Tag: Sarah Paz

Science Olympiad Team Goes to Nationals

Words: Sarah Paz

Centennial’s Science Olympiad team, affectionately called SciOly by its team members, traveled to the Science Olympiad National Tournament in Ithaca, winning 29th place.

Sophomore B-team member Shreya Vallimanalan said that the team placed 1st in the Environmental Chemistry Event at Cornell University.

“We also came in 12th in Chemistry Lab, 14th in Fermi Questions, 14th in Hovercraft, 16th in Astronomy, and 18th in Helicopters, ” she said. “We definitely view these achievements [as] successes. Every year, we strive to improve, so we will continue to work hard to prepare for next year’s competitions.”

Their success story began nine months ago in September. Even though the club allows anybody to participate, tryouts were held to be part of higher teams like the A-team who represented Centennial at the National Science Olympiad.

Just like any serious sports team, SciOly showed their dedication by practicing every week. At 2:15pm every Thursday, the team would hold weekly meetings beginning with announcements about the next competition. To practice and collaborate on projects, the team would break into the pairs they compete in at tournaments.

SciOly’s consistent determination won them first at the Maryland Science Olympiad which allowed them to qualify for the national tournament.

To celebrate the SciOly’s success at Nationals and a successful year together, the team gathered for a picnic on June 6.

The Science Olympiad team attributes some of their great successes throughout the season to Centennial biology teacher and team sponsor, Jason Piluk.

“Mr. Piluk, our coach, has greatly helped and supported our team… the Science Olympiad Club would not run as smoothly as it does with his guidance. He provides us with a lot of support and encourages our passions for STEM,” Vallimanalan said.

Regarding his role as the team’s sponsor, Piluk stated, “I pretty much make sure the club exists, is registered with the state and national program, provide a workspace for the team, confirm team rosters, facilitate travel to and from various competitions… and cheer them on.”

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

Brandon Du and Krystal Wu play with the Columbia Orchestra

Words: Sarah Paz

On Saturday, May 18, Centennial freshmen Brandon Du and Krystal Wu, winners of the Columbia Orchestra Young Artist Competition, played with the Columbia Orchestra and vocalist Kelli Young at the Jim Rouse Theatre. Wu played the clarinet while Du played the violin.

Du, who has previously played in the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra and the National Chambers, said, “the performance went well… Overall, I think the concert was very well organized and all the soloists were amazing, of course.”

The concert, called The Rite of Spring, featured “Symphony No. 2” by Carlos Chávez, “Sensemayá” by Silvestre Revueltas, “The Rite of Spring” by Igor Stravinsky, and “Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5” by Heitor Villa-Lobos.

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SGA Elections Results are Announced

Words: Sarah Paz

The students of Centennial voted for their local student government association (SGA) and Student Member of the Board on Wednesday, April 24. The voting window ended Friday, April 26 in which 75 percent of students from grades 9 to 11 voted.

On Thursday, April 25, the Howard County Association of Student Councils announced that Reservoir junior Allison Alston won the position of Student Member of the Board for the 2019-20 school year.

On Friday, April 26, the Centennial Student Community page released an announcement stating for each position where there are two candidates, the candidates would share the positions.

Students raised concerns about the results of the election to media specialist Michelle Van Gieson, saying that they couldn’t vote or complete their ballot due to technology issues.

“Some students alerted the folks in charge of the SGA of this issue, so we knew these missing votes were not all intentional,” said principal Cynthia Dillon.

During the voting window, the internet network faced issues, resulting in 85 students not fully completing their ballot. Some students were unable to vote for certain positions which led administrators such as Van Gieson and Dillon to believe the technology issues affected the credibility of the election.

“At that time, out of the 926 ballots cast (including 85 incomplete ballots), one race had a single vote difference, one race had a 5-vote difference and one race had a less than 30-vote difference,” Van Gieson remarked in an email interview. “When Mrs. Dillon and I looked at the incomplete ballots Friday after school, just completing those ballots could change the outcome of the election of all 3 races in either direction.”

Knowing that those few ballots could change the course of the election, the administration considered a new plan of action.

“Some of the options [Dillon] suggested were to re-open the voting window and to ask the 85 students with incomplete ballots if they wanted to complete their ballot,” Van Gieson explained.

In response, she reopened the ballots temporarily, extending the voting window from Monday, April 29, to Wednesday, May 1 at 12:16pm. Twelve additional students voted.

“By Wednesday, 5/1, when the ballot closed again, the margins for the two very close races had widened by a few votes and the third race’s margin had gotten smaller,” said Van Gieson.

The 85 students who left an option blank were contacted by Mrs. Van Gieson to determine whether they left the option blank due to technology problems or they intentionally didn’t cast a vote. The administration allowed the students to cast a vote on a paper ballot.

To determine the winners of this election, the school decided to follow the guidelines issued in the Maryland Association of Student Councils, which states that the candidate has to win by 50 percent and an additional vote.

On the afternoon of May 1, after a week of waiting, the final results of the Centennial SGA Election were revealed. Christopher Lidard was elected to the position of president, Anika Huang was elected as vice president, Ally Paik was elected as corresponding secretary and Cissy Wang was elected as recording secretary.

These results remain uncontested. Some results of the election such as vote counts aren’t typically released as public knowledge.

“Unlike what happens in the ‘real world,’ we don’t typically announce the tally of school elections such as this one. The reasons for this have to do with the social [or] emotional impact these results could have on our young people… You are putting yourself out there and essentially asking your peers to tell you how they feel about your abilities or you as a person,” Dillon said.

“The SGA is vital for fostering student participation and student voice within the school experience,” she concluded. “As we look forward to next year and years to come, it’s important we work to ensure all student groups are represented and that our SGA is a vibrant and integral part of the fabric of our school culture.”

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Centennial Students Show Off Their Team Spirit on Jersey Day

Words: Sarah Paz

Photos: Noorie Kazmi

On Wednesday, April 24, Centennial students demonstrated their team spirit by wearing their favorite sports team jersey. Many proud students wore their Ravens jerseys or their Centennial sports team apparel.

Students can look forward to celebrating Decades Day tomorrow. Seniors will wear 70’s clothing, juniors will don 80’s clothing, sophomores will dress up in 90’s clothing and freshmen will go back to the fashions of the early 2000’s.

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

Centennial Hosts a Track and Field Meet

Words: Sarah Paz

Photos: Noorie Kazmi

On Tuesday, April 2, Centennial hosted a track and field meet. Atholton, Howard, Long Reach, Mount Hebron and Reservoir competed.

The Centennial sprinting team excelled in all of their events. Both the girls’ and boys’ sprinting teams won second place in the 400-meter relay race. Senior Marco Ayhon and junior Tyler Dan scored in the top ten of the 200-meter race.

The Centennial distance team raced especially well in the 800-meter race. Seniors Alison Betler and Katie Pistner and sophomore Michelle Weaver scored in the top 20, while sophomores Jake Cole, Fernando Duraes and Andrew Bank, along with junior Jacob Muma were in the top 15.

Sophomore jumper Victoria Pearson scored fifth in the triple-jump, and sophomore Liam Lovering won first in the discus event.

The Centennial track and field team will be competing in the Pikesville Track and Field Invite this Saturday, April 6.

 

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The Impact of One Choice

Words: Sarah Paz

Photo: Eliza Andrew

*Editor’s Note: April 1, 2019– This article has been modified to reflect that the Centennial PTSA hosted the guest speaker. The previous version stated that Centennial was the host.*

On Tuesday, March 26, Centennial’s PTSA hosted an assembly presented by public speaker Tony Hoffman, who spoke about how one choice affected his entire life.

Hoffman started his story from when he was in high school and started doing drugs at parties.

He didn’t realize it at the time, but he made a decision that impacted the entire course of his life.

His bad choices resulted in his arrest and ultimately, prison time. Hoffman decided to change for the better by improving his life with little habits.

Hoffman’s determination to stay sober helped him to live out his dreams of professionally BMX biking and starting a nonprofit which is now called The Freewheel Project.

Since his time in prison, Hoffman has been successful in other areas such as being a coach for BMX athletes and helping to spread awareness about drugs as a public speaker.

After the speech, Hoffman answered questions about his message.

Many students enjoyed how unique his story was.

“[It had an] interesting perspective,” said sophomore Honor Reed. “I don’t think anyone expected the story brought forth.”

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

Know Your Planet Night

Words: Sarah Paz

On March 7, Centennial hosted its sixth annual Know Your Planet Night from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Centennial students from Biology G/T, Physics AP, Earth Science and Environmental Science classes gathered to present engaging projects about the issues affecting the environment.

With topics ranging from tsunamis, earthquakes, plate tectonics and space, students created
fun, interactive projects including an earthquake table, trivia games with prizes, and an active
volcano made with newspaper and paint.

Environmental Science students displayed their research on various environmental issues such as an overflow of plastic in the ocean.

“All these projects are about helping the environment and raising awareness,” explained Green Club member, Aria Ma.

At the end of the night, English students presented poems explaining humanity’s
connection to nature.

Reflecting on the evening, Centennial Biology GT teacher Lori Griffiths hoped that Know Your Planet Night helped students understand the importance of protecting the environment.

“I hope students learn something new about the earth and become more aware and
respectful.”

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