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.

The Do’s and Dont’s of Finals

Words: Melinda Gwanzura

As the 2015-2016 school year comes to an end Centennial High School students are beginning to prepare to take their final exams. Here are some study tips to avoid stress and get the grade.

Don’t Cram

Trying to study for an exam the day before may be one of the worst decisions any student can make. Especially if they need a certain score on the exam in order to receive a specific overall grade in the class for the year. The method not only stresses out test takers but enhances your chances of performing poorly on the exam, as we all know.

Do Take Breaks

Instead of cramming, students should try breaking down study time into reasonable time increments. Such as, studying for 30-50 minutes with 5-10 minute breaks in between. This idea is a much more efficient way of retaining information according to the Pomodoro Technique.

Don’t Be Afraid

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Not asking for help or asking questions in class may be one of the top reasons students find themselves stressed when it’s time to review material for their exams. Realizing that your teachers don’t expect you to remember everything from third quarter to now may be the best way to look at things. So, when they have those review sessions don’t be shy, just ask. Get involved and engage yourself. This will not only leave a good impression of yourself on the teacher but will definitely decrease the amount of material you’ll need to study.

Do Eat Health

Keep your workspace organized to reduce stress. Eat a healthy breakfast and remember to put yourself first. Finals will eventually come to an end. Try to stay focused and take care of yourself.

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

In it for the Long Hall

Words: Meghan Moore

Think back to the first day of high school; the feeling of chaos, not enough sleep the night before, and the terror of not being able to find your next class. Now, imagine that feeling, but not as a student, but as a substitute teacher. This year, Centennial opened its doors to a handful of long-term substitutes that may not have been here since the beginning, but certainly made their mark on Centennial.

Kelly Tieperman, a long-term substitute Government teacher found himself at Centennial after winter break, replacing James Zehe, who was promoted to Assistant Principal.

While Thomas Wheeler, who splits his teaching day between Glenelg and Centennial teaching English, was hired by Centennial while doing another long-term job at Owings Mills High School in Baltimore County.

“I had no idea, I was coming from Baltimore County which is a completely different atmosphere, I was coming in blind,” commented Wheeler on his expectations for the new job.

However, Tieperman was not as new to the Centennial way of life.

“I grew up here, I’ve worked at summer school in Howard County, and I substituted at Centennial for a couple weeks last year, so I pretty much knew what to expect,” added Tieperman.

Like students don’t know what to expect their first day, teachers are just as wary as what the school year may turn into.

“Coming in my first day was terrifying. I realized I had two twelfth grade classes, and I’m only 22 years old, so having kids that haven’t worked necessarily as other students throughout the year and having a new teacher come in, I thought it might be hard to get respect,” Wheeler recalled.

There are many moments that define a teacher’s year. Everyday students bombard their teachers with questions expecting them to have the right answers. But in some cases, the teachers are still learning how to answer those questions.

“Some of the crazy questions students ask, you have to be so careful on how you answer them- especially in a government class- wanting to give good information without throwing in political beliefs. Finding that balance.” shared Tieperman.

As of now, Wheeler will join us at Centennial full-time next year and Tieperman is searching for a teaching position both in Howard and Baltimore County.

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

Special Olympics Torch Run

Words: Sandy Eichhorn

Photos: CHS Wingspan

On Thursday, June 9, Howard County police officers and Special Olympic athletes ran in the Special Olympics Torch Run. This run has supports the Special Olympics, and was brought to Maryland by the Howard County Police Department 31 years ago. Runners carried the “Flame of Hope”, or the Special Olympics torch as they passes by three schools where students cheered the runners on.

After the run, some of the Special Olympic athletes from Howard County were sworn in as honorary Howard County law enforcement officers. Since it was brought to Maryland, the Torch Run has raised over $25 million dollars for Special Olympics Maryland.

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

Freshman Year Review

Words: Diana Cagas

Making the transition from being a middle schooler to a freshman in high school can be exciting, and nerve-racking. To some, freshman year of high school is no barrier to them, thinking they can handle it like a professional. To others, it is a year where they worry. To all, though, freshman year is just the start of an important high school journey. An opportunity to make new friends, meet new goals, and experience new activities all occur in the span of one’s four years in high school.

Freshman Madison Baltimore takes into account on her first year of high school. “[Freshman year] was very different than what I expected,” said Baltimore. Her thoughts were what many freshmen were thinking: What will others think of me? What groups will I fit into? Are there bullies in high school? Will I fail my classes?

“No one bothered me and the lowest grade I [received] was a C,” she added.

Although freshman year has its downs, it also highlights some amazing memories. Baltimore said, “The highlight of my year was the Homecoming pep rally and my first football game. I had so much fun at both [events] and I made a lot of new friends.”

Entering high school also gives an opportunity to reunite with friends from childhood. “I reconnected with friends from elementary school and made new friends,” she said. “I even got my first boyfriend.”

All in all, one would say that freshman year isn’t all that bad. The key to actually surviving it would to definitely not procrastinate, but also be active in clubs, sports, and meeting new people. “My first year at Centennial was amazing,” Baltimore concluded.

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

Are Student Leadership Conferences Worth Attending?

Words: Caroline Chu

You open your mailbox, which contains an official-looking letter with an gold seal. Upon opening the letter, you find out that you’ve been invited to a leadership conference held at a prestigious university. You’re enticed by the offer, but aren’t sure whether or not you should go. After all, many of these programs come with a large price tag.

Sophomore Jisoo Choi attended the Hugh O’Brian Maryland Leadership Conference over Memorial Day weekend. The conference costs about 400 dollars to attend, but Choi says that all of the expenses were covered by the school, local corporations, and organizations, and that she believes “the experience was more than worth the money.”

“The conference definitely boosted my confidence so that I could feel more comfortable in public speaking roles, and also gave me new insight and viewpoints to a lot of the social issues that were addressed in the keynote speakers’ presentations and group discussions” Choi said.

Choi describes the time spent with the rest of her student group and its facilitators as “intellectually stimulating” and “memorable.” She recommends the conference to any upcoming sophomores. “It’s a truly eye-opening and life-changing experience, and it puts leadership in context while making it easier to start influencing a change in the world” Choi adds.

Julie Wang, a sophomore at Centennial High School, attended the Girl Up leadership summit last July, which is open to students aged 12-22 years old. Agreeing with Choi in regards to the cost, in the hundred dollar range in the case of the Girl Up leadership summit, Wang says her conference was “worth every penny!”

Wang describes the conference as the “highlight of [her] summer,” and says she was able to network and gain self-confidence, which allowed her to start a Girl Up chapter at Centennial High School.

To Wang, a highlight of the conference was when the First Lady, Michelle Obama, who Wang calls a “gender equality champion,” spoke to conference attendees. Her favorite part of the conference was visiting Capitol Hill to lobby Congress about providing quality education for girls and boys living in refugee camps.

Wang says she would “definitely recommend the conference to any individual who is interested in gender equality, international issues, global development, or any sort of social issues that affects youth.”

Are student leadership conferences worth attending? Jisoo Choi and Julie Wang seem to think so.

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