Tag: Xander Mauer

Two Centennial Artists Surpass Two Hundred Others In Juried Art Show

Words: Xander Mauer

On January 21, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History & Culture gave high school students the opportunity to have their art presented and put on display in the 11th Annual Reginald F. Lewis Museum Juried High School Art Show as part of Martin Luther King Day celebrations.

The contest was centered around the styles and themes of Romare Bearden, a prominent African-American artist during the Harlem Renaissance. Approximately 200 students from all 24 counties in Maryland submitted drawings, photos, paintings, prints, and mixed-media to potentially be displayed.

Only 26 pieces of art were selected, and among them were two Centennial Art III students: Noni Grimes and Gabrielle Chery. Their pieces are titled “Together, Sunday Night” and “Thanks to the Nurturer,” respectively.

Centennial art teacher Nan Collins encouraged students to enter the contest, but it was not a graded assignment.

“[Collins] suggested that we could do it, but she just said that it wasn’t a mandatory thing to do, so I worked on it outside of school,” Chery explained. “I kinda had to rush the last part, and I think it turned out pretty well.”

Despite choosing similar themes, Grimes’ and Chery’s pieces are unique, shaped by their own experiences and backgrounds.

“The two themes that stood out to me the most were womanhood and history,” Grimes described. “When I read womanhood, I thought of female bonds, and when I read history, I thought of family history. Finally, my mind landed on my mother doing my hair. It seems like such a simple, perhaps superficial, thing to value, but there’s more to it.”

Most artists used personal experiences to inspire their art and bring shape to it, and Grimes was no exception, even using actual family photos in her piece.

Her painting depicts four women in ascending age. The youngest admires her older sister as she does her hair. The older sister acts the same way, admiring her older sister, and the pattern continues up until their mother, depicting the continuation of the tradition through the generations.

“I’ve always been really bad at hair and mostly depended on my mom to help me,” Grimes elaborated. “When I was little, we would play salon as she washed and styled my hair, and I pretended to be a rich client with two to seven children and she would play along. She would share stories of her own mom doing her hair, of her hilarious jerry-curl phase, of her personal rebellion with going natural.”

Grimes summarized her piece, saying, “In short, hair has always bonded me and my mother one way or another, and this bond isn’t just between us, but also her mother, her mother’s mother, and so on.”

Personal experiences, specifically familial ties, played a part in Chery’s piece as well.

“It was based off my mom’s whole journey in coming to America and kind of trying to thank her for that, I suppose,” Chery explained, outlining her process. “I tried to think of a figure that reminded me of my mom.”

Describing her choice of imagery, Chery said, “I thought of a mother hen because I have a bunch of siblings and we all kind of trail about her like little chickens, and that was my whole inspiration for the piece.”

Their artwork, along with the work of the other student artists from around the state, remained on display at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum throughout the month of February, extending the initial Martin Luther King Day celebration throughout Black History Month.


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

A Freshman Perspective

Words: Xander Mauer

Freshman year is a time of great change and uncertainty for many people. Most upperclassmen are well adjusted to the high school experience and often forget how strange it all was on their first day of high school. It is important to understand the perspective of current freshmen in order to properly empathize with them and help them feel welcome.

Many freshmen were quite surprised by the lack of space in the halls, due to Centennial’s student body reaching 1,614 students in total this year. Comparing this to middle schools, which usually have less than one thousand students, it’s no surprise that the newest class is a little overwhelmed.

High school seems to be more similar to middle school than most would think. Most freshmen said that the biggest and most noticeable difference is simply that lockers are not used as much.

Freshman Ahmed Hussin’s transition has been almost seamless.

“[The biggest difference so far has been] carrying our backpacks all day,” Hussin observed.

Something many students may recall is the anticipation during the summer between eighth and ninth grade. In middle school, teachers always stressed that everything assigned was in preparation for high school, which is just preparation for college. This constant reminder of the future can make it seem like a scary unknown, but it turns out that is not the case.

Freshman Sean May has found that high school is less intimidating than he thought. “The middle school [I went to] over-hyped high school,” stated May.

This seems to be a common occurrence, as Hussin agreed. “Middle school teachers made [high school] sound way harder [than it is].”

Although some freshmen find high school to be the standard schooling experience they have gotten used to, others have not been so lucky. The majority of students lamented over the increased homework. Freshman Ian MacIver noticed the difference in the way classes are taught.

“[There is] less time spent on each topic in classes,” MacIver noted.

The class of 2022 manages to hold onto hope in the face of these struggles, finding solace in extracurriculars. Almost every single freshman surveyed said that their biggest anticipation in school is actually an out-of-school experience.

Some freshmen aspire to make a contribution to the school sports teams, while others find enjoyment in joining clubs to be with friends after school. Regardless of what one considers their preferred activity, there is a place for them somewhere among the many extracurriculars at Centennial.

Freshmen often feel ostracized from the other classes, but it is important to remember that all students have been in their shoes. Each and every student can get overwhelmed, especially when immersed in an unfamiliar situation. Freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior: in the end, they are all just students who want to make the most out of their high school experience.

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

Centennial Welcomes Ms. Vanover

Words: Xander Mauer

Rebecca Vanover is the newest addition to the Centennial High School music department. She has taken over teacher choir and singing-related extracurricular activities now that Jessica Cummmings has left. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions to help students and fellow staff get to know her better.


What school did you teach at before CHS?

I taught at Veterans Elementary School right before coming here—just down the street!

How long have you been a teacher?

I’ve been teaching for 3 years.

What do you think of CHS so far?

I think it’s a lovely place to be! I’m really enjoying my students’ talents, and the staff have been especially welcoming to me as a new face.

Do you have any goals for CHS?

I think this community is more than capable of producing a 4th choir during the school day!  I could easily see there being another, and I will continue to build up our students in order to bring that possibility closer to us for future years.

How does it feel to be replacing Mrs. Cummings?

Mrs. Cummings has been a dear colleague since I began working in the county, and I remember when she started at CHS! It was thrilling to watch her accomplish and build this program to where it is now, and taking the reins from her is an honor. Plus, we have the same birthday.

How have you been adjusting to CHS?

The early wake-up is taking some time…Starbucks is to be praised for their extra shots of espresso in my morning coffee! I’m very happy here though—that alone makes the transition easier, despite the challenges of a new job and a new place.

Where did you go to college?

University of Maryland, College Park—GO TERPS!

What is a unique trait of yours?

I’m OBSESSED with the Olympics…anything and everything. I absolutely love them.

What is your teaching style?

This is difficult to articulate…but I’ll put it this way. I’m the same person in front of my students as I am when I’m not. I am unapologetically passionate about making music on the highest level, 24/7.

What is your favorite thing about CHS so far?

That’s easy: my department! I love my colleagues.

Any advice for your students?

I want my students to know how much of choral singing is a collaborative opportunity. The time we spend together singing and building our sound simultaneously builds a community  through the music we perform. It’s a true privilege to be a part of this with you.

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

Centennial’s Accafellas Club Update

Words: Xander Mauer

Accafellas is an all-male a capella choir group with the voice parts of tenor, baritone, and bass. They meet once a week in the choir room (703) after school every Tuesday at 2:15-3:00. They practice songs they hope to perform at the three concert choir concerts throughout the year.

The first concert where they will be performing will be on December 12 at 7 pm. Accafellas will perform the Christmas song compilation “12 Days of Christmas” written by the group Straight No Chasers and composed by the club’s student co-president Leo Wu.

After the concert, Accafellas will be accepting new members again. If you are interested in joining, either contact one of the student co-presidents, Steven Mitchell and Leo Wu, or show up to the first meeting after the concert.

No musical background or auditions are required; you only have to be willing to show up and learn the music. If you wanted to take choir but couldn’t because of a schedule conflict or needed a different credit, then this club would be a good substitute.

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

Centennial’s Acafellas Club

Words: Xander Mauer

Accafellas is an all-male a cappella choir group with the voice parts of tenor, baritone, and bass. They meet once a week in the choir room (703) after school every Tuesday at 2:15-3:00. They practice songs they hope to perform at the three concert choir concerts throughout the year.

If you are interested in joining, contact the student presidents, Steven Mitchell and Leo Wu. Don’t wait too long, or you’ll be behind in learning the music. The group usually only learns one song per concert due to their limited time to practice.

Any male singer can join, regardless of musical experience or background. There are no auditions, although it is expected of you to show up every rehearsal and participate. It is a good substitute if you wanted to take choir, but had no schedule space or a conflict. It’s a good way to meet people with shared interests.