sorting algorithm where you can only compare two objects at a time and choose to swap them or not… those sorts of conceptual higher level problem solving activities are much more similar to actual problems programmers face,” Goldstein reiterates. 

Goldstein feels it would be better to spread “curiosity to [new learners and] encourage them to keep exploring computer science.” He feels that it is “more satisfying than turning code into a game.” 

Peter Ganunis, a junior, has also done the Hour of Code for three years in middle school and two years in high school. His passion for coding, however, developed outside of the Hour of Code. 

Ganunis does a variety of aesthetic-centered work with web design and video game development. He is the founder of the Technology Seminar and has experience teaching kids at CodeNinjas, where he teaches computer programming to kids ages 7-12. He also belongs to CodeRead, a non-profit that teaches Java programming to middle school students at Burleigh Manor. 

“[The Hour of Code] has [the] ability to raise interest in computer programming. It succeeds in making computer programming seem accessible and gratifying,” said Ganunis.

According to Ganunis, Hour of Code emphasizes the basic principles of coding and allows it to be accessible for beginners. He believes in order to make it even more successful, it should have more gamification. 

Deja Grissom, a senior, participated in the Hour of Code as a junior. She found Hour of Code beneficial. 

“I think everyone should know how to code because technology is such a pivotal element in our society, everyone needs to know how to work the basics of a computer and smartphone,” she said. “It doesn’t mean anything if you just know how to press a button and a screen comes on. But to know what triggered the button and all the mechanisms that go inside of your phone for it to function… that’s important.”

Ellena Lee, a junior, participated in Hour of Code as a sophomore and it peaked her interest in coding. “It’s really interesting because the coding gives information not only about how to code in computers but also about how to collaborate the code with my hobby.” 

For the Hour of Code event, Sendin encourages people to participate in coding and understand the basic functions of technology. “We are all in a technological age where we interact with digital information all the time.” Sendin believes that “getting involved in the Hour of Code and learning some of those basics or how basic function works” will help people to become knowledgeable and be able to “expand their horizons” as well as “how they are interacting.”

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Centennial Varsity Girls’ Basketball Falls to South River

Words: Joey Sedlacko

Photos: Zach Grable

The Centennial Varsity girls’ basketball team lost to opponent South River High School by a score of 60-49 on Wednesday, December 18. The girls’ team will play in a Christmas tournament over winter break, starting on December 27.

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Centennial Celebrates Winter Spirit Week

Words: Sarah Paz

Photos: Adithi Soogoor

Centennial celebrated the last week before winter break with a Winter Spirit Week. Due to inclement weather, the themes of each Spirit Day overlapped. On Tuesday, some Centennial students showed up to school as if they just rolled out of bed on Pajama Day. Nostalgic for the calm, warm days of summer, other students participated in Tuesday’s theme of Season Switch. On Wednesday, students wore all white on Winter Wonderland Day. On Thursday, students wore flannels. Concluding the week, students wore their ugliest holiday-themed sweaters on Ugly Sweater Day. 

The Yearbook team ran and chose the themes for this Spirit Week instead of the student government. Yearbook member Kristin Parisi believes that it was time for the yearbook to step up. 

After [we] heard that SGA didn’t come up with the winter spirit days, Mrs. Lavender talked to the editors about trying to increase school spirit and make our own spirit week,” she said.

The yearbook team wanted “to keep the traditional spirit days like ugly sweater and pj [day] because those are classics and then mix in some other new ones… We wanted to try to do days that were easy but fun, to try to get more people involved,” said Parisi. 

She believes that the week was successful in increasing school spirit. “We were originally scared because knowing this spirit week doesn’t have a lot of participation it wouldn’t go well… [However], flannel day seemed like a hit because everywhere I went I saw teachers and kids in their flannel.”

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PLASTIC: Your Evil Best Friend

Words: Natalie Knight-Griffin

Photo: Sara Ferrara

Here we are. A generation of radical, idealistic, and often angry teenagers. We see the way the world has fallen apart under our feet: rainforests cut down, carbon emissions higher than ever, ice caps melting, mass extinction, oceans of plastic. We have been handed this responsibility, this enormous task of reversing hundreds of years of destruction and pollution. But we accept, no questions asked. Because we understand that this responsibility is greater than us.

I never imagined I would be the type of kid you hear about in the news, in the human interest stories after main program hours. The ones that run their own charities at age eight, the ones who are working day and night to make a difference, the ones who make you feel like you’ve done absolutely nothing with your life. My parents watched quietly before making the oh-so-familiar joke, “Why aren’t you trying to save the world?”

Then, the summer before my freshman year, I saw the Earth in peril and suddenly, I was.

My godmother had introduced me to Flow, a documentary detailing the privatization of water and its detrimental effect on both the worldwide class system and the environment. After that, I began spending the majority of my time observing my own post-consumer waste, not to mention that of my peers. The toothpaste bottle is empty and trashed at 6:38am. My best friend’s leftover coffee drink, watered down, is discarded at 11:12am. At 12:38pm, the bell rings and the lunch table is decorated with three Dasani bottles, sandwich bags with half-eaten PB&Js, Go-Go squeezes, and the assumed necessity of our school’s plastic utensils— despite the absence of their use.

At home, I stand in front of the enormous green bin in my complex; it begins to look the size of my apartment. Its opening is a void, a hole yawning for the day’s trash. None of which, I remember, will degrade in my lifetime. Nor the next. Nor the one after that.

We believe we live in a progressive society— but do we?

Awareness of plastic waste and its environmental effect is no secret. It now feels as though the idea of being “waste-free” is a trend. Reusable straws and biodegradable alternatives are now a marketing term. If capitalist America has caught up, why hasn’t the school system? Is Centennial really a self-proclaimed “green school” if we possess the ability to fill an entire landfill on our own?

In Howard County, we have the privilege of not acknowledging our post-consumer waste; to throw away that crumble of paper in our hands, that soda, in a split second, without another thought. We each produce pounds of trash every day. So, in the minds and hearts of our community, why doesn’t it matter? The answer is obvious: this waste does not directly affect us.

The day’s trash will be taken to the landfill. And that’s all we really need to know, right? What you don’t see are the pounds of waste that will never degrade. The billions of plastic materials  that will exist at the bottom of the ocean, in our forests, and in the stomachs of innocent animals for as long as they are alive.

There it was: my big project.

The one that could potentially be the answer to my parent’s fateful question.

Where does the single greatest amount of plastic exist within a high school? Three bins laying on a cafeteria table, each containing an abundance of forks, spoons, or knives.

So it began. I jumped in and invested two months of research into the depths of biodegradable and sustainable utensil distributors. I wrote and sent email after email to the officers at the Board of Education; hoping for traction. Constantly, desperately, always.

Eventually, my Principal Cynthia Dillon aided in landing a meeting from three officers from the Board of Education to discuss the transition away from plastic utensils. We met in the central office of Centennial, with Dillon there to facilitate. Nothing substantive came of the meeting, but I am not discouraged. I will continue to chronicle my research and experiences in a Wingspan series for the 2019-20 school year.

I inform you of this not to point the finger at anyone, nor to deem myself the heroine of this impossible challenge. Instead, I point my question to you.

What are you going to do?

 

This article is featured in the 2019 Winter Issue.  To see the full issue, Click Here!

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

Centennial Wrestling Continues to Improve

Words: Joey Sedlacko

Photos: Adithi Soogoor

On Tuesday, December 17 the Centennial wrestling team hosted a three-team match. The Eagles defeated Wilde Lake High School by a score of 72-12, but lost 44-30 to their second opponent of the day, Hammond High School.

For Centennial, Christopher Lee, Nick Shapiro, Yusuf Mehboob, and Charles Schmidt won both of their matches versus Hammond and Wilde Lake. Also, Centennial’s Ethan Gauthier won his match against his opponent from Hammond.

Six wrestlers from Wilde Lake had to forfeit their match, which allowed Centennial to gain a large lead in points.

For the Eagles, David Ye, Matteo Daly, and Duran Anderson were also victorious in their matches versus Wilde Lake.

The wrestling team is back in action on December 19, when they face Severna Park High School.

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

Flying Through Centennial Volume 1

Video by: Casper Ambrose, Julia Stitely, Noelle Deal, Keith Hitzelberger, Camryn Desai, Josh Kim

Before Centennial leaves for break, check out the Wingspan’s first video in our Flying Through Centennial series, showcasing student and staff life.

To view the video Click Here!

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

Centennial Student Section: Drawing a Fine Line

Words: Caleb McClatchey

Photo: Sara Ferrara

The Centennial student section’s behavior during the fall sports season has brought into focus the delicate balance between spirited and unsportsmanlike spectator behavior.

At the Varsity boys’ soccer game against Long Reach on October 10, two Centennial  students shouted in other languages during the game. Aaron Pollokoff, who is Jewish, shouted the beginning of a Hebrew prayer in Hebrew. Kenji Hoang, who is Chinese, said he shouted cheers like “great ball” and “good shot” in Chinese. Pollokoff also stated that Centennial students called out the names of Long Reach players throughout the game.

During the game, an official called a timeout to address the student section’s behavior and gave a warning to them. Afterwards, administrators talked to Owen Burke and Pollokoff, along with multiple other students, about their behavior at the game.

Principal Cynthia Dillon says that it was not simply students’ use of foreign languages that made their behavior inappropriate. She stated that the nonverbal signs accompanying their speech, such as their intonation and body language, “did not indicate kindness.”

“[It’s] not what you say but how you say it that matters,” she remarked.

In addition to the warning against the use of other languages, Burke recalled being told that spectators can’t bark or call out opposing players by name or number.

A few days later, Centennial played another boys’ soccer game at River Hill. Pollokoff says that Centennial students barked and screamed the names of Centennial’s and River Hill’s players.

Assistant Principal Tracy Scaltz, who was present at the game, asked students to stop screaming the names of River Hill’s players and barking. Although a couple of students initially questioned her reasoning, she said they didn’t do so in a disrespectful manner. According to Scaltz, the student section stopped their behavior after she talked to them, but it was apparent that there needed to be a dialogue between students and staff to reach a common ground.

For Scaltz, communication between the administration and student section is everything. “When we communicate clearly our expectations, and the staff and students come up with a plan, the kids are awesome” she stated.

What transpired both during and as a result of these games has led Burke to believe that the administration is “keeping a closer eye [on the student section]” than in past years.

While Centennial’s Athletic Director Jeannie Prevosto agrees that the student section’s behavior wasn’t worse than in past years, she says that inappropriate behavior “appears to have been more apparent this year.” She explained that when the official called a timeout to address it during the Long Reach game, this put it onto the administration’s radar.
Prevosto wants to make sure that the school takes care of any future inappropriate behavior before the officials do and stated that the school will “address everything we feel is unsportsmanlike or violates HCPSS policy for athletic events.”

Pollokoff, however, disagrees with the assessment that the student section’s behavior was unsportsmanlike. He believes that there was “nothing offensive or mean” about what they did.

Likewise, Burke says he doesn’t think “we’ve done one thing over the top all year.”

Prevosto, on the other hand, emphasized the idea that “perception is everything.” Even if a student is not intending to be offensive or mean, their behavior could still be “seen as negative and inappropriate.”

  After the two soccer games, some confusion developed within the student body over what behavior will –and will not– be allowed within the student section at games. After talking with Dillon, Prevosto clarified the school’s stance on certain behaviors.

Barking will be “allowed providing it is used to cheer for Centennial,” said Prevosto. However, if it is “used in a derogatory way to berate, harass, or intimidate opposing players, coaches, or officials, then that will not be allowed.”

With regards to calling out players’ names and numbers, Prevosto stated that “as long as our spectators are cheering in a positive, appropriate manner, we can call out the names and numbers of our players, not the opposing team’s.”

Ultimately, Prevosto says that she wants “everything we say and do to be a positive reflection of Centennial High School.” She is aware of the effect that the student section can have on games, and her goal is to allow as much school spirit as possible while adhering to good sportsmanship.

In a similar spirit, Burke remarked that he and his peers are “just trying to bring back energy and make it fun.”

Despite the recent disagreements between students and administrators over what behavior crosses the line, it is clear that both sides share a common goal: increasing school spirit at Centennial.

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This article is featured in the 2019 Winter Issue.  To see the full issue, Click Here!

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