Tag: Maggie Ju

Centennial’s LGBT Students Celebrate Pride Month

Words: Maggie Ju

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, highlighting inner diversity. Centennial’s LGBT students, particularly members of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), could not be more enthusiastic about it.

“I’m going to do everything gay,” declared sophomore Lauren Aylaian. She is already well on her way to achieving her goal — the first weekend of June, she attended a concert featuring Hayley Kiyoko, a pop singer nicknamed “Lesbian Jesus” by her fans.

Many students in the GSA, Aylaian included, plan to attend D.C. or Baltimore Pride, festivals to celebrate being out and proud.

Sophomore Eduardo Luiggi Rosa said, “It’s all about being able to celebrate who you are, no matter what you are.”

“There’s so many people out there who are ashamed of who they are just because of their sexuality,” said sophomore Jayden Bolden. Many queer people are hesitant to disclose their orientations or identities, fearing backlash and ostracism.

Bolden continued, “They really shouldn’t be because your sexuality is who you are, and you should be proud of yourself.”

Despite the parades and festivities, LGBT people are often erased from media and popular culture. The small percentage of gay and transgender characters in shows and movies are usually played by actors who do not identify as such. Centennial’s LGBT students want to increase visibility and representation of their community.

“Gay pride is like, ‘Actually, we exist!’” said one student.

Luiggi Rosa agreed. “We’re here, and we’re queer,” he said.

Aylaian hopes that in the future, LGBT youth will not face pressure for being minorities. She explained, “They don’t get to be themselves for so long, so to be able to have a month just to express themselves fully … that’s what gay pride is all about.”

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

BREAKING- Cynthia Dillon Named CHS Principal for 2018-2019 School Year

Words: Maggie Ju

According to a public document released by the Howard County Public Schools Board, Cynthia Dillon has been announced as Centennial High School’s new principal for the 2018-2019 school year. Dillon is the current principal of Patapsco Middle School, where she has worked for eight years.

As stated in a Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) press release on March 5, 2018, Dillon has been an HCPSS educator for 25 years.

This spring, she was named the 2018 Maryland Middle School Principal of the Year by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals. A dedicated administrator, she has been commended for inspiring her students to be thoughtful, responsible, and kind.

Dillon has a Masters of Education in Supervision and Administration from Loyola University in Maryland and a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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

Centennial’s STEM Successes Recognized at Celebration of Excellence

Words: Maggie Ju / Photos: Piper Berry

The Celebration of Excellence for Intern-Mentor and Independent Research students was held on Wednesday, May 2, in the Centennial cafeteria. Complex, intriguing projects that showcased the accomplishments of Centennial students were displayed.

This is the last year of teaching for Ms. Michelle Bagley, the supervisor for the two G/T programs. Students presented her with flowers and personalized notes.

“I treat each one of them as unique individuals,” said Ms. Bagley. “It was wonderful to hear them speak about my impact on their lives.”

Throughout the programs, many students participated in various science competitions, and their successes throughout the year were acknowledged at the celebration.

In the Regeneron Science Talent Search, a prestigious national STEM competition, three Centennial seniors received awards: finalist Chy Murali and semifinalists Katie Gao and Swadhin Nalubola.

“In layman’s terms, I look for patterns in datasets and try to predict a gene’s significance on different types of cancer,” Gao said. She intends to explore biomedical research beyond her undergraduate years.

Despite “talent” being in the name of the competition, Gao does not view the key to success as such. She said, “It doesn’t take some unattainable magical quality to do good research. What you do need, however, is a nurturing mentor, lots of hard work, and a little luck.”

Nicole Meister, another high-achieving senior, is no stranger to recognition for her scientific achievements. Recently, she was a finalist in the Maryland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

My project was focused on improving the accuracy of a neural network that could classify features in X-ray scattering images,” she said. “I’m passionate about computer science and research because I feel I can make a difference with my work and improve the lives of others.”

Of all the opinions of the night, none were as important as Ms. Bagley’s. Thirty-eight years of fostering bright minds culminated in the last celebration of her students’ hard work.

“The evening was wonderful,” she declared.

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

Centennial’s Model UN Celebrates Year with Banquet

Words and Photos: Maggie Ju

Centennial’s Model United Nations Club hosted its annual end-of-year potluck banquet on Friday, May 4, in the school cafeteria. Dozens attended to look back on and celebrate a successful year of conferences.

The event kicked off with a slideshow of the year’s events, showcasing the delegates at their best and weirdest. Superlatives followed, each winner awarded a certificate. In typical Model UN fashion, categories included “Most Dilatory” and “Most Likely to Be Stalin” — most of the winners did not come as a surprise.

Once the laughter died down, the Co-Secretaries General, sophomores Caio Goolsby and Sydney Kelley, presented speeches about all the seniors in the club. Several people became teary-eyed.

Seniors from the 2017-18 board concluded the activities of the night, taking the podium to deliver their last messages of their high school Model UN careers.

“If you’re an underclassman, please stay in this club,” said Julie Wang. “It is so much fun and it is such a great experience.”

Bryce Plunkett spoke about the skills he developed through the club, and added, “Make sure if you have siblings, tell them to join and keep the cyclical nature of Model UN going.” He was one of many club members who had joined because of an older sibling.

“It’s been a rigorously riveting, intellectually stimulating four years,” Alex Na summarized. A self-described “deadweight” in freshman year, he invested more time and energy into the club throughout high school, eventually earning the position of fundraiser.

“This club has given me so much confidence,” said Dina Eloseily. “You have a lot of new opportunities, and I’m just really happy that [my older sister] forced me to do this.”

Ms. Galante, Ms. Parker, and Mr. Riddler were presented with gifts as a token of gratitude for their hard work as club advisors. Ms. Galante, who has been an advisor for Model UN from the very beginning, expressed her disbelief that the seniors had grown up so quickly.

Sophomore Constanza Montemayor was elected to be the club’s spring coordinator for the 2018-19 school year. She looks forward to continuing the legacy that the seniors have left.

“I’ve been in Model UN for two years, and I never would have thought I would have made it to the board because I was such a shy novice,” she said. “But now, I am so excited and I can’t wait to keep going to conferences and making friends.”

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

Prom Spirit Week off to a Sleepy Start

Words: Maggie Ju

Photos: Laila Abu-Ghaida

On Monday, April 30, Centennial staff and students kicked off Prom Spirit Week in cozy pajamas. Some donned fluffy onesies, long bathrobes, and even sleep masks to participate. For the students finishing PARCC, it was a relief to end the stressful testing in comfortable sleepwear.

Leading up to Prom on May 5, this spirit week was the last of the school year. The success of Pajama Day was a sign that Centennial spirit persists as the year draws to a close.

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

Centennial Celebrates Diversity at WorldFest

Words: Maggie Ju/ Photos: Harshitha Sayini

The CHS National Honor Society and the Dance Honor Society presented WorldFest, a celebration of student and staff diversity, on Thursday, April 12 from 5 to 9 p.m. It was an extremely successful event, and students could be seen throughout the school.

Most students milled around the cafeteria for the first two hours, where clubs set up to sell cultural cuisine. The Pre-Medicine Club offered mango lassi, the National Chinese Honor Society sold fried rice and dumplings, and ramen was available at the Korean American Student Association table.

In the media center, many students gathered to listen to a panel. The speakers included Dr. Calvin Ball, District 2 councilman; Mona Eldadah, co-founder of Next Wave Muslim Initiative; and Neveen Kurtom, chair of the Howard County Commission for Women. They discussed intersectionality, being part of multiple minority or disadvantaged groups.

Another popular activity was making crepes in the culinary classroom, which drew so many people that the strawberries quickly ran out. Latecomers simply piled chocolate sauce and whipped cream onto their crepes until the ingredient supply was exhausted.

The final event of the evening was a series of performances in the auditorium. Performers socialized with others before the show, admiring their decorative clothing. The theatre room, where they prepared, was a spectacle of glittering jewelry and vivid fabrics.

Representing India in the fashion show, freshmen Anushka Parab and Pratulya Chengala said that previous experiences helped them relax.

“I’m wearing modern Indian attire for the fashion show,” Parab said, doing jazz hands. Her bold red and gold apparel rivaled the bright colors of the dancers’ skirts. “I haven’t done anything like this before, but I’ve gone onstage to dance, so I’m not that nervous.”

Dances, set to music ranging from Bollywood to Blackpink, captivated the audience. Other performances had roots in West Africa, China, and Ireland. It wasn’t just physical talent that was highlighted. Centennial students Mallika Kadabha, Sindhoori Mukka, Arya Bhargav, Avni Patel, Amaka Agbim, and Bibiana Phan all choreographed their dances, an exceptional achievement.

There was a fashion show as well, where students displayed their cultural dress as Mr. Stephen Doff explained the origins. Clothing from all around the world was showcased. Nigeria, Iran, and Haiti were only a few of the countries represented.

Freshman Sarika Kapadia flaunted a turquoise Indian lehenga for the fashion show. After the fashion show, she said of her experience onstage, “It was quite scary, but once you get used to it, you realize that you’re in a supportive and cultural community.”

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

Centennial Brightens Up Hallways with Inspire Murals [VIDEO]

Words: Maggie Ju/ Photos: Zach Grable/ Video: Julia Stitely

In the few days preceding spring break, clusters of New Forms art students could be seen painting colorful murals on the walls. Bearing inspiring messages, their work brightens the high-stress environment Centennial students are accustomed to.

The project had been scheduled to begin on March 22, but due to school cancellations, it was postponed until March 27.

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