Tag: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

New Teachers’ Opinion of the School Year

Words: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

This year, Centennial welcomed several new teachers to its staff. Each new teacher had different expectations for the year, and different opinions of how the year actually went.

Timothy Watson, a physics teacher, expected this year to be a lot of work, but stated that his goal was to do his best. He was looking forward to meeting and interacting with students. “My favorite part of teaching is this interaction through the medium of teaching Physics content,” he said. His favorite part of the school year was meeting interesting people and learning about the teaching profession and physics itself.

Danielle Holzman, a math teacher, hoped to grow comfortable with Centennial High School, and feels that she accomplished her goal. “I got back into teaching quite easily here, so I thank the teachers, admin, and students for making my transition so easy,” she said. She loved getting to know her students, and stated that she enjoyed seeing how welcoming, eager to learn, and caring her students are.

Alexandra Ward, another math teacher, expected at the beginning of the year that she would struggle a lot and be quite stressed, but be well supported by her fellow staff members. Her experiences, however, well surpassed her expectations. She enjoyed participating in numerous activities as a staff member, making new friends, and joining a kickball team with several of her coworkers. “This year has been absolutely amazing!” she commented.

Lauren Mancini, an English teacher, is not sure of what her expectations were for the year, but after seven years of teaching at another school, was ready for a change. She was looking forward to the opportunity to choose which books she would teach and how to teach them, an opportunity that had not been presented at her old school. Her favorite part of the year was getting to know the students over the course of the year. “It’s what I love about my job,” she said. “This year was no exception.”

Colin Moe, a special education teacher and Assistant Varsity Football Coach, expected to have a rough transition, as he came from an elementary school setting. His expectations were surpassed, however, because the support of his team members, the administration, and the students. “[I was looking forward to] working with a collaborative, caring staff and helping to turn the Centennial football team around,” he said. He thoroughly enjoyed observing all of the school spirit that Centennial has, especially regarding Homecoming, basketball games, Prom, and pep rallies.

Michelle Flynn, a math teacher, states that she did not know what to expect, but her experiences certainly surpassed any expectations she might have had. She was most looking forward to learning about all of the traditions at Centennial, meeting other staff members, and making new friends. WorldFest was her favorite event in the school year. “The different activities, food, and performances demonstrated the wealth of knowledge and experience this community has to offer and I am really honored and proud to be a part of it,” she said.

Lori Estes, an English teacher, states that she set high expectations for both herself and her English classes, and hoped that her classes would run smoothly. “I am incredibly proud that my students tackled some challenging novels throughout the year and honed their writing and analytical thinking skills along the way,” she said. She was most looking forward to the beginning of the school year, when students are generally in a good mood after summer break and have a great amount of enthusiasm and energy. One of her favorite parts of the school year was the week when most of the students were engaging in elaborate promposals, and she was given a chance to observe many students’ creativity.

Christopher Panzarella, a math teacher, said that he expected to teach a lot of high energy students and work with a strong department of teachers, and his expectations for the year have been surpassed. He was most looking forward to meeting all of his new students, and this was also his favorite part of the year. “I always enjoy when a student comes to visit me or ask me a question,” he commented.

Sean Griffin, a technology teacher, expected to build a rapport with the students and staff at Centennial, and to fit comfortably back in the classroom after being away for a year. His experiences met his expectations, though it took longer to accomplish these than he expected. There is no specific moment in the year that he looks forward to. “The fact is, I look forward to every day, because every day I come to work and get to do something I enjoy very much: work with young people. I know that sounds trite, but for me it’s true. I truly love my work, and cannot imagine myself doing anything else.”

William Hoffman, a science teacher, expected for it to take quite a while for him to become part of the Centennial family. “[However], it didn’t take me long to feel like I belonged at CHS because students and staff were so welcoming to me.” He was looking forward to a new challenge in his career, developing new lessons and growing professionally as a teacher. His favorite parts of the school year were working with new students and becoming part of Centennial High School.

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

Artist of the Week

Words and Photo: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

Senior Mary Yu has been taking art at Centennial since freshman year, but she has been drawing since before elementary school.

A piece that she is proud of is on display in the hallway, an oil painting displaying a girl holding her hands up to shield her face. Yu worked on the piece at the beginning of the school year.

Yu decided to draw this piece in order to practice portraying body language and the expression of figures. In illustrating it, she portrayed shyness through the positioning of the subject’s body. “I think what [the painting] was trying to show was… being really shy and hiding from the world,” Yu stated.

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

It’s Academic TV Tournament Win

Words: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

Centennial’s It’s Academic won the Baltimore Metro Championship for the It’s Academic TV Show on Saturday, April 30. This is the second year in a row that Centennial’s team has won the competition, and the seventh time in 13 years.

Captain Gary Tse, Kevin Costello, and Siri Neerchal, won the semifinal match against Severna Park and Archbishop Spalding High Schools, and the final match against Century and James M. Bennett High Schools.

The team will move on to the Superbowl match, which will be filmed at WRC TV channel 4, in two weeks.

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

It’s Academic History Bowl

Words: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

Centennial’s It’s Academic participated in the National History Bowl in Crystal City, Virginia, over the weekend of April 23 and 24. Centennial sent five teams to the tournament, but there was a total of almost 300 teams from all over the country participating in the 16-hour competition.

The JV A team, Varsity B team, and Varsity A team all exceeded expectations and defeated many highly ranked contenders.

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


Competitions This Past Weekend

Words: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

This weekend, Model UN, Model Arab League, and Science Olympiad held tournaments, competitions, and conferences.

Centennial’s Model UN participated in the Baltimore Area Model UN conference, hosted by Mount Saint Joseph and Seton Keough. Jack Grandolfo placed first and was named best delegate on the Security Council, Dora Delmelo was named best delegate on the Specialized Committee, and Philemon Kendzierski was named best delegate for Crisis Number Two. Connor Heslin was named best delegate and presented the best position paper. Brittney Murgesan was named Outstanding Delegate and placed second on the Specialized Committee, while Radhika Gholap, Gesna Aggarwal, and Alex Na received honorable mentions.

Georgetown University hosted a Model Arab League conference this weekend, where the Centennial delegation represented Saudi Arabia. Julie Wang served on the Summit of Arab Heads of State, Thomas Regnante on the Council on Palestinian Affairs, Amy Guo on the Council of Arab Environmental Affairs Ministers, and Niti Contractor on the Council on Political Affairs. Wang and Regnante were named distinguished delegates, while Guo and Contractor were named outstanding delegates.

Centennial’s Science Olympiad earned first place at Saturday’s State Tournament at Johns Hopkins University. Kathy Klyushnichenko, Sarah Ho, Helen Kuo, Angela Zhu, Suzie Byun, Jason Li, Eric Metz, and Tom Zong won gold medals. Emma Qian, Mahesh Sullivan, and Tomo Yamaguchi earned silver medals. Honorable mentions were awarded to Chy Murali, Felicia Wang, Nicole Meister, and Gordon Wu.

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

SMOB Public Forum

Words: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

On Wednesday, April 13, the candidates for next year’s Student Member of the Board (SMOB) participated in a public forum at the Howard County Board of Education building. The candidates, Wilde Lake junior Griffin Diven and Atholton junior Brooke Walker, answered questions pertaining to their viewpoints on certain issues and their goals if elected to the position. The event was moderated by the current Student Member of the Board, Howard High School senior Rachel Lin, and the president of the Howard County Association of Student Councils (HCASC), Libby Milano.

Each candidate began with an opening statement introducing himself or herself and his or her prior leadership experience, and provided a short statement on his or her goals if appointed to the position. Diven mentioned that he had had previous experience in the Social Studies Honor Society, the National Honor Society, and his theatre class. He emphasized the importance of promoting the student voice and ensuring that each student has full access to any opportunities that he or she wants.

“We need to ensure that student leadership is being promoted each day,” he stated. Walker commented on her past leadership experience in the Atholton High School Student Government Association, Delta Scholars, and Black Student Union. If elected to office, she communicated her desire to represent each student. “I believe all voices matter and all voices should be heard,” she said.

The discussion itself was purely prompted by the audience members. When the audience had questions, they wrote them down on pieces of paper and passed them to the moderators, who presented the questions to the candidates. Questions were also sent through Twitter, using the hashtag “#HoCoSMOB.” The candidates offered their opinions on issues such as school start times, the food policy, bullying, and the dress code. In addition, the candidates answered questions about how they planned to advocate for all students, the characteristics they possessed that would facilitate their campaign, why they were running for the position, and what their first priority was if elected to office.

The candidates each concluded the discussion with a thirty-second closing statement. Diven commented that his campaign was based on promoting leadership among students and making the student voice heard. “I want you to know that you have a voice,” he stated. Walker mentioned that she was running for SMOB in order to ensure that each person has a voice in the Board of Education. “Every single voice will be heard,” she said.

The final election for Student Member of the Board will take place on April 20 in middle and high schools throughout the county.

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

It’s Academic News for April

Words: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

On April 2, three of Centennial’s It’s Academic teams competed in the Thomas Jefferson Invitational Academic Tournament in Fairfax, Virginia. Centennial’s A team, sophomores Jakob Boeye, Bryce Plunkett, Fayyaz Zaidi, and captain Steen Alme, defeated rival groups from Montgomery Blair and Langley High Schools. The A team secured the championship trophy for Centennial.

Next Saturday, April 9, Centennial’s It’s Academic team will compete at the Richard Montgomery Tournament, and on Sunday, April 10, Centennial will be hosting 34 middle and elementary school teams for a student-run QuizBowl tournament.

The following week, the teams will take part in the Johns Hopkins Tournament, and on the weekend of April 23, five of Centennial’s teams will be competing in the History Bowl National Tournament in Crystal City, VA. Additionally, It’s Academic will film its semifinal round for the TV Tournament, scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 30.

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

History Bowl Regional Championship

Words: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

On Saturday, March 12, 36 teams participated in the History Bowl Capital Region Championship. At the end of the tournament, five of Centennial’s teams qualified for the National Championship, which will take place in Virginia on April 23.

Senior Aniruddha Rao won a silver medal in honor of being the second best player in the Varsity Division of the History Bee; sophomore William He won the Bronze medal for the Junior Varsity Division.

Centennial’s A Team, which includes senior captain Gary Tse, junior Jason Li, senior Kevin Costello, and junior Siri Neerchal, came in second place overall. The Centennial B Team (comprised of senior Aniruddha Rao, junior Rohan Laljani, senior Pranav Ganapathy, and junior Aidan Newell) and C Team (including juniors Christopher Cha, Sahil Saini, Mohammed Billah, Richard Cui, and Yashas Lokesh) both triumphed for several rounds in the playoffs.

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

It’s Academic

Words: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

On Sunday, February 14, tryouts for the Maryland Quiz Bowl All-Stars were held in preparation for the National All-Star Academic Tournament, which will take place at the University of Kentucky in mid-June.

Two Centennial students, juniors Siri Neerchal and Jason Li, were selected to be part of the five-member team that will be competing in the tournament. The team will also consist of junior Logan Feingold from Quince Orchard High School, senior Alex Echikson from Richard Montgomery High School, and senior Ho-Jung Yang from Walter Johnson High School.

On Saturday, February 20, twelve of the best Quiz Bowl teams in the United States were invited to the Battle for Mid-Atlantic Dominance, held in the Charter School of Wilmington in Delaware. Centennial’s It’s Academic sent a team led by seniors Gary Tse and Aniruddha Rao and three sophomores: Steen Alme, Jakob Boeye, and William He.

Centennial’s team participated in 14 matches over 12 hours, and tied for fifth place, defeating teams from Detroit Catholic, Wilmington Charter, Richard Montgomery, Hunter College, and Quince Orchard High Schools. Centennial’s It’s Academic will play against these teams again at the National Championship competition in Dallas, which will take place over Memorial Day weekend.

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

Centennial Model Congress

Words: Vaishnavi Mahalingam

From February 17 to 21, Centennial’s Model Congress, comprised of 16 members, participated in a conference in Boston, Massachusetts. The conference invited about 1,500 students from all over the country to debate key public policy issues and simulate the legislative process. The conference also presented students with the opportunity to visit Harvard University’s campus.

In Boston, the delegates played the roles of actual members of Congress, debating issues within committees, drafting and proposing legislation, and voting on legislation in mock House of Representatives and Senate sessions. Some delegates participated in programs such as the IMF, or International Monetary Fund, and the Presidential Cabinet.

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