Tag: Ellie Zoller-Gritz

Teens in Essential Work

Words: Ellie Zoller-Gritz

Photos Contributed By: Julia Stitely, Noorie Kazmi and Kheira Tuck

Every rule comes with an exception. During a nationwide time of panic, there has been a select group of people who have continued to work, despite stay at home orders. These essential workers are allowed to continue at their jobs if their line of work is deemed necessary enough. However, many of these essential workers are teenagers.

As an essential worker, a teen could work at a restaurant open for delivery or takeout, a gas station, retirement home, or any other business that remains open. 

Lutheran Village at Miller’s Grant is a retirement home in Ellicott City, one that employs several Centennial High School students. These employees are considered health care workers, and are tasked with protecting the residents of Miller’s Grant from COVID-19. It is vital that they are very careful to not come in contact with anyone who could be carrying the virus, as the elders they work around would be extremely high-risk if they were to contract it.

To further ensure the safety of the residents, the staff is required to get temperature checks upon arrival at work, to wear masks during shifts, to fill out a mandatory questionnaire, and to practice basic procedures like social distancing and hand washing.

Since their working conditions have changed, teenagers now have the responsibility of being the frontline of defense against the virus, while also balancing distance learning and their own personal health.

The staff’s jobs have changed from serving in dining halls to delivering food and groceries to residents at their homes and apartments. They are also doing activities such as noodle ball, painting, trivia, games, and more with the assisted living and health care unit. The residents in these units are not allowed to have visitors until further notice.

Kheira Tuck, a senior at Wilde Lake, has been working at Miller’s Grant in these trying times. 

“[Residents] cherish every single interaction they have,” said Tuck. Even though the residents must stay six feet away, they still enjoy seeing other residents and staff from their balconies and when they pass by their apartments.

Teenagers who work at grocery stores are also powering through the stress that COVID-19 has brought with bulk buying and overstocking.

“In the morning, the store is usually crowded with people stocking up on whatever had been announced online to be scarce the day before,” explained Mia Zara Bridges, a senior at Centennial who works at sprouts.

Although some people are understanding towards the employees, she still wants customers to realize that she doesn’t have control over supply amounts, and becoming frustrated will not solve the problem. 

Despite the need for these essential workers, some teenagers have been pulled from work by parents, due to school and other reasons. By staying home, these teenagers are still doing their part to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.

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Visitors From Korea

Words: Mariam Abd El-Shafy

Photos: Ellie Zoller-Gritz

Video by: Alexandra Valerio

On Tuesday, January 14, 12 students from Korea visited Centennial High School to experience the American school system.

Centennial has a very strong relationship with foreign exchange agencies; it has accepted many different guests from all around the world seeking cultural enrichment.

These students are attendees of the Kyeongbuk Science High School in Pohang, South Korea. For most of them, it was their first time visiting the country. Kim Tae-Hyung, a senior at his school, says although they’ve only been here for a short time, he is “very excited to be here.”

Staying for the ten days of their winter break, these students visited Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Montgomery County before they came to Centennial. For the next few days they will be joining the Johns Hopkins Cognitive Psychology Research Program before leaving for New York and Boston.

Jihyang Cheon, a senior exchange student says, “I really like it here.” She is learning a lot about the American public school system through the many differences.
“We stay in our own classroom, and the teachers come… we also stay in a dormitory,” she says.

Cheon explains that through this experience of visiting Centennial and other American schools, she is hoping to learn more about the culture before applying to American colleges. “This [trip] is to learn about the science programs here, but my big goal in America is to attend MIT.”

The students say they have been given a great opportunity and are very excited to see what it leads to.

Click here to view a video of the students visiting Centennial!

 

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Track and Field Breaks Records At Hispanic Games in New York

Words: Ellie Zoller-Gritz

Photo Contributed by: Jess Staar

On January 3, Centennial High School’s girls’ and boys’ indoor track and field teams traveled to New York to compete in the U.S. Air Force Hispanic Games.

Overall, Coach Kevin McCoy estimates that his team broke three of the recorded school records.

According to Athletic.net, which maintains records from the last 25 years, Thomas Altman, Jake Muma, Tyler Dan, and Ian Maclver now hold the record for the fastest 4×400 relay with a time of 3:32.11. They won first place at the Hispanic Games and beat the previous school record of 3:37.67, established in 2018.

Coach McCoy stated, “I think that [record] is the overall school record… I’d be shocked if anybody in previous years had run faster than 3:32.”

Senior Thomas Altman moved to first place in the 400 meter race, with a time of 50.11. “I worked extremely hard the last year and a half to get to where I am right now,” explained Altman, who took home two gold medals at the Hispanic Games.

Another record was broken in the boys 4×200 relay. Dan, Maclver, Altman, and Zachary Garwacki, beat the previous record by 4.43 seconds, with a time of 1:33.92.

Several other athletes were also able to represent Centennial in the games, taking home gold in their own event. Liv Ragonese placed first in the girls sophomore shot put, throwing 9.86m. Senior Anthony Matthews placed first in the boys triple jump, jumping 12.96m, just shy of the current Centennial record, which he holds.

“Track and field [is] really cut and dry. It’s really easy to figure out who’s at what level… Track is the most transparent sport in the world, time never lies,” Coach McCoy said about his team’s performance against other Howard County teams.

On January 14, the Centennial team will be participating in the county championship meet. Following counties, the team will move on to regionals, and if the team qualifies, they will move on to the state meet.

“My goal for the rest of the season is to take first place in counties for the 500 and the 4×400 and potentially do the exact same thing at both regionals and states,” Altman commented.

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Centennial Cross Country Teams Look to Capture State Titles

Words: Jeramy Stavlas

Photo: Ellie Zoller-Gritz

Starting the season ranked as the 40th best cross country team in Milesplit Maryland’s annual pre-season rankings, Centennial’s boys’ team had clearly taken a step back from last year. With six of seven Varsity runners graduating, the 2018 division 3A state champion Eagles were supposed to have a rebuilding year. Coaches Kevin McCoy and Robert Slopek had a different mindset, however. Along with their competitive nature, they found a way to shape the team into a real contender for a back-to-back 3A state title.

The Eagles placed second at the county championship, with only River Hill High School beating them. River Hill is favored to win the state title according to season statistics and Milesplit Maryland’s current rankings, but Centennial’s scores have been closing in on River Hill every race this season as they look to capture a second straight state title.

Led by juniors Jake Cole and Andrew Bank, along with freshman Antonio Camacho, the Eagles have exceeded all expectations through hard work and dedication, according to Bank. Through an intense training plan, the Varsity team’s race times have improved by an average of 58 seconds since early September. 

Bank, who missed the majority of last season with an injury, was overlooked in team and individual rankings and has helped turn Centennial into a serious threat for the state championship.

“I’m coming in and running times that no one expected. It’s really great to have that happen to us and I’m looking forward to a nice and bright future for our team,” Bank said.

Cole finished third overall in the county championship, with Camacho and Bank placing 10th and 11th, respectively.

The girls’ team is also looking to bring home another state title, recently placing second in the county championship behind Howard High School. 

The boys’ and girls’ teams will go on to race in the regional championship on Thursday, October 31 at Centennial High School. The girls will race at 2:30 followed by the boys’ race at 3:30. 

Coach McCoy and Slopek have high expectations for the team in their last two races.

“We’re going to run as hard and best as we can and if we do that, everything else takes care of itself,” said McCoy. 

With the team reaching their fastest point with the season on the line, Slopek added, “I think we’re peaking at the right time.” 

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2023 Eagles Visit the Nest

Words & Photos: Ellie Zoller-Gritz

On Wednesday, June 5, the incoming freshmen visited Centennial in preparation for next year. They participated in a tour and viewed performances from dance, band, choir, and the color guard. They also had a question and answer session with a student panel hosted by current 9th, 10th, and 11th graders.

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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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