Tag: Caroline Lawrence

What’s the Fuss over Class Ranks?

Words: Caroline Lawrence

At last- the miniature manila envelope that sits in your quivering hands contains the key to your dream school, your future. Two simple numbers that will determine your acceptance or rejection.

Or will they?

Seniors have been buzzing about class rank since its official release on Friday, but the hype is superficial.  While this list has been the subject of much planning and anticipation since freshman year, in reality, it will not have much bearing on anyone’s future.

One of the biggest concerns regarding class rank is that, by not attaining a certain level, a student has ruined all hopes of getting into his or her top choice college.  Fortunately, class rank is not by any means a make-or-break feature in an application.  First of all, every rank is relative.  Being in the top fifty percent, for instance, at Centennial means something different than being in the top fifty at another school in Howard County, which means something different than being in the top fifty at a high school across the country.  Colleges know this and take high schools’ reputations into account when evaluating applications.  Additionally, many schools boast of their holistic review approach, meaning they peruse every application looking for all the qualities that make their applicant an interesting person.

Even with holistic review, the application process creates a rank of its own.  Colleges will devise their own scale of desired GPAs based on the pool of applicants they receive, and a student’s position within his or her high school is not relevant unless it is exceptionally high or exceptionally low.  The majority of students who fall in the middle will not be strongly affected.  Besides, class rank is often naturally correlated with standardized testing scores and GPA independent of rank, so it is unlikely to stand out compared to other elements of the application.

Another common misconception is that a low class rank indicates a low likelihood of success in college and the professional world.  In fact, many would be surprised – and some dismayed – to know that your success in middle school is more relevant to your achievement in college than your high school GPA is (“The Forgotten Middle,” ACT.) This might be because your middle school grades are a better indication of your natural academic character – whether you are driven to achieve even when the stakes are relatively low, as they often are in undergraduate studies.

As you begin to apply to colleges, anxiously awaiting their responses, just remember: in the end, class rank is mere frippery decorating the substance of your application.  It is not an indication of your chances of getting in or of your future success.  What will matter is the person you show yourself to be.

SGA General Assembly

Words: Caroline Lawrence

The SGA General Assembly met on Friday, June 7, to discuss topics of interest for the upcoming school year.  After introducing the new executive board, including secretary Julia Zhen, who led the meeting, discussion centered around homecoming, Spirit Week, pep rallies, and General Assembly meetings and positions.

The first talking point was homecoming.  Zhen headed the group in a brainstorming session for possible themes for the October 12 dance.  Suggestions ranged from safari to disco, night in Paris to neon.  Some, inspired by the glitzy new release The Great Gatsby, pushed for a Roaring Twenties theme.

After scribbling down a list of ideas, conversation moved on to Spirit Week.  This school year, students had all been able to vote for their favorite days, but freshmen and sophomores shut out some of the traditional themes favored by upperclassmen, such as Decades Day.  The General Assembly debated the best system for choosing themes as it brainstormed selections.  All the typical Spirit Week ideas were tossed around- Pajama Day, Multiplicity Day, Wacky-tacky Day, Superhero Day- but some exciting new ones were brought up, too.  One that held everyone’s interest was Cancer Awareness Day, during which students could buy pink gear from the school to raise funds for research.  This seemed particularly fitting, given that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  People mainly talked around the ever-controversial topic of Color Day and tagging, because there was still so much to discuss and a debate on the issue would have scarfed valuable time.

Next, the General Assembly moved on to pep rallies.  A crucial part of the homecoming experience, pep rallies require hours of careful planning and practice.  When they are rained out, though, the SGA must move them indoors- never a popular decision.  At Friday’s meeting, the possibility of scheduling rain dates instead was suggested.

Finally, the General Assembly discussed its format for next year.  Unlike past years, appointed positions will now be decided at the beginning of the new year rather than the end of the old one.  The application process has not changed, though; it still involves a form and an interview.  Furthermore, to make sure that every group has a voice in the General Assembly, classes and clubs will be encouraged to elect representatives.  Meetings will be held on a standard day and time so that teachers will not schedule anything important that conflicts with the representatives’ attendance.

Winter Pep Rally

Words: Caroline Lawrence

Photos: Caitlin Martin

How best to boost school spirit?  The SGA and school administration chose to solve this problem by holding a pep rally on Friday, February 22.   In sixth period, underclassmen and upperclassmen were entertained in two separate shifts by the dance companies, jazz band, cheerleaders, and various clubs and sports teams.


SGA General Assembly


Ellicott City, MD – On February 1, 2013, the Student Government Association General Assembly met to discuss upcoming events. Directed by student body president Farhan Bader, a junior, topics included a spring pep rally and a third school dance.

First, students debated the best activities to rev up the spirit at the pep rally occurring on Friday, February 8. They agreed that a ping-pong match, a basketball game, and a few rounds of blanket races would rouse the crowd.

Next, they dealt with the tricky problem of the school dance. As vice principal Kevin Dorsey explained, a failure to improve student behavior could result in a loss of dances in the future. “We’re trying to change a culture,” he told the General Assembly. “You haven’t seen the girls crying in my office because, caught up in the pressure of the moment, they did things they wouldn’t have done otherwise.” With this in mind, the students proposed various solutions. Pep rallies, punishments, and alternative options were suggested, but none were agreed upon at that time.

Discussions will continue at the next meeting, whose date is yet to be decided.

Be sure to show your spirit and wear school colors to the pep rally on Friday.

Anti-Bullying Week: Day 4 (Caroline Lawrence )

Thursday of Anti-Bullying Week was comparatively low-key. As students finished their pennants, they watched a short video portraying a lonely red-haired child. The other characters laughed at his hair color, but were surprised the next day when one of their friends dyed his hair red and sat with the loner. The former friend smiled quietly as the others walked away in shock. As the scene faded out, it was replaced by a message to not be a bystander.

Anti-Bullying Week: Day 2 (Caroline Lawrence)

On Tuesday, second period was extended for a talk on cyber-bullying.  Introduced by former Centennial students Matt Hugel and Zachary Lederer, presenter Dr. Sameer Hinduja lectured a packed auditorium about Internet safety and smarts.  At the end, two yearbook students took pictures of Centennial “Zaching!”