Month: February 2020

Six More Sign off on the Next Four

Words: Shawn Kruhm

Photos: Eliza Andrew

On Tuesday, February 26, six Centennial student-athletes came together for their official signing day. 

Anthony Matthews committed to play football at Bridgewater College. Jordan Hinz and Olivia Reese committed to play softball at Washington and Jefferson College and Shepherd University, respectively. Casey Stratton committed to play field hockey at Keystone College. Ty Sams and Kieran Senisi committed to play lacrosse at the College of Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s College of Maryland, respectively.

All athletes have made countless sacrifices to get to where they are now. 

“Signing to play Division One lacrosse was so surreal,” said Sams. “Ever since I started playing lacrosse my goal was to play on Saturdays for a D1 program; Words cannot describe the feeling I had when I put the pen to paper on my National Letter of Intent after the countless hours of practice had finally paid off.” 

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Centennial Boys’ Basketball Takes Down Hammond on Senior Night

Words: Shawn Kruhm

Photos: Adithi Soogoor and Eliza Andrew

On Friday, February 21, the boys’ Varsity basketball team defeated Hammond by a final score of 59-32.

Seniors Joey Sedlacko, Matt Schickner, Brandon Bonner, Connor Carpenter, and Jeong Hwang were recognized for their dedication and hard work over the years. 

Senior Dance Company members, Olivia Wang, Lexie Fang, Divya Proper, Wenyu Yang, Danica Choi, and Jillian Sanders, were also celebrated before the game. The girls performed at halftime and in-between quarters. 

Centennial dominated Hammond on both ends of the court. The Eagles put the game away in the third quarter after scoring 17 and allowing just four points. 

Hwang finished with a team-high 12 points as Centennial defeated Hammond in their final game of the season. 

The Eagles finished with a regular season record of 17-5 and tied for second place in the county. The Eagles will play Mount Hebron High School on Friday, February 28 in the first round of the playoffs.

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Slopek Snags “Health Education Teacher of the Year”

Words: Xander Mauer

On January 23, 2020, the Maryland Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) recognized three Howard County teachers at an HCPSS Board of Education meeting. Centennial teacher and coach Robert Slopek was among the three, receiving the Health Education Teacher of the Year award.

The award serves to commend a teacher for their pursuit for top-quality health education, focusing on the in-class experience itself as well as the teachers involvement with their school and community outside of the classroom.

Slopek has been a health teacher at Centennial for the past five years, and before that, he taught physical education at Burleigh Manor Middle School for 13 years. Even though he didn’t start out teaching health, he has been passionate about the topic.

“I’ve always wanted to teach health, even when I was in college. I just like the subject and the topics in healththey were fascinating to me,” says Slopek. “I think that because of the impact on students it has when they understand what a healthy person is, mentally and physically, that [health is] the most important subject there is.”

In his relatively short time teaching health, the curriculum has undergone significant change. Slopek finds these changes to be improvements, as it increases the impact the class has on the students.

“We’ve shifted a lot in the last five years that I’ve been here… rather than memorizing facts, taking a test, forgetting the facts, and then learning new facts to forget, we now are putting everything into life skills and more skill-based lessons,” he explains. “We’ve gone a lot more into the health skills, like understanding what life skills are needed to be healthy, where the skills that we use in our classroom can go across all curriculars, and [students] are able to use these skills for more than just looking up health informationthey’re skills that can be used everyday in various topics and situations.”

While Slopek finds the subject intriguing, he teaches the class for the students. Through his work, he is able to impact the students, the driving force behind his pride in the subject.

“I like to focus on creating a much more laid-back, relaxed atmosphere so that students feel comfortable and confident to ask questions without being criticized,” reflects Slopek. “I think that goes a long way, building a relationship with students. So, something that I really focus on is trying to get to know our students well outside of the classroom… not just what they do on an assignment, but understanding who they are as a person.”

With the passion Slopek has for all aspects of his job and his ability to connect with his students to help them to be the best person they can, it’s no wonder that he has been so successful in this field of work.

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Centennial Girls’ Varsity Basketball Celebrates Their Seniors

Words: Shawn Kruhm

Photos: Melissa Notti

On Thursday, February 13, the girls’ Varsity basketball team hosted River Hill on their senior night. 

A vibrant gym, decorated with posters, flowers, and streamers welcomed the seniors of the girls’ basketball team for their final regular season home game. Centennial seniors Rasa Welsh, Sarah Sopchick, Gigi Castle-Smith, Brook Anderson, Olivia Reese, and Kristin Parisi were recognized and celebrated for their time with the basketball program. 

Centennial played strong and fought to the end of Thursday night’s game, but fell just short of River Hill. They had a great start as they trailed by only one point after the first quarter. 

Defensive struggles persisted in the second quarter, as Centennial had trouble stopping River Hill in transition. 

Despite trailing by nine points entering the second half, the Eagles would not give up. Centennial went on a 7-2 run to open the third quarter and trailed by just four points midway through the third. 

Although Anderson finished with a game-high 18 points, they were unable to hold off River Hill. 

The girls’ basketball team will travel to Glenelg next Wednesday, February 19, as they begin to prepare for playoffs. 

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Centennial Clubs Celebrate Valentines Day

Words: Sasha Allen

Photos: Sara Ferrara

With Valentine’s Day here, clubs have decided to take advantage of the season through club sales. Among these are Red Cross and Eagle Ambassadors, who are selling festive treats for students to buy.

Red Cross has been selling carnations for $1 a piece to raise money for the club’s charity activities. With the money, the club will make blankets for veterans and sandwiches for grassroots.

“A lot of people send flowers not just to significant others but also friends and teachers to show their appreciation to them, so it brings an air of community to Centennial,” says Anika Huang, a member of Red Cross.

Eagle Ambassadors has been selling candy grams for either $1 or $2 with personalized notes for the recipient. They use the money earned for events and school spirit activities to benefit Centennial as a whole.

Chris Lidard, a junior, has been active with the sales and is excited to use the money to help the school.

“Almost everything [raised] will be going back into helping students raise up school spirit,” says Lidard. “A worthwhile investment if you ask me.”

As for the candy grams, Lidard enjoys the spirit they bring to Centennial.

“I think the idea of sending some candy and a personal note really helps people connect,” says Lidard. “Even if it’s to a friend or a classmate… [it can] brighten up the atmosphere of the school.”

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Wingspan Subscriptions Are Now Available!

The Wingspan team is now offering subscriptions to our readers who are outside of our direct school community. This is especially beneficial for family members and alumni who are interested in following the latest news at Centennial.

This year, we are offering a special subscription price for the final two print issues of this year. Please follow the link provided (and share our flyer below) to learn more about subscriptions and support the Wingspan.

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Friday Night Hoops

Words: Shawn Kruhm

Photo: Eliza Andrew

On Friday, February 7, the Centennial Varsity boys’ and girls’ basketball teams hosted Atholton High School. The boys lost by a final score of 70-54, while the girls won 58-43. 

The girls dominated on both sides of the ball. Seniors Brook Anderson and Rasa Welsh combined for 30 points, and junior Tori Pearson scored a solo 15 points. The team as a whole finished with 35 rebounds and 4 steals.

Centennial outscored Atholton in every quarter except the second, and led by just two points at halftime. The girls came out hot in the second half, scoring 21 points in the third quarter alone. Centennial did not let up as they defeated Atholton by 15 points.

Unfortunately, the boys had an off night. Despite leading after the first and second quarters, Centennial struggled to defend Atholton in the second half.

Player of the week, junior Bryson Baker, was held to just four points. The Eagles’ shooting struggles persisted as the second half continued. 

Although Centennial had trouble offensively, senior Joey Sedlacko finished with a team-high 18 points. The number one team in the county lost just their fourth game of the season to Atholton. 

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Centennial Welcomes Seven New Alumni into the CHS Athletics Hall of Fame

Words: Shawn Kruhm

Photos: Eliza Andrew

On Friday, February 7, Centennial High School recognized five athletes and two coaches for their accomplishments in sports. The hall of fame class of 2020 included student athletes Caitlin Burr, Connor Flach, Molly Speicher, Jonathan Stumpf, Anthony Tinnirella, and coaches Chad Hollwedel and Bill Stara. Along with the seven new inductees, Centennial honored Bobby Van Allen, a member of the 2018 class, as he could not make it to the induction in previous years. 

The class is nominated by athletic coaches at Centennial and then further considered by a higher committee. 

The hall of fame ceremony was held in the gym following the girls’ Varsity basketball game, and just prior to the boys’ game. 

Due to his astonishing coaching career and the countless relationships he has created with students while teaching at Centennial, Hollwedel received an overwhelming response from the audience.

“It certainly means a lot to me,” said Hollwedel. “If you look at the other coaches and the level of just this class alone, this class was a very accomplished class.”

Hollwedel coached at Centennial for over two decades. He coached football for 14 years and basketball for a whopping 22 years. He specialized in the offensive line and was part of the 2006 coaching staff that won a school-high record of eight games. 

Hollwedel won 193 total games in his 12 year career as Varsity head coach of the boys’ basketball program, averaging 16 wins per season. Varsity boys’ basketball had 10 consecutive winning seasons and reached the regional championship five times under his coaching. He coached during the 2015 season when the boys basketball program won their first and only state championship. Hollwedel has received countless coaching awards and holds the highest playoff winning percentage among any coach for Howard County boys’ basketball. 

“For me, I think I have always tried to do things with the interest of the community in mind,” said Hollwedel. “With that said, I think it’s a very nice recognition for the time and energy put into that.”

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