Tag: Delanie Tucker

Journalism 2020 Farewell

Words: Delanie Tucker 

When I started thinking of the possibility that I could become the Editor-In-Chief of the Centennial High School Wingspan, this is not quite how I imagined my take-over would go. When I had my take-over as Managing Editor at the end of my sophomore year, I learned everything I could about what that issue entails, because I wanted to make sure that it could be perfect the next year. While I wasn’t certain at the time that I would become Editor-In-Chief, I was hopeful and wanted to be prepared.

Now, a year after my take-over as Managing Editor, I earned the title of EIC of the Wingspan, but I didn’t get my perfect Takeover Issue. Furthermore, I didn’t get a final 2019-20 publication at all because of COVID-19. The situation I was put in was not something I could have prepared myself for, but it surely made my first months in my new position interesting.

We knew as soon as we wrapped up our Senior Issue and the seniors graduated that a Takeover Issue would not be possible, due to problems accessing the necessary technology and a simple lack of manpower. Because we didn’t get the traditional ending to our school year, all efforts were put towards making everything we published online top quality. The twelve of us, yes only twelve, really came together and knew that it would take a little more dedication to keep the flow of articles as consistent as it was with a full team. I’m happy to say that they did not disappoint.

Every single member of the team really stepped up in the absence of the seniors and took on responsibilities that they hadn’t been prepared for. Whether it be writing an article in half the time they would normally have to, editing someone else’s piece, or being on stand-by at all times to make sure that the articles can be published on our website, everyone was up for the challenge. 

In the past three years that I’ve been a member of this team, we’ve never been short on staff. That being said, I don’t think there could’ve been a better team, no matter the numbers, to make my take-over as smooth as it was. I’d like to say it was my amazing leadership skills that made what we did possible, but that’d be a lie. It was the unwavering dedication that every single member of this team had until the very last day that we could publish.

On the first day of my freshman year, and every year after that, our beloved teacher Rus Vanwestervelt (VW) talked about the names on the walls. Signatures of former members of the Wingspan. As a freshman, I didn’t think much of it. They weren’t people that I knew, so they weren’t incredibly interesting to me. As I heard his speech again and again, and as I moved up the ranks of the Wingspan, I started to understand. The legacy we leave behind is important, and it’s something that you want to be remembered for. Not everyone is going to understand why we still write, because some think that journalism is old fashioned, but these are stories that have to be told. It’s our goal to write that story that will get recognition in other counties, or even other states. We want to write the story that people remember, because that’s the legacy. More than that, we want to expand on what those before us did. They built this publication, and it’s only fair that we try our hardest to continue what they worked so hard on. It’s their legacy that pushes us to be our best, and I hope that the legacy of this team and the uncertain times that we overcame will push the next class, and every class after them, to do their best. And I hope their best is even better than ours.

The ending of this year is bittersweet. It’s always nice when another year of school comes to a close. This year, though, the Wingspan is saying goodbye to VW. He has been the biggest supporter of everything that the members of the Wingspan do, and he’s always let us have free reign. He’s in charge, but so are we. That’s the best part about his style of running the publication, because he trusts us whole-heartedly to get everything done right, but he’s still there when we need help. It’s sad to see him go, because he has believed in me since my very first day, but I’m confident that we’ll honor his legacy, and when his name goes on that wall, because I’m going to make him sign it, people will know what he did for this publication. 

Regardless of all the amazing things VW has done, I’m excited to see what next year’s teacher, Lauren Mancini, will add to the team. I’ve met with her once over a Google Meet call, and if VW has to go, I’m glad it’s her taking his place.

Next year is still a mystery. There’s no way to know right now if we’ll be in a real classroom or not, but there’s one thing I do know. This team won’t slow down. When school starts back up, the Wingspan will continue to write and to publish, even if there’s only twelve of us. If we have newcomers, then I’ll tell them the stories of the names on the walls and we’ll go from there.


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

Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation

Words: Delanie Tucker

On Thursday, June 4, the Centennial High School class of 2020 officially said goodbye to the last four years of their lives. While the seniors couldn’t have a traditional graduation ceremony because of COVID-19, they were still able to experience some formal closure to their last year of high school in the form of a virtual graduation.

The virtual graduation was brought to them in their own homes through a video that included speeches from Centennial students and staff along with the names and video clips of each graduating student. To kick things off, a Processional was played, followed by the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Individual recordings of members of the Centennial Madrigals singing the National Anthem were edited together to create the sound of one singular choir.

Jack McGowan and Regina Wang each gave speeches at the beginning of the ceremony, McGowan to introduce program participants and Wang as Centennial’s student speaker. In her speech, Wang took the opportunity to encourage and support her fellow classmates and hale them for the difficulties they overcame in the final months of their senior year.

“During these uncertain times, we became more adaptable. We taught ourselves to navigate through classes online [and] celebrated each other’s post-secondary plans on instagram…” Wang said. “This pandemic neither defined nor defeated us. Rather, it united us and highlighted fundamental morals and values that we will carry with us throughout our lives.”

Others who spoke during the ceremony were Thomas Wheeler, Centennial English teacher and the CHS Senior Teacher of the Year; Cynthia Dillon, Centennial’s principal; Calvin Ball, Howard County Executive; Kevin Frazier, Hammond High School graduate; Sabina Taj, a member of the Howard County Board of Education; and Michael Martirano, HCPSS Superintendent. 

Now that their year is officially over, seniors have shared their opinions on the final months of their senior year, as well as on how it was wrapped up.

“[Distance Learning] was the best substitute for regular teaching,” said Pravas Dhakal. “It was nice to see my teachers and classmates, even if it was through a screen.”

Stephanie Lee, another 2020 graduate, believes that online schooling made it hard to stay focused, and amplified their already obvious “senioritis.”

“I think online school most definitely facilitated slacking,” Lee stated. “But it did make me miss actual school.”

As for the graduation, opinions differed.

Some students, while not totally disappointed, wish that they got more of an ending to such an important part of their lives.

“I wish we had a chance to say goodbye,” Garrick Agbortarh admitted. “It just feels like we were robbed, in a way.”

Agbortarh understands why a traditional graduation could not be held, but he wishes that  seniors were given something more than a video. 

“Maybe we could have had an in person graduation on the school field,” suggested Agbortarh. “Everyone could stay six feet apart with masks.”

Others, like Lee, thought the virtual ceremony was a nice way to end things, considering the circumstances.

“Although we didn’t get a proper ending to our high school years like we wished, I think our graduation was a cute and sweet farewell.”

Centennial teachers and administration recognize the struggles that the seniors went through, and applaud them for overcoming and making the best of a bad situation. 

Wheeler, in particular, had a very personal message for the seniors. His time at Centennial began when this graduation class was in their freshman year, and now, because of redistricting, he will leave with them, as well. 

Despite his departure, Wheeler is thankful for the time he got to spend at Centennial, and for all the students he was able to work with.

“Congratulations to the resilient class of 2020,” Wheeler expressed in his speech. “You’ve done us all proud and it was a sincere privilege to be a small part of your journey thus far.”

Dillon’s speech was also quite personal and heartfelt. Her message to her seniors held a lot of emotions, and even made her tear up towards the end.

“I put my faith in knowing, as you step out into the world, viewing the undercurrent of circumstances we are currently swimming against, that you will find a way to celebrate what is right and to make the world a better place than it is in this very moment.”

Her final wish for this class is that she will get to see them again when the world allows it.

“When the moment arrives when we can safely come together again, it is my sincerest wish that you will come back to us,” Dillon admitted. “I look forward to the day when we can celebrate together, in person, with great anticipation. Sharing a moment with you again is something that I would like ever so much.”

To watch the full ceremony, visit hcpss.org


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

One-on-One with Editor-in-Chief: Piper Berry 2019-20

Video by: Julia Stitely

As the year comes to a close, Delanie Tucker, the next Editor-in-Chief of the Wingspan, interviews Piper Berry over Zoom about her experience as Editor-in-Chief during the 2019-20 school year.

Click here to view the video!


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

Centennial Wrestling Celebrates Senior Night

Words: Joey Sedlacko

Photos: Delanie Tucker & Noorie Kazmi

On Thursday, February 6, the Centennial wrestling team honored five senior wrestlers during the match versus rival Mount Hebron High School. Yusuf Mehboob, Siddharth Dudla, Yash Joon, Young Han, and Usman Sabir were all honored for their commitment and dedication to the wrestling program. Unfortunately, the Eagles lost the match by a score of 40-27.

Last week,  Centennial faced off against numerous county opponents. On January 30, Centennial defeated Reservoir High School 42-36. In their next match on February 1, the team competed in a tri-meet with Glenelg High School and Howard High School. The Eagles lost versus Glenelg 58-15, but Centennial bounced back with a 39-30 win against Howard.

In the match leading up to senior night, Centennial competed against Carver Vocational-Technical High School. The Eagles suffered a close loss by two points.

Now that the regular season has ended, the wrestlers will represent the Eagles at the county championships.


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

The Vaping Trap: “It will most definitely ruin your life.”

Words & Photo: Delanie Tucker

“I think [vapes] are way too easy for teenagers to get. I think teenagers are uneducated on how dangerous [vaping] is. I think the flavors do cater to a younger crowd. And I think [teens] have a misnomer that it’s safe,” said Marc Carneal, Centennial’s Student Resource Officer.       

In today’s society, teen vaping has almost become normalized. Someone sees a high school student carrying around an e-cigarette, which will more often than not be a Juul, and they hardly bat an eye.

Centennial High School students do not stray from this pattern, leading to continuous administrative efforts to curb the issue of vaping in school.

Centennial’s principal, Cynthia Dillon, sent out a newsletter last year on September 21, 2018, informing the Centennial community of her concerns and what they can do to help fix it.       

“I am concerned about this growing epidemic of use and abuse by kids in our community,” Dillon stated in the letter. “Juuling, which is essentially the same as vaping only with a different device, is on the rise nationally.”       

Dillon is not the only Centennial administrator that has a strong opinion on the matter.   

“I think [the vaping problem within Centennial] is very serious,” said Cameron Rahnama, Assistant Principal. “[Vapes] are a lot easier to conceal than cigarettes… so kids think they can get away with it easier.”       

Most teenagers are convinced that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking. Some even start vaping because it is marketed as less harmful in comparison to smoking cigarettes, so they don’t think it will hurt them.           

These minors are under the impression that there is less nicotine and other harmful substances in a Juul than in a standard cigarette, but that’s not true.           

A single Juul pod contains around 45mg of nicotine, while a cigarette contains only 12mg. Juuls have the highest nicotine levels when compared to other e-cigarettes. The National Center for Health Research stated that the e-liquid in a Juul pod is 5 percent nicotine, which is staggeringly high considering the liquid in a Blu e-cig, another type of e-cigarette, is only 2.4 percent nicotine.       

A common argument in defense of e-cigarettes is that only water vapor is inhaled, but what is actually being breathed in is called an aerosol. An aerosol is a gas made up of liquid particles that contain many toxic chemicals, which are created when the e-juice is heated up.   

“The aerosol produced by vaping or juuling is inhaled deep into the lungs,” according to The Vape Experiment , an article published by the Maryland Department of Health. “Studies have found that inhaling these chemicals can lead to asthma, inflammation, and even make it permanently harder to breathe.”       

The major chemicals found in the aerosol are propylene glycol, glycerol, lead, acetone, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, tin, nickel, nicotine, propenal, diacetin, and triacitine, none of which belong in your lungs.       

Teenagers’ willingness to overlook all of these statistics, which are publicly displayed with the intent of keeping minors from vaping, is leading to serious lung infections and, in some cases, death. In the past year alone there have been six recorded deaths caused by vaping-induced lung infections in the United States.   

Fortunately, not all cases have been fatal.   

“We have… seen at least 15 cases in Maryland and 380 across the country where individuals have been hospitalized with lung diseases associated with vaping,” Robert R. Neall, the Health Secretary for the MDH, said in an e-mailed statement, referring to statistics that were current as of September 10.       

Those that vape like to push aside the idea of something like this occurring. Being put in the hospital because of vaping is not something people consider often because they don’t think that it will happen to them, but that’s not always true.           

The possibility of falling ill should be a lot more obvious in Howard County now since, although we haven’t seen any local deaths, there has been a serious vaping issue very close to home.   

A Centennial student, 18-year-old junior Nafees Basharat, was hospitalized with a lung infection and pneumonia.   

“[The doctors] had to send a camera down my throat and vacuum up all the liquid in my lungs,” stated Basharat on his time in the hospital.   

The experience drastically changed his life, as the time spent in a hospital bed opened his eyes to the damage vaping was doing to his body.   

“Vaping was the worst decision of my life and it was really hard to stop until I was hospitalized. Before that, I wasn’t really aware of the problems and the health risks that came with [vaping],” Basharat explained. “[Vaping] can harm you. It can kill you. And it will most definitely ruin your life.”   

As a result of all of the hospitalizations and deaths in America, the government has taken action to prevent the use of e-cigarettes by minors and young adults.

Locally, after adding e-cigarettes to the list of tobacco products, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed off on a bill that changed the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, which went into effect on October 1, 2019.   

This bill was created in an effort to decrease the chances of minors getting a hold of the devices but there are, as always, people willing to sell to underage kids off the record.           

Now, in an attempt to prevent any more minors from vaping, President Trump is moving to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods.       

It has been speculated that the sale of those flavors, such as mint and mango, is done with the intent of making the products more appealing to younger buyers.   

A potential problem with this proposed law is due to the high demand for flavored pods. There is a chance that people might start making their own and selling them. This could lead to further, and potentially more dangerous, health hazards, as most people wouldn’t know how to properly make one.   

Officer Carneal does not believe that the new law will have any effect on underage vaping.

“I think no matter what, someone will buy it for them.”


To view the entire November issue, click here!

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

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.”


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.


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.