Tag: Natalie Knight-Griffin

Centennial Jazz Band’s Spectacular Eagle Time Performance

Words: Natalie Knight Griffin

Photos: Sarah Kruhm

On Wednesday, February 21, Centennial’s Jazz Band gave a superb and exciting performance in the auditorium during Eagle Time. Free tickets were distributed to students that were interested in attending.

The concert consisted of three pieces titled “Just Plain Meyer,” “Sophisticated Lady,” and “Granada Smoothie.” Solos were performed by several students, each one standing up before the crowd and playing an individual, challenging run of notes.

Soloists during the first and second pieces included: Colin Eng playing the tenor saxophone, Swadhin Nalubola on the alto saxophone, Rainer Hlibok on bass trombone, Henry Bar-O on trombone, and Sean Li on alto saxophone. Colin Homassel, playing the flugelhorn, and Jack Keane on the trombone paired up for an unaccompanied performance during the third piece.

The band played the music from their recent Berklee Jazz Festival national competition, in which the group won fourth place. The impressive placement against hundreds of schools from around the country was no surprise when listening to the passionate and immaculate performances from students. In preparation for the competition, jazz students have been attending daily before school rehearsals since the beginning of the school year.

Although this was the group’s only Eagle Time performance, they encourage students to attend their future events.


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

EXCLUSIVE: Wingspan Interviews Hall of Famer Jean Vanderpool [Podcast]

Interview: Caroline Chu and Natalie Knight-Griffin
Photos: Camryn Desai

This past weekend, Jean Vanderpool was inducted into the Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame. The Wingspan team was fortunate enough to speak exclusively with Vanderpool just days before the induction ceremony.

Wingspan staff members senior Caroline Chu and sophomore Natalie Knight-Griffin conducted the interview with Vanderpool, and sophomores Eliza Andrew, Julia Stitely, and Xander Mauer handled all technical aspects of Wingspan‘s very first podcast.

We are excited to share this podcast, the first of many to come, with our followers.

You can listen to the interview in its entirety below.

To read Wingspan’s article regarding Vanderpool’s induction, click here.

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

House of Delegates Candidate Visits Centennial’s Young Democrats Club

Words: Natalie Knight-Griffin

On Tuesday, November 28, Maryland House of Delegates 9B candidate Dan Medinger spoke to Centennial’s Young Democrats club.

Medinger introduced himself by walking around the room and shaking the hands of each student, making a personable first impression. The meeting began by Medinger explaining his intention to discuss local issues, changes he hopes to make, and how teenagers can be activists in their community. He described himself as a progressive democrat, former journalist, environmentalist, and local businessman, having started an advertising company with his wife.

Medinger detailed his views on transportation, climate change, healthcare, and education. As his address came to a close, the club’s members were open to ask questions. Students inquired on Medinger’s ideas to lower college tuitions and his economic views as a liberal small-business owner. He then offered each of the Young Democrats an opportunity to be a part of his campaign and fight for important community issues.

The meeting came to a close with Medinger having personal, one-on-one discussions with the students before taking a group photo.

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

Pajama Day at Centennial

Photos: Zach Grable / Words: Natalie Knight-Griffin

Pajama day at Centennial took place in the midst of the dreary and exhausting standardized assessment schedule. Students were able to dress as comfortably and casually as they pleased while taking the PSAT. While the stress and exhaustion of testing wore out students, many were comforted by the soft hug of their pajamas. The spirit day trends seen around the school included boxers, onesies, plaid pajama pants, and sweatshirts. Spirit week is an exciting time for students to jump out of their comfort zones and dress in the craziest way possible.  However, looking around Centennial today, it seemed students embraced getting back into their normal routines.

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

CHS Faculty Unite In Support of Fallen Wilde Lake Teacher

Words: Natalie Knight-Griffin

Wilde Lake High School is grieving after the death of loved social studies teacher Laura Wallen, and Centennial, along with other Howard County schools, has aligned in support of Wilde Lake during their time of need.

Centennial teachers and administrators have collected money to go toward a breakfast for the Wilde Lake staff. Carole Sormanti and Cheryll Beall are two staff members directly involved in assembling the money and purchasing the breakfast items to send to Wilde Lake.

Many teachers at Centennial have stepped up, offering to contribute toward the efforts to console Wilde Lake, both indirectly and directly.

“All that matters is that we do something, to show love and support,” stated ninth grade guidance counselor Irene Khaksari. “It’s a great school. Anything we can do to help one of our sister schools, we will.”

Khaksari knew Wallen, due to having worked beside her at Wilde Lake early in her teaching career. Wallen was a cheerleading coach at Wilde Lake and at one point, Centennial; many members of Centennial staff knew her personally, specifically how incredible of a woman and teacher she was.

Centennial athletics are showing the true spirit of sportsmanship when playing Wilde Lake. Girls soccer wore green ribbons in their hair on Tuesday’s game against Wilde Lake, and a moment of silence was taken during the boys soccer game. Long Reach High School had a moment of silence at their football game against Wilde Lake, as well as a donation from staff for a breakfast.

Wallen, only 31, was pregnant when her boyfriend Tyler Tessier allegedly killed her. He has been charged with her death.

Students and fellow staff at Wilde Lake loved Wallen intensely. She was voted teacher of the year in 2016, students competed to be her aide, and she made jewelry for anyone who asked. Wearing Wallen’s jewelry had become a trend around the school. Her funny, creative teaching style and effortless charm made her an incredible teacher and amazing person.

Ms. Laura Wallen will be missed by all, and each school is grieving for her loss in its own way.

Photo credit: Facebook