Tag: HCPSS

High School Students to Participate in First Ever Howard County Student Exchange Day

Words: Sasha Allen and Emily Hollwedel

*Editor’s Note: April 1, 2019–This article has been modified to reflect the correct date of the second exchange, April 3. A previous version stated that it was April 4.*

About a year ago, Wilde Lake senior Rachel Henry was going about her usual day when she was struck with an idea.

I originally thought of the differences between specifically Wilde Lake and Glenelg,” Henry shared. “I would sit and look at race, [Free and Reduced Meals], and test score comparisons. They’re so drastically different that I don’t even know how it’s possible with a school only 20 minutes away. I sent an email to a few Board Members, and the principals of both Wilde Lake and Glenelg to see if I could go to Glenelg for a day.”

It wasn’t easy. Henry encountered some difficulties in trying to implement her idea. “It was immediately shot down by my principal, who was supportive but certain it was against policy,” recalled Henry. “A month or so later, I got a call in the front office from Cindy Drummond, advisor of Howard County Association of Student Councils, saying that the board latched on to my idea.”

The idea of the program is simple: students are given the chance to connect with new people and experience different schools in Howard County.

On Wednesday, March 27, participating Wilde Lake students will travel to Glenelg, and Long Reach students will go to Centennial. On April 3, participating Glenelg students will go to Wilde Lake, and Centennial students will go to Long Reach. On the days of the exchanges, the students will attend classes until fifth period, where they will meet with school liaisons and debrief.

Henry highlighted the differences between these schools, specifically between Wilde Lake and Glenelg. “When I see 46% African American, 25% white, and 13% Hispanic, in Wilde Lake’s stats, I think diverse. But when I look at Glenelg’s 76.2% white, and a number over 5% can’t even be conclusive for any other race but Asian, at 11%, I think of segregation.”

Henry is no stranger to being perceived as different from others.

My dad is black and my mom is white, and I honestly don’t know if places other than where I’ve gone are as accepting of that,” she said. “I am also a practicing Jew, so in that aspect I am also different.”

James LeMon, Director of Community, Parent, and School Outreach in Howard County, expressed his excitement for the program to be in place. He was vital in the implementation of Henry’s idea.

“I’m just excited that we are taking a student’s idea and we are going to make it happen,” LeMon stated. “I think it is a great opportunity for the kids to experience a day in the life of a different school, culture, get to meet some other students.”

As for the goals of the program, both Henry and LeMon hope the experience will unify the schools and students.

What I want for students, including myself, is to stop thinking of pre-conceived notions about schools in our own county,” shared Henry. “I go to Glenelg on Wednesday, and to be completely honest, I’m terrified. Four boys got arrested there last year for racist and anti-semitic graffiti. Being mixed, and Jewish, those hate crimes directly pertained to me.”

LeMon had a similar notion about the ideas that students in Howard County have about other schools.

Every school has a different culture, and I think the goal was just to experience the day in the life of another student in Howard County,” said LeMon.

Henry’s ideas are now in effect in not just her own school, but in multiple. She hopes that this can end up being a county-wide opportunity.

This group of 20 students who get to experience another school for the day are going to bring back this information to their schools and spread it,” said Henry. “I just hope lasting impressions are made, and people are truly in this experience to see what it’s like to be at different schools.”

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

Sara Duran is Named Centennial’s 2019 Teacher of the Year

Words: Javiera Diaz-Ortiz

Photos: Zach Grable

This morning, Teacher-of-the-Year nominees, along with seniors selected by them, gathered in the staff lounge for the first ever Teacher-of-the-Year Breakfast. At the breakfast, English teacher Sara Duran was named Centennial’s Teacher of the Year for 2019.

Following the announcement, Duran gladly accepted her award and flowers with a smile.

“I feel honored,” said Duran. “I was in shock, and I’m really thankful for the seniors who voted for me.”

Duran is in her seventh year of teaching at Centennial. She has also been the sponsor for Centennial’s National Honor Society, and she is currently an SAT coordinator. Being a multi-level English teacher has allowed Duran to watch some of the seniors grow.

“I do think that this is a phenomenal group of students, and they’re unlike any other class that I’ve taught before them,” Duran claimed. “So, it’s an extra special honor not to just be there as they graduate, but also to be part of their moving-on to the next step of their lives. And I know that they will all be really successful in whatever they do.”

Nominees present at the breakfast expressed their praise for Duran.

“[Duran] is a great person and a great teacher, and I’m happy for her. She’s so deserving,” said teacher of the year nominee Lauren Mancini.

Leading up to her win, Duran overcame some challenges, as all teachers do. She says that she has had to find a balance between rigor and fun, both for her students, and for herself as a teacher.

“That’s something that for me, took a little while to figure out, and weirdly, last year was the year that I was able to get that together,” said Duran.

With her title as Teacher of the Year, Duran will give a speech at graduation this May.

“It’s definitely a privilege, an honor, with this class especially.”

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.

Students Come Together for One Centennial Day

Words: Ellie Zoller-Gritz

Photos: Eliza Andrew

On Monday, January 28, Centennial High School hosted their second annual One Centennial Day.

During One Centennial Day, students came together to educate and encourage each other to be part of an inclusive environment.

As students entered the building they reported to their first period class to sign up for the workshop of their choice. Each workshop was designed to inform and help students become more involved members of the community.

Sophomores and seniors went to workshops for session one, while freshmen and juniors gathered in the auditorium for an assembly. After session one, the sophomores and seniors went to the assembly and the freshmen and juniors attended workshops.

Some of the workshops offered included School Spirit and Leadership Through Athletics.

The assembly was full of guest speakers, performers, and others who wanted to give a voice to an issue they feel affects the Centennial  community.

To conclude the day, everyone returned to their first period class to complete a survey on their experience with One Centennial.

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

Boys and Girls Cross Country Perform Exceptionally at County Championships

Words: Joey Sedlacko

Photos: Ellie Zoller-Gritz

On Wednesday afternoon, October 24, cross country runners throughout the county were ready to take on the hilly, three-mile course at Centennial High School for the Howard County Cross Country Championships.

The Centennial boys team ended up taking third place with a score of 86 points, and the Centennial girls team scored 61 points, earning them second place.

For the girls, seniors Cora Blount and Alison Betler and sophomore Katerina Talanova represented Centennial well in the Girls Varsity A Race, all finishing in the top ten. Blount finished fifth with a time of 19:32.23, while Betler placed sixth with a time of 19:36.79. Talanova came in ninth at 20:06.95.

The boys team had two finishers in the top ten of the Boys Varsity A Race.  Sophomore Jacob Cole placed eighth after finishing at 16:29.14, and senior Justin Ziegler finished ninth with a time of 16:33.88.

Both the boys and girls cross country team look to carry the momentum of their excellent performance at the counties to the 3A Regional Meet on November 1.

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

Howard County School Board Narrows Redistricting Options

Words: Delanie Tucker

The Howard County School Board is in the process of resolving the overpopulation of several Howard County schools.

In a recent Board Meeting on October 11, 2018, the board met for the second time this academic year to discuss redistricting options for upcoming school years.

Caroline Walker, Executive Director of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being, presented and explained several options to relieve the overcrowding of Howard County schools, particularly focusing on Howard High School and Centennial High School.

The options consist primarily of voluntary changes, some for only a portion of the school day and others for the entire year.

The ideas presented were: a Howard County Community College Shuttle, JumpStart Program at Wilde Lake High School, Project Lead the Way at Marriotts Ridge High School, reassignment, additional ARL courses, and additional sections of work-based options.

The Howard County Community Shuttle would consist of participating students, juniors and seniors staying at their home school for first period to participate in classes such as band or orchestra and then taking a bus to HCC. The students will take and receive credit for college-level courses, as well as finish out their graduation required classes.

Students would be picked up by bus from their home school and be taken to HCC. These buses, though, would cost $9,000 a piece if they were to travel to Centennial or Howard to pick up students.

The problem presented with this option, pointed out by Sandra French, a member of the Board, was that music classes are not during first period, and not all classes can be moved to first period to fit the needs of certain students.

Walker predicted, based off a previous survey, that 40-60 students would participate in the HCC shuttle.

The JumpStart program at Wilde Lake High School would require students to transfer to Wilde Lake in order to participate.

It has an estimated price of $250,000, which would vary depending on the number of participating students.

This particular program is directed towards students interested in performing arts and film production. The arts program at Wilde Lake is looking to progress, and offers better opportunities for interested artists. The estimated participation for this is 15-20 students from each school.

Project Lead the Way, on the other hand, consists of a Biochemical Academy and a Computer Science Academy.

Again, this option would require a school transfer, this time to Marriotts Ridge High School.

Additionally, Walker presented an estimated price of $63,000, which is a combination of material and training for all academies.

The option of reassignment, previously known as open enrollment, would give students free reign to transfer to either Glenelg High School or Marriotts Ridge High School. A problem presented with this, though, is that students would have to provide their own transportation.

A positive with this option is that it would cost nothing to implement.

Additional sections of work-based options would help to decrease overcrowding during the day. Examples are GT intern/mentor, apprenticeship, and work release, all of which would help upperclassmen get real-world experience.

The problem with this, though, is the more students that enter the program, the more teachers they will need. A new teacher would cost the board $84,000.

Ideally, the Board would like to implement most, if not all, ideas at once. Their concern revolves around the question: where will the money come from?

The last option to fix overcrowding issues, presented by Anissa Brown Dennis, Chief Operating Officer, was redistricting in the form of boundary changes.

Her original intent was to present all plan options, which included: 2017 Feasibility Study Plan, 2017 Attendance Area Committee Plan I and II (August and September), Community plans as identified by Board members, and Howard High School small feeds.

The Board, however, voted to discontinue the presentation after the 2017 Feasibility Plan, and instead had conversation about small feeds.

Their votes were primarily based around the fact that, in a previous meeting, they had voted to not change school boundaries for the upcoming school year, so the presentation did not seem necessary at that moment.

The Board will begin making decisions in regard to the 2019-2020 school year in a meeting on October 18.

In a previous meeting on August 23, there was an idea of temporary and permanent freshmen redistricting, but this idea seems to have been taken out of the conversation, as it was not mentioned in the recent meeting.

This option would have consisted of incoming freshmen being relocated, either for just their freshman year or possibly their entire high school career.

Since no final changes have been made, Centennial students will have to work through the issues overcrowding brings.

Cynthia Dillon, Centennial’s principal who was present at the meeting, is confident in her students’ ability to make their school environment as comfortable as possible, despite the circumstances.

“The distances the students have to travel, while they are in some crowded hallways, they are very creative about how they get from point A to point B,” Dillon stated at the meeting. “They are also using their time. They are walking with a purpose, they are being efficient with how they get from point A to point B and we have not identified a problem with students arriving to class tardy.”

Ellie Zoller-Gritz contributed with background information, analysis and images for this article.

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