Tag: Delanie Tucker

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.

Boys Basketball Loses to Reservoir, 56-54

Words: Emily Hollwedel

Photos: Delanie Tucker

On February 12, the Centennial Boys’ Varsity Basketball team took on Reservoir High School. It was also the team’s Senior Night. After the seniors from the drill team and basketball team walked onto the court and took photos, the game began.

At the tip-off, Centennial struggled to make shots and stand their ground to keep the ball in play. Four fouls were given to both teams, and the first quarter concluded with Reservoir in the lead, with a score of 13-8.

Second quarter was more of the same, but Centennial managed to score more points after a time out that allowed them to pick up speed. A boost of motivation came along with an impressive steal from Centennial to make a basket. The quarter finished 25-17, and Reservoir was still ahead.

The rise and fall of energy kept the third quarter score rather steady. Eventually, the points climbed up to 41-31, and Reservoir remained in the lead.

The Eagles kept up the fight in the fourth quarter. Several fouls shots allowed the Eagles to catch up with two minutes left, and a timeout helped the team greatly. Several impressive three-pointers set up an opportunity for the win, but in the end, the game finished with a final score of 56-54.

Centennial will take on the Lions at Howard High School on Thursday at 5:30pm.

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

Office of Environment Takes Action

Words: Delanie Tucker

In early November of 2018, Centennial High School’s water was tested for lead. The tests revealed that 10 of 58 samples taken held levels above the Action Level of 20 parts per billion (ppb).

After a second look at each impacted fixture, the Howard County School Board Office of Environment determined what will be done to bring the lead levels below 20 ppb.

For 8 of the 10 water sources, the Board determined that the fixtures themselves will be replaced, as the pipes are not the source of the lead.

For the other two fixtures, a sink and a water fountain, the Office of Environment has decided to get rid of them, rather than replace them.

The water fountain, which is in the World Language planning room, is too small for most Centennial faculty to use, due to the room previously being used for Child Care and Development.

The sink is in the science and math planning room, which has another sink, so a second one is not needed.

None of the affected fixtures will be turned back on until the Office of Environment assures the water is safe.

“The fixtures are scheduled to be replaced and then retested,” Centennial Principal, Cynthia Dillon, commented. “Then we’ll know where we stand.”

 

For more information on the original tests, visit https://chswingspan.com/2019/01/22/office-of-environment-finds-unsafe-lead-levels-in-centennial-high-schools-water/.

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