Basketball Teams Head into Playoffs

Words: Giana Han

In a huge upset, Centennial’s boys’ basketball team beat number one Oakland Mills on Friday, Feb. 21.

Oakland Mills went into the game expecting to dominate, and they did for the first three quarters. However, Centennial managed to close the gap, and with less than a second left, Chad Strothers hit a three, sending the game into overtime.

The Eagles fought with renewed energy, and turned their previous ten-point deficit into a nine-point lead.

The last game of the season ended with a 86-75 victory for Centennial over the number one team.

The win gained them a bye for the first round of playoffs, and on Monday, March 3, they will play the winner of the Mount Hebron/Digital Harbor match up.

The girls’ basketball team also had success against Oakland Mills.  They, too, were down at the half to the Scorpions, but pushed ahead for a win.

Three players put up double digits: Anna Mitchell with 13, Brittany Anderson with 12, and Kimmy Eads with 11 points.

The Lady Eagles will start the playoffs with a home game against the Long Reach Lightning on Friday, Feb. 28.

CHS Students Soar to New Heights at Harvard Model Congress

Words: Charles Regnante

Through persistent work and determination, five Centennial students won awards at the Harvard Model Congress (HMC) in Boston this weekend. Ben Smith, Griffin Riddler, and Barry Plunkett won the “Outstanding Delegate” award, while Parth Contractor and Richard Vook won “Award of Excellence.” “I have never had so many students recognized, even when we had twenty or more delegates,” commented advisor Jim Zhe.

Winning these awards was no easy task. The delegates had to constantly participate in discussion, engage in drafting bills, and establish strong relationships in order to be handpicked from their committees, some of which contained 50 or 60 delegates, to win an award.

HMC is a four-day American government simulation at the Boston Sheraton Hotel, where over 12,000 delegates from all over the world tackle the most paramount of issues facing our nation as they undertake roles in the American government and beyond. Students get to participate in exciting and varied committees, ranging from the House and Senate, to special programs such as the Group of Twenty and The World Bank.


Fulfilling Vision 2018: A New Outlook on APs Causes Mixed Reactions at CHS

Words: Miranda Mason

Centennial students are being encouraged more than ever before to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) classes as the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) works towards Vision 2018, a plan to fulfill their promise of preparing every student to take on the challenges they will face after high school.

Vision 2018 aims to challenge students, inspire them to learn and empower them to reach their goals. According to the Vision 2018 Plan, HCPSS’ goal for students is for them to achieve academic excellence. The Plan sets out 11 performance measures for this goal, one of which is through participation and performance in AP courses.

Centennial Principal Claire Hafets is a strong supporter of encouraging every student to take an AP class before graduating, and she believes that participation in AP courses will help students towards the goals set out in Vision 2018. According to Hafets, HCPSS research shows that students who take at least one AP course, even if they score a 2 on the exam, will perform better in college than a student who did not take an AP.

“93% of Centennial students go to college,” said Hafets. “We owe it to those students to make sure they know what it is like.”

What an AP course is like is decided by the College Board, which approves the curriculum for AP classes, as well as writes the exam given in May. AP courses are designed to put high school students in a college-level class, and so the curriculum is made to be rigorous and challenging. This provides a good opportunity for college-bound students who are ready for a taste of college-level rigor, but some have concerns whether an AP is right for every student.

“Not everybody is going to college, and in my opinion, it doesn’t make sense for every student to take an AP,” said physics teacher Stanley Eisenstein.

“I think for some students it is too stressful and not appropriate,” said art teacher Nan Collins. “I agree with the concept of challenging students; I worry about students struggling in a class that is over their heads. They won’t be earning the grades they need or want.”

Collins’ concern that everyone may not be ready for a college-level course in high school is reflected in the thoughts of some students. Junior Alicia Townsend has not taken any AP classes, and does not plan on taking any in her senior year, in part because she is worried about the rigor of an AP course.

“I think it would be too difficult because of the tests and how fast the class goes by,” said Townsend.

Hafets is aware that not every student is ready for an AP class right now, and she has a plan to ensure students making the jump to AP are in a class that will meet their needs. According to Hafets, Centennial will attempt to match students who may not be at an AP level at the beginning of next year with teachers who will be able to scaffold the information. In these classes, the pace may start out at a level the students are ready for, but as the year goes on, those students will still reach the level of rigor demanded by the curriculum.

“These are students who may have been in honors. They can work their way up in the year so they’re ready by May,” said Hafets. “The curriculum is still rigorous, even if the information is scaffolded.”

Hafets believes that a student who starts with a regular course in their first year of high school will be able to work their way towards an AP course in their senior year by advancing one level each year. There is also an HCPSS committee that is looking into barriers to reaching the goals set out in Vision 2018, and student readiness for AP courses will be among the items discussed, according to Hafets.

Student readiness is not the only concern raised by the move towards more APs. Collins believes the College Board benefits the most from participation in AP courses and questions whether AP courses are the best way to challenge students.

“The real profiteer is the College Board. They get money for every student who takes the AP exam. I think it’s all about trying to rank our school, and I think the ranking system is flawed,” said Collins. “I’m very interested in the International Baccalaureate program, and I think that could be a serious way to challenge students.”

A big attraction of AP courses for many students is that a good score on the exam could be accepted as college credit. However, another concern raised by some is whether or not students will actually be able to count the exams toward fulfilling credits in college. According to Collins, some schools do not accept AP scores as a replacement for taking the class, especially art schools.

Hafets believes that even if students’ exam scores won’t be accepted, taking an AP class is still worth it in the long run.

“It’s not about whether the college is going to accept the credit. It’s really about challenging yourself,” said Hafets. “Everybody has a strength and a passion. Why not challenge the student in that area?”

According to Hafets, as of Feb. 24, there has been an increase in enrollment of AP classes for the 2014-2015 school year, with many students signing up for AP social studies and math classes. There has also been a decrease in enrollment in fine arts classes.

Students Play Alongside Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Congratulations to the following students from the Howard County High School G/T Orchestra who had the opportunity to play with members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO). They played three pieces in front of an audience in the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Feb. 19.

Emily Abdow
Victor Chang
Katherine Chao
Evelyn Chen
Sara Ho
Abby Kim
Hannah Lee
Charrine Liu
Qian Mei
Maggie Ma
Sandy Yang
Emily Zhang
Grace Zhang
Daniel Zheng

Michael Cai
Siri Neerchal
Manisha Vepa

Andrew Abdow
Alice Kuan

Michael Martinaitis
Sahil Saini

Yae-Eun Chung

Andrew Cho
Cynthia Li
Jinia Sarkar

Lucas Cheng
Jake Grandolfo

Richard Matties

The Boys’ Basketball Team Wins Senior Night Game

Words: Giana Han

The Centennial boys’ basketball team celebrated Senior Night with a 60-40 win over Long Reach High School on Feb. 19.

Five seniors – Chase Conley, Walter Fletcher, Logan Tignall, Matt Ung, and Robert Wilkin – were able win their final home game at Centennial. “We came out more intense,” said Fletcher.  “It was our last game, we wanted to end with a bang.”

The Eagles held the lead for the majority of the game and were in front at the end of each quarter.  Although the Eagles were up at the end of the first half, they only had a lead of nine points.  However, they came out of the half-time break even stronger than before.

“In the second half, we were able to get out and score and transition,” said head coach Chad Hollwedel.  “They were playing a fairly tight zone. We opened it up to get shots. We made a concentrated effort on getting inside shots.”

By the end of the game, the Eagles extended their lead to an overwhelming 20 points.

Conley put up eight points, two blocks, and two steals for his last home game of the season, while sophomore Tom Brown contributed 11 points and nine rebounds.  Juniors Chad Strothers and Isaiah White led the team in scoring with 14 and 15 points, respectively. Every member of the team contributed, with at least two minutes of playing time for each player.

The gym was decorated to say goodbye to the seniors and celebrate their season. “It was a nice feeling to have my poster there and to walk out with my family. It was a special game,” said Wilkin.

The team was close, according to both Fletcher and Wilkin, and they will both miss their teammates the most out of everything about the season.

“This group of seniors was a hard working group. One through five of these players came to practice with a positive attitude,” said Hollwedel. “They enjoy being around each other and it shows.”

Civility Week: Friendly Friday 1/31/14

Photos: Martha Hutzell

Last Friday, Centennial cheered on their winter sports teams at the pep rally, including friendly competitions between grades. Earlier in the day, students who were “caught” on Tuesday being kind, were given a little treat – the student with the most notes from each grade was recognized at the pep rally and given a gift bag.