Tag: Shalonda Holt

Food for the Soul

Words: Ashley Berry

On Friday, February 19, the Delta Scholars held their annual event, Food for the Soul, in celebration of Black History Month from 6 – 8pm. Students and families from around the county came to Centennial to enjoy a diner comprised of various “soul foods.” Along with a dinner, 15 students performed various poems, songs, and dances. Some of the performers were a part of the Delta Scholars, but some were students at Centennial who wanted to take part in the event.

Last year, the Delta Scholars asked students from Mr. O’Brien’s English classes to perform at the event as well. Unfortunately, because of all the snow and canceled school days, his students could not help this year. This gave more students in Delta Scholars, who would not have considered it otherwise, a chance to perform. According to Shalonda Holt, a advisor of the Delta Scholars, approximately 120 people came to Food for the Soul and the Delta Scholars raised around $700.

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

Congratulations to Ms. Holt, Teacher of the Year

Words: Ashley Berry

On February 11, Howard County Public School System announced Shalonda Holt as its 2016 Teacher of the Year. As many Centennial students know, Holt is a biology teacher at Centennial, and a majority of the sophomore class is taught by her. Holt will now serve as the Howard County nominee for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year, and will represent Howard County in the pool for Maryland State Teacher of the Year.

After teaching for nine years, Holt still loves it every day. “I really love working with the students,” said Holt. “One reason that I decided to become a teacher is because I love learning; I love learning from my students.” She even recalled that when she was a little girl, she loved playing “school,” and said, “Now I am fulfilling my dream.”

Along with nine other teachers from around the county, Holt was nominated by other staff members and students. Holt said she was honored to be nominated, and “I just felt incredible knowing that I am able to have an impact on people.”

Although loved by students and faculty alike, Holt was still surprised when she heard that she won. “I was in total shock,” admitted Holt, “I did not think I would win because there are so many incredible teachers in this county who are doing amazing things. I witness this everyday working here at Centennial.”

Stephanie Boisvert, a senior at Centennial who had Holt as her biology teacher her sophomore year and is still close to her today, said, “She has inspired me to reach my full potential. No matter what I’m going through, whether it’s school or my personal life, I always know she is there to help me. I have so much respect for her.”

In an article published by the Howard County Public School System, HCPSS Superintendent Renee Foose commented Holt, along with the Principal of the Year, “are great examples of the character and dedication found in our school system.”

After her initial shock from winning the award, Holt was honored. She said, “This award means so much to be because teaching is my passion; it is my life. I could not imagine doing anything else.”

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

Delta Scholars – “Service and Sisterhood”

Words: Caroline Chu and Vaishnavi Mahalingam

Many of Centennial’s clubs center on volunteering, community service, or cultural awareness, and the Delta Scholars is a group involved in all three.

Designed to empower female minorities living in Howard County, the Scholars branch at Centennial, sponsored by Mrs. Shalonda Holt and Mrs. Antoinette Roberson, Delta Scholars was formed during the second semester of the 2012-2013 school year at the request of Dr. Carl Perkins, the Centennial’s former principal.

The group coordinates workshops, discussions, cultural, and community events. The club, which requires a minimum unweighted 3.0 GPA for admittance, aims to promote academic excellence and offer community service opportunities to young women.

Last year, the Delta Scholars organized Food for the Soul, Words for the Heart, a slam poetry presentation to raise funds.  The club frequently collaborates with the Alpha Achievers, its male equivalent, and the Black Student Union.

Kendra Grissom, the co-president, described her experience enrolling in the society.  Grissom moved to Centennial during her sophomore year, and here she learned about Delta Scholars.

“[The club was] a safe haven – a place where I could go, with people who could understand me,” Grissom said.

The Delta Scholars plan to engage in multiple events in the upcoming school year, including hosting the Homecoming Dress Drive and selling funnel cakes at the Homecoming Carnival on October 9.

At least once a quarter, they intend to set up a pop-up soup kitchen, which involves packaging meals for the homeless in Howard and Baltimore counties.

On October 13, new members of the club will receive pins and roses at the induction ceremony.

“It’s all about service and sisterhood,” said Grissom.

Mrs. Holt is looking forward to expanding, enjoying community events, and engaging in more volunteer opportunities.

“We started off with such a small group… seeing the amount of girls today was just wonderful,” Holt commented after a recent meeting.  “I’m so excited… to see where it’s started to where it’s come now – it’s just amazing.”

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