Tag: Carl Perkins

Saying Goodbye – Dr. Perkins to Retire

Words: Shweta Maruvada

The months of May and June bring many changes to high schools. Seniors officially leaving, joy in having a few months away from the four walled building of school, and looking forward a new fresh start for a new school year. But the 2012-2013 school year will end in a much more drastic way.

Not only will those at Centennial High School have to say farewell to their seniors, but also to their Principal, Carl Perkins, who will be retiring from the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) after this school year.

Perkins has worked for HCPSS for the past 35 years. He was first a teacher at CHS, and then occupied the posts of assistant principal and principal at Oakland Mills Middle School, went on to the post of Principal at Folly Quarter Middle School, and then came to CHS as its Principal for the last five years.

These five years have been very special for Perkins. “It has been one of the most enriching and motivating, and challenging experiences at the same time I have ever had in my career. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the staff, students, and the community.”

The CHS teachers also feel the same way about their colleague. However, they are unable to grasp the situation that came so drastically. “It’s sad, and I am in denial – I don’t want to think about it,” said Andrea Covington.
Debbie Blake wishes Perkins a great future. “Thank you for all you have done for Centennial High School and the students. I hope you find a lot of happiness in your retirement years.”

Although some students at other schools may think of a principal as an unknown human being in charge of what they cannot do and might fear meeting him in the hallways, Perkins was another type of principal entirely. While on his frequent trips through the hallways, a smile and “good morning” or “good afternoon” could be heard for every person, be it student or colleague. His position was one that, unfortunately was not designed for too much interaction with the all of the students, but Perkins always made his best efforts to encourage learning while balancing it with positive school spirit for all the Centennial students.

A message from senior Larry Zhang to Dr. Perkins conveys his altruistic attitude towards the students and the unique experiences he offered to the students. “Well, Dr.Perkins, although I am sure we never got to know each other personally – but I am sure you have seen me around. The kid with a VCR as a belt? Oh you don’t remember that? How about the kid with the lamp? If not that, then maybe the boxer from the Martial Arts club? Anyhow, so what does stating these things about me have to do with your retirement you may ask – but alas! It has everything to do with it! Or rather I just want to say thanks – thanks for allowing me to go all out during spirit week and thanks for allowing me to create the Martial Arts club. I can say that I am satisfied leaving this school as a Senior this year, anyhow, good job”.

Junior Qian Mei also feels that Perkin’s work at Centennial far surpasses what any other Principal could have accomplished. “I feel that after all that Dr. Perkins has done to make sure the school’s standards stay at their highest, the next principal is definitely going to have to meet up to very high expectations.”

Perkins’s accomplishments for the CHS community are too great to be subjected to merely one article. No matter what his future entails for him, he will always have a special place at Centennial with the staff, students, and the wonderful memories and happiness he gave to the community.

Rattling the Handle: A First Person Account of Realizing the Importance of Drills

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Words: Miranda Mason

Photos: Caroline Oppenheimer

As a writer, I have always struggled with an overactive imagination, which is why I was one of the few people in my class who didn’t continue to laugh and chat as Dr. Perkins came onto the PA system to announce that a lockdown drill was now taking place.

Most of my peers treated this drill as time away from classwork, or as a boring nuisance that made them sit on the floor in the dark for no apparent reason. They moved sluggishly getting to the corner of the room, and their giggles didn’t die down even as our teacher gave them a whispered lecture.

I got up silently, my mind already visualizing what this situation would be like if this wasn’t a drill, if there actually was someone roving through our school looking to kill. I realized that this drill was more than what my classmates thought it to be, that it was a time to practice what to do if exactly what I was imagining occurred. With that thought in mind, I treated this lockdown as I would have if Dr. Perkins hadn’t added onto his speech, “this is a drill.”

There are many things to consider during something as terrifying as a school shooting, but what I focused on most while we practiced the lockdown was how I was going to react and what I would do to keep myself and my classmates safe.

DSC_0066I’ve been able to receive some instruction on what to do in the exact situation this drill was preparing me for, and during that instruction a question was directed to me: What are you willing to do to stay safe in a dangerous situation?

Having had time to think over my answer to that question, I did not hesitate to position myself close to the door when the lockdown took place—I had already decided that if hiding didn’t work I was willing to fight for both my life and my classmates’ lives.

Despite having the mechanical knowledge to defend against a shooter and the will to do so if it came to it, I was far from relaxed as I participated in the drill. Even with the knowledge that it was a drill, even with the knowledge on what to do if it wasn’t, there is something unnerving about sitting in the dark waiting for something to happen.

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The room wasn’t completely silent, the noise of kids shifting around and a pencil snapping prevented that, but the school as a whole was much quieter than usual. This lack of noise brought to attention how easy it is to hear someone moving through the school: the footsteps of the administration roaming the halls, a faint crackle of a radio, and most disturbing of all, the rattle of locked doors trying to be opened was audible.

My overactive imagination paired with my decision to treat the drill as if it was a real lockdown meant it wasn’t hard to imagine that those footsteps didn’t belong to an administrator but a shooter, and that the rattling of door handles meant thirty or so lives depended on a teacher remembering what to do during a lockdown and not whether that teacher would get a slap on the wrist for not following procedure.

This lockdown brought into sharp focus for me exactly what was on the line if someone dangerous was loose in our school, and it made me realize how important it is to practice for something we all hope will never happen. I was able to take this lockdown seriously, just as I was able to see the value in practicing it. I just hope that my classmates who didn’t realize the same thing will discover the importance of practicing locking the door when another drill takes place and not when it is someone besides an administrator who is rattling the handle.