Tag: Delanie Tucker

Cosining Off: Math Teacher Mr. Coe Retires

Words: Delanie Tucker

Photo: Eliza Andrew

For the past 37 years at Centennial High School, students have walked the halls, whispering about a certain class and how its teacher never fails to match his shoes to his outfit.

Math teacher Alan Coe is commonly known for his coordinating clothes, sarcasm, and, more often than not, strictness in the classroom.

It’s no secret that his class is harder than most, but at the end of the day, his students have nothing but positive things to say about their experiences in his class and, more specifically, their bittersweet feelings towards his retirement.

“While the material was rigorous and often confusing, Coe was always very dedicated to helping students understand the material,” junior Piper Berry commented. “He would always answer my millions of questions until I understood the concept.”

Berry had Coe for two years, and during that time he left quite the impression.

“Coe taught me that I am capable of way more than I think I am. He always encouraged me to try my best and keep going when I was stuck,” Berry stated. “Even when I would doubt myself he would push me to keep trying and believe I could do it instead of giving up.”

Sophomore Kiran Vepa said, “It was a hard class, sure, but nothing I couldn’t handle. It sucks that he’s leaving, though, because he made an impact on so many people and now no one else will get to experience that.”

Prior to working at Centennial, Coe studied at Buffalo State College in New York, majoring in teaching and minoring in mathematics.

Out of college, he did three years of teaching in Virginia and Southern Maryland, before settling in Howard County.

Centennial was a new environment for everyone involved, as it was a fairly new school, but Coe adjusted easily and enjoyed the spirited atmosphere the school upheld.

“In the first 15 or 20 years of being here there was a whole lot of school spirit, and it wasn’t just around the academics,” Coe stated. “It was a sports-oriented school. This school was huge in athletics.”

Another thing Coe has grown to admire about Centennial is what it teaches.

“[Centennial is] driven to make sure students are ready for everything that they are going to do,” Coe said. “Whether they go into college or go into a career, it really does try and get them ready for the next step.”

As for his own impact on Centennial, he believes he has done well to teach his students independence, and that they will carry that skill with them as they finish high school and move into college.

According to Coe, he taught them “to be able to think on their own. To not have to rely on someone else to tell them exactly what to do.”

While Alan Coe has been making a difference at Centennial for a long time, he is not the only one who will leave a lasting impact on the school. His daughter, Kayleigh Coe, is another Eagle who will be leaving at the end of this school year.

As a freshman at Centennial, Kayleigh was more out of the loop than most. She went to a middle school with kids that would go to Mount Hebron High School, which is where she would have gone had her father not been a teacher at CHS.

“At first, I was hesitant because I was leaving all my friends,” Coe stated. “However, I realized that I was going to have an opportunity to make new ones.”

Despite her unfamiliarity with her fellow classmates, the school itself was nothing new, as she “grew up here and scootered around the hallways.”

“I will definitely miss that once I graduate and my dad retires.”

Another thing Kayleigh will miss as she moves on to college is her English teacher, Sara Duran.

“[Duran] has taught me so much in the two years that I have had her,” Coe expressed. “She inspires me almost every day to try and never give up.”

Similarly, Duran expressed her feelings on having Kayleigh as a student, and how her presence in the classroom made a difference.

“Kayleigh was a very dedicated student and constantly came to class prepared,” Duran commented. “She was a pleasure to have in class both years and I know that my class would have been a completely different place had she not been there.”

Regardless of her father being a teacher, Coe’s academic success was due to her own motivation and determination to work hard in the classroom.

She explained that her parents never had to push her in school, and her father’s presence in the school hardly affected her work rate.

“I don’t think going to my dad’s school made me try harder,” Kayleigh Coe said. “I already try hard in all of my classes.”

Coe continued by saying, “My parents don’t really put any pressure on me with grades because I already put enough pressure on myself.”

This consistent work effort in school was awarded with an academic scholarship to West Virginia University.

Even though Alan Coe never really had to push his daughter, he was still there for her when she needed it.

“My dad has supported me through everything and I’m so lucky to have him,” Kayleigh Coe commented.

Alan Coe also said a few words about his daughter, explaining that in her years at Centennial he did, in fact, teach her.

“I taught her for only one year.”

And that she did teach him a thing or two.

“[Kayleigh taught me] patience,” Alan Coe laughed.

In their time at Centennial, both Coes will leave an impact on the people and place around them, one that will stick, even after they’re gone.

Likewise, Centennial, whether it be the people or the place itself, is leaving a lasting impression on the pair, teaching lessons that may not have been learned otherwise.

Kayleigh Coe, in particular, said that she’ll do well to remember what she learned as she moves out of high school and into the real world.

“One thing I’ve learned [at Centennial] is that no matter how hard things are at the time, you will always come out on the other side.”

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

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

Students Show Their School Pride in Last Days of Spirit Week

Words: Ellie Zoller-Gritz

Photos: Delanie Tucker

As spirit week came to a close last week, students showed their spirit on Thursday by dressing up for Decades Day. Seniors dressed in 70s attire, juniors in 80s, sophomores in 90s, and freshmen in 00s.

On Friday, Centennial students wore their class color. The freshmen dressed in black, the sophomores in blue, the juniors in white, and the seniors in red.

The conclusion to spirit week gave students an opportunity to show their school spirit before attending prom on Saturday.

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

Howard County Releases Updated Reports on Lead in Water

Words: Delanie Tucker

The Howard County School System has released updates regarding lead levels in the water of schools across the county, including Centennial High School.

Since September 2018, the HCPSS Office of Environment has tested the water in all Howard County schools for lead.

In Centennial’s initial testing, which was done in November 2018, ten water sources tested positive for lead levels above 20 parts per billion (ppb).

The board quickly took action, assessing the problems within the fixtures and deciding how to proceed.

On January 31, 2019, Centennial High School released their first two reports, which laid out the remedial action taken against two of the affected outlets.

An additional six reports were released on March 27.

Of the eight faucets the county fixed to improve the lead levels, four of them were replaced, as the outlet itself was the cause of the lead.

For the other four, more drastic measures were taken, including three being totally removed from the water system in Centennial.

The last outlet was left alone due to the levels dropping to 5.3 ppb and 1.7 ppb in separate additional tests.

The HCPSS Office of Environment is still working to fix the remaining two water outlets, which, as of now, are not in use.

For previous coverage of the lead levels in the water at Centennial High School, click here 

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

How Many APs Are Too Many?

Words: Celina Wong

Photos: Delanie Tucker

Although it feels early, students are preparing their schedules for the next school year. Many students opt to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which prepare them for the notorious AP tests in the first weeks of May. Centennial offers a wide variety of these courses ranging from AP Comparative Government and Politics to AP Chinese IV Language and Culture. Even though these courses allow for students to skip some general education classes in college, AP courses teach at a faster pace and hold its students to a much higher standard. AP classes are highly coveted, but the question is: how many is too many?

Senior Binderiya Undrakhbold has taken 11 AP classes throughout her four years at Centennial. Through her experience, she doesn’t think there is a set number of APs a student should take.

“If you enjoy pushing yourself and have an interest in a lot of different things, I think students should be able to take as many as they want,” Undrakhbold said.

However, Undrakhbold does believe there is a direct correlation between the AP workload and home life.

“At Centennial, AP Chemistry and AP Calculus BC are two of the hardest classes offered,” Undrakhbold explained. “Students definitely need to put in their own time and hard work to succeed in those classes because at the end of the day, they are college-level courses.”

Undrakhbold proposes that students should not base their course registration on their peers; rather, they should choose the ones that spark interest.

“Take AP classes that you feel the most interested in. Take classes that you know you will enjoy, not just because everyone around you is,” Undrakhbold advised. “I currently take AP Human Geography and I love the documentaries we watch in class and I’m really glad I’m taking it.”

Undrakhbold suggests that students should branch out and find different study methods when preparing for these classes.

“I think students should experiment in different ways of studying,” Undrakhbold stated. “A lot of us think and feel that there is only one way of studying, which is reading the textbooks, taking notes, and memorizing it. But, there are so many other efficient ways to retain information and prepare for tests.”

Jennifer McKechnie, the Intermediate Team Leader (ITL) of student services at Centennial High School, has a similar point of view to Undrakhbold about the number of AP classes a student should take.

“I would say it really depends on the student,” McKechnie said. “Every student is unique and every student is going to have their individual needs based on what they are interested in, what they are good at, and what their career goals are. I don’t think there is one set model or one set number.”

McKechnie detailed a few benefits of taking these higher level courses.

Sophomore Kiran Vepa plans on taking six AP courses next year.

“I think [AP classes] prepare students for collegiate level work and the rigor that is expected at the college level. Students are also getting exposure and the chance to explore that topic in an in-depth level,” McKechnie explained.

While the academic benefits are great, there is a great deal of stress attached to these courses.

“The stress comes in when a student is taking multiple, or way too many AP classes,” McKechnie stated. “[To limit stress], one of the things we can do is connect students with tutors. We can also look at how overwhelming the classes may be. If it is towards the beginning of the school year, we look at reducing the workload by, maybe, going down to an honors level class.”

According to McKechnie, students should not feel obligated to take AP level courses because it is the norm, or to fit in with their friends and classmates.

“I think there is a lot of pressure in this building to take everything at an AP or [gifted and talented] level, so we want to explain to students ‘It’s okay, you don’t have to do everything at an AP level,’” McKechnie added. “Do the classes you are good at, and the ones that you love, at a higher level. You don’t have to do everything.”

McKechnie also mentioned that AP classes are not mandatory and that students can still be successful without them.

“Kids get into Harvard and really good colleges without having several AP classes on their transcripts,” McKechnie said.

McKechnie provided some advice to help these students avoid stress and to become more well-rounded.

“I think students should have something outside of academics, so they are not overtaxed with a lot of APs,” McKechnie shared. “Students should give themselves time to participate in other things like clubs and sports because colleges will look at that as well.”

Ellen Mauser, another guidance counselor at Centennial High School, detailed what she thinks is essential in order to maintain a healthy school life.

“I’ve been stressing balance [to students]. I think that is key for student well-being,” Mauser added. “If they can find balance within their schedule, they have less of a chance to be anxious and stressed.”

Advanced Placement classes have their pros and cons. Although APs can prepare students for the college world and allow incoming freshmen to jump into their desired majors, they can potentially cause more stress and impact the work and school balance. Because there is not one set number of APs someone should take, students can experiment in different courses to see where their interests lie and even consider taking certain classes at a higher level. The question may not be, “how many APs is too many?” rather: “what is the right amount for me?”

To read this article in the March print issue click here.

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

Centennial Boys’ Basketball Dominates in Last Game of the Season

Words: Delanie Tucker

Photos: Jenna Marie Torres

On Monday, February 26, Centennials Boys’ Varsity basketball team played Wilde Lake High School in their last regular season game of the 2018-19 season.

To start off the game, the Eagles took an 8-point lead in the first quarter.

While the Wildcats were able to even that scoreline, Centennial managed to gain back a 2-point lead, ending the first quarter at 10-8.

The Eagles played a very defensively strong game in the second quarter, only conceding 5 points.

The score at halftime was 20-13.

After halftime, the Eagles returned to the court with a more offensive mindset, scoring 17 points in just the third quarter. To top off Centennial’s incredible performance, 4 of their players scored double-digits throughout the game.

These four players were Joey Sedlacko (10), Stafford Smith (10), Michael Kefyalew (13), and Ryan Hollwedel (12).

The final score was 60-46.

“It was a really good team effort,” Sedlacko, junior forward, commented.

The win against Wilde Lake, who is ranked second in county, will give the boys good momentum going into playoffs.

Their first playoff game will be on Monday, March 4, against Reservoir High School.

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

Centennial Security Alerts Students and Faculty of Recent Car Break-ins

Words: Delanie Tucker

Centennial’s security staff sent out a warning email to all faculty today, February 15, highlighting the importance of locking car doors during the school day.

According to the email, people of high school age are milling the parking lot looking for unlocked cars.

Student Resource Officer Marc Carneal, said that once an open car is found, the individuals proceed to search through the car, taking any cash they can find.

“They’re not actually breaking windows,” stated Mike Guizzotti, on-site Security Guard. “They’re just going around and trying different [car] doors.”

While no positive identification has been made, a description of the subjects’ car has been released. It has been described as an “older model Toyota Camry, gold in color, missing the passenger front hub cap, sticker on the right side of the trunk,” according to the email.

Carneal advises staff members to “keep an eye out for any suspicious subjects or vehicles in [Centennial’s] lot.”

Guizzotti extended the warning to students as well, notioning that they, too, should be cautious about leaving their cars unlocked.

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