Celebrating the Final Day of Winter Spirit Week in Style

Photos: Delanie Tucker

Centennial students and staff put on their ugliest sweater for the final day of spirit week.  The halls were filled with excitement for the break and the holidays!

Wingspan wishes everyone a Happy Holiday and a great Winter Break!

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Students Talk About Class Selections for 2018-2019 School Year

Words: Shawn Kruhm

Course recommendations and class choices for the upcoming school year have begun and students are starting to stress.

Many students at Centennial are involved in multiple activities outside of school. Having to find a balance between school and extracurricular activities is a struggle. This causes many high schoolers to stay up late and lose sleep. Overwhelming yourself with a large school workload and numerous activities is something students should take into consideration when selecting their classes.

Darian Avery, a sophomore at Centennial High School, said, “It’s not hard to be challenged at Centennial. With sports and other outside activities that require time out of your nights, it’s a challenge finding time to make it all work.”

Along with getting good grades to please both themselves and their parents parents, students want to do well in school to impress colleges. Most high schoolers have already started to think about their future. Many students want to take higher level courses, like junior Olivia Weakland to get into the school they want.

I want to take harder classes to challenge myself to look better for college,” Weakland said.

Challenging yourself is a good thing until it is taken too far. Stress starts to build up when students want to take more intense classes, but they do not know what will be too much.

Sophomore Sarah Sopchick said, “I stress about choosing the classes I’ll take next year because I want to make sure I find a good balance and I don’t want to overwhelm myself.”

As long as students know their strengths and weaknesses, they should not struggle or stress about their class selections. If the course they are taking is too challenging for them, they can always drop to a class that is less intense.

“I don’t stress about classes coming up next year. I don’t think there’s much of a reason to. Stressing over classes is pretty pointless because they are what’s tomorrow and people should focus on today,” said Centennial junior, Kieran Newell.

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

Centennial Boys Basketball Picks Up Third Straight Win on the Road Against Long Reach High School

Words: Josh Horen

The Centennial Eagles boys varsity basketball notched their third straight victory and their first in-county win tonight in a thrilling victory over Long Reach, 69-67.

The Eagles had a slow start to the season dropping their first two games to Atholton High School and Mount Hebron High School. Since then, they have won three straight and seem to finally have picked up their offense.

Centennial, for the first four minutes of the first quarter, looked like they were ready to dismantle the Long Reach defense, jumping out to a 13-5 lead.

Senior Hayden Ford threw down back-to-back Shaquille O’Neal-esque dunks to put the Eagles up by eight points with 3:12 remaining in the first quarter.

However, the Long Reach Lightning answered with a 5-0 run of their own to end the quarter at 13-10. Ford was by far the standout player of their quarter tallying eight points and a handful of rebounds.

However, the second quarter was when the game really started to take its shape.

Long Reach scored an easy two points, to carry over their scoring run from the end of the first quarter, cutting the Eagles lead to just one point.

After that basket, the two teams traded baskets back and forth the rest of the quarter. Senior Corey Eudell connected on two three-pointers and Ford added seven more points in an extremely fast paced second quarter.

With 1:24 remaining in the half, junior Stafford Smith nailed a three-pointer to extend the Eagle lead to eight points. With a little more basket trading left in the half, Centennial went into halftime carrying a 34-28 lead.

In the second quarter, the Lightning switched to a 2-3 zone which proved to be quite ineffective. The Eagles made three three-pointers as Ford was continuing to find holes in the defense and scoring.

The second quarter was an offensive explosion for both teams and the pace would stay just as fast throughout the rest of the game. Ford and Eudell were carrying the offensive workload in the half and the defense picked up their play. Ford finished the quarter with 15 points, going 5/7 from the free throw line. Eudell had nine points all from beyond the three-point line.

The Eagles didn’t slow down in the second half either.

Senior Andrew Hohmann kicked off the third quarter with his first three points of the game, and extended the lead to 37-28.

After that shot, the Eagles offense went quiet and the Lightning offense picked up their play. Long Reach went on a 7-0 run and pulled within two points.

Senior Sean Taylor decided enough was enough and he made his first basket of the game, nailing a clutch three-pointer to push the Eagles lead to five points.

After a Lightning basket, Taylor went on an offensive eruption, scoring seven consecutive Eagle points, including a smooth finger roll after dicing through the lane, and another three-pointer.

When asked about his break-out in the third quarter, Taylor was confident in his offense but credits it all to his effort and sticking to the game plan.

“I just tried to be that spark for the team. In order to keep our energy up, all five of us needed to have that intensity we always talk about. I just tried to help to control the game by simply trying to make play,” said Taylor

With 2:04 remaining in the third quarter, Centennial held a 49-41 lead but Long Reach wasn’t going away. After some Lightning lay-ups, a Shawn Hill lay-up, and another Eudell three-pointer, Long Reach cut the lead to just five points, trailing 57-52 heading into the fourth.

Just like the third quarter, Hohmann started off the quarter with another three-pointer, extending the lead to 60-52.

After a Taylor lay-up, the Eagles saw their lead grow to eight points. However, the Lightning’s unwillingness to call it quits ultimately propelled them right back into the game.

With 2:13 left in the fourth quarter, the Lightning scored a lay-up and pulled to within just three points.

The Lightning were at the free throw line when they missed the shot and Hohmann had a tremendous effort to grab a very key offensive rebound. After hoisting it down he threw the ball out to the top of the key where it was stolen and taken the other way by Long Reach. The lay-up was missed but he was fouled and went to the free throw line. He connected on only 1/2 shots.

The Eagles were up 67-65 after that miss, but the Lightning got the ball again and tied the game at 67 a piece with 45 seconds left.

The Eagles had the ball and they were inbounding from their bench sideline. Hohmann got ahold of the ball, cut through the lane, and made what was ultimately the game winning shot.

When asked about the play and the shot, Hohmann was very blunt.

“The play was designed and the thought going through my head was to make the shot,” Hohmann stated.

Whatever was going through his head must’ve worked because the Eagles picked up their first in-county win tonight and the offense played out of their mind.

When asked about the offense’s performance, Eudell says that’s always what the Eagles strive for.

“That’s our goal every night, to get in rhythm as our offense flows and to get hot, and tonight we did that. To keep the offense flowing we have to cut down on turnovers and keep making the extra pass to push the ball,” explained Eudell.

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

Girls Basketball Falls to Meade High School

Words and photos: Delanie Tucker

On Wednesday, December 20, 2017 Centennials girls varsity basketball team fell in a close game to Meade High School with a final score of 43-48.

For the entire game the points were coming from both teams at about the same pace, but Meade managed to keep their lead throughout.

Meade maintained their lead by out-scoring Centennial in the first quarter and then focusing on their defense for the rest of the match, closing Centennial down as best they could.

Although Centennial out-scored Meade in the second half of the game, they weren’t able to score enough to take the lead, losing by just five points.

“I think [Centennial] played okay, we didn’t play well in the first quarter and that dug us a hole that we couldn’t get out of for the next three quarters. We out-scored [Meade] over the second, third and fourth quarter,” Robert Slopek, the girls varsity coach, said after being asked what he thought about the outcome, “the first quarter we didn’t come out with the energy we were hoping to come out with and it just dug us a bigger hole than we could manage in this game.”

The result may not have been what they hoped for, but the eagles had multiple plays from both the defense and the offense that had a big impact on the outcome of the game. Additionally, there were also many players that greatly impacted the outcome, players such as sophomore Brook Anderson and junior Chandler Worthy, the two scoring 19 of Centennials 43 points.

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

Breaking: Time Changes for Next School Year Nixed

Words: Delanie Tucker

On December 19, 2017 the Howard County Public School System made their final decision in regards to the opening and closing times of all Howard County schools during the 2018-2019 school year: they will remain the same.

On February 23, 2017, the Board of Education of Howard County released a School Start and Dismissal Time Committee Report which laid out an overview of the process of changing all HCPSS schools. To address the problem of new times, the HCPSS superintendent at the time, Renee Foose, established a School Start and Dismissal Time Committee. They developed a five-phase process to analyze the issue, including multiple opportunities for feedback from the community.

Since then, information has been released that states a meeting held on December 19, 2017 has brought the discussion to an end. The board had made their decision. They have decided that, although there was a lot of effort put into the new models, no change will be made to the schedules. Taking into consideration the impacts of each model, they came to the conclusion that the schools would not benefit from the changes. Instead, it would have majorly increased the amount of money spent on transportation to and from school, adding costs ranging from $6.2 million to $9.1 million per year.

All of the original motions passed that implemented the changes have been rescinded.

According to the February 23, 2017 report, a motion was passed on April 28, 2016 to direct staff to explore models that made it so middle schools and high schools wouldn’t open until after 8:15 AM. At a Board of Education meeting on November 17, 2016 the staff presented four new models for opening and closing times, considering the impact of each. As a result, the staff was directed to move on with stage four, which was to solicit additional stakeholder feedback through community forums and report findings from community forums to the BoE for action. They were also directed to implement an online forum to gather stakeholder feedback regarding the possible models.

The feedback from the community forums was presented to the BoE on January 12, 2017. A Public Hearing was held on February 7, 2017.

Currently, all Howard County schools begin between 7:25 and 9:30. With the high schools being the early birds, most students have to wake up before the sun is even up. In an attempt to  fix the problem, the BoE proposed that high schools would open at 8:30, and the middle schools would follow shortly after at 9:15.

The elementary school times would have been earlier than before. With the model, their school day would have started around 8:15, putting them in a similar situation as the high schools.

As of December 1, 2017, Brian Bassett, a Senior Communication Strategist for HCPSS, stated that nothing had been finalized yet.

“Last year, [The Board of Education] passed a motion that narrowed the school start window from 8:15-9:25 a.m. for next year, but the start times for each level (elementary, middle, and high) have not yet been determined,” Bassett said, “I know that this is something that the Board is still considering and all options are still on the table. Any discussion of the topic will be discussed at a public Board meeting, which has not been scheduled.”

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

You Can’t Read This: It’s Time to Stop Banning Books

The opinions stated in this article do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the Wingspan staff as a whole.

Words: Delanie Tucker

In every county across the globe there are different varieties of books that aren’t allowed in schools, whether it’s for religious reasons or  because that specific county just doesn’t think they’re good for kids. If someone in the school district is persistent enough, they can get basically anything banned, even a book that other people read to their kids, like Harry Potter.

According to Javier Espinosa, The Daily Telegraph’s Educational Editor, one of the more common reasons that Harry Potter was banned is because it promotes witchcraft and the use of black-magic. Additionally, a school in England banned the book because the Bible teaches that wizards exist and that they are very powerful and dangerous.The book was banned so students didn’t get confused when the book talked about witches and wizards as good people, and not as evil beings.

Harry Potter is a common book that kids like to read, at any age. Fantasy worlds build up imagination; that’s the whole point. Counties wanting to ban it just because it portrays witches as possibly being good is pointless. Shouldn’t schools be encouraging their students to learn that there is good in everything, and not that they should automatically assume that something is bad? Board members that don’t like specific books don’t have to go as far as banning their teachers from teaching these books in their classrooms; completely banning the novel from schools is blowing it out of proportion.

Before 2010, the first Harry Potter book was actually taught in Howard County Public Schools as part of its curriculum, but was later taken off. Kristin Shipp, an English teacher at Centennial High School who served on the Textbook Committee, said, “[Harry Potter] did not make it to our official list of ‘anchor texts’ that teachers choose from which was implemented and revised a few years ago.”

So, in short, the book is not banned in our schools, but it is no longer taught in our curriculum.

To Kill A Mockingbird is also a very commonly banned book across the country. The novel is about a young girl’s childhood and how she dealt with growing up in a town full of judgment and stereotypes. When her dad, a high-powered lawyer, is assigned a case defending a black man against an accusation of attempting to rape a white woman, controversy in the town stirs up.

Some schools throughout the country ban it only because of the language the author, Harper Lee, uses, which is reasonable, but some schools have different explanations. Other schools that ban decide to do it simply because it makes their students uncomfortable. If a book teaches a good lesson, which To Kill A Mockingbird does, they should keep it in their curriculum, even if some students don’t enjoy reading it.

Another reason the book is commonly banned, according to history.com, is because of the mention of rape. By high school, teenagers should know and be able to talk about mature subjects. If the book is getting banned just because teenagers aren’t mature enough to read it, there might be some other issues that should be addressed before the actual content of the book. In many schools, students read To Kill a Mockingbird in the 9th grade. This means that most of the readers are between the ages of 14 and 15. By the time they reach high school, most 14-year-olds have covered mature subjects throughout middle school, so talking about rape shouldn’t be too big of a jump.

Considering the things students have access to in their schools, the exposure shouldn’t be a big thing. Kids have had full access to novels and articles containing details about rape, some of which even have their main focus on the topic. In middle schools across Howard County, in which students can be as young as 11 years old, they have a variety of books that in any other county would contradict the decision to ban To Kill A Mockingbird. The titles of these books alone would be enough to send some counties into a frenzy, including Voices of Rape, Drugs and Date Rape, and Everything You Need to Know About Date Rape. If these books are allowed in middle schools, To Kill A Mockingbird should be allowed in high schools.

A couple other books that are commonly banned are Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, most of which are banned due to racial issues. Right along with the others, these books have good messages behind them that high school, or even middle school, students need to read.

In Howard County, these books, apart from Harry Potter, are so largely encouraged to be read that there is a very high chance you’ll have read them for a class by the time you graduate high school.

The banning of these books-and others-should be reconsidered because students can improve greatly in education and maturity after reading them. The students can also pick up a lot of life lessons that they will carry with them for years.

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

Eagles Drop Both Matches In Tri-Meet

Words: Sydney Beck

Centennial wrestling hosted a tri-meet against Oakland Mills High School and Mount Hebron High School on Tuesday, December 19, hoping to come out with a win.

Centennial started off the tri-meet wrestling Oakland Mills. The eagles came out strong hoping to maintain their significant lead and secure a win. Unfortunately Centennial couldn’t keep up when Oakland Mills fought back winning with a total team score of 48-27.

Centennial finished the meet wrestling their long time rivals, Mt. Hebron. Although there was a groundbreaking turnout, the eagles lost with a team score of 54-15.

Centennial wrestler, Zaid Narmouq, had an outstanding win against Oakland Mills as he pinned his opponent in the beginning of the second period. Captain Jason Kraisser also secured a win against both teams tonight. When asked how he and the team are going to prepare for the next match, Kraisser was determined to improve on his performance as well as the team’s as a whole.

“I’m going to look back at my match and fix all the little problems and minute details, as well as give advice to the other guys on the team,” said Kraisser.

Although Centennial has had a rocky start to the season, with a team record of 2-4, there are high hopes that they bounce back quickly and prepare for their next match on Thursday against Winters Mill.

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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Does it Bring Balance?

Words: Julia Stitely

The Star Wars renaissance has had strong movies coming out on top. The Force Awakens had positive reviews and welcomed a new trilogy into the Star Wars canon. Now, after two years of waiting, the sequel to the movie, The Last Jedi, brings mixed feelings from fans and critics. Does it deserve the backlash?

Rian Johnson’s Last Jedi is probably the darkest and most developed Star Wars movie yet. You need to have time to process the movie’s ideas and theme. Even if it is similar to some of the past movies, by the end, it strays away from the usual Star Wars fashion. Characters show their true colors and how much they have changed throughout this movie and the past ones. Old legends have been destroyed and there needs to be change. This could also be a metaphor for the movie. We have had Star Wars for three decades and it can’t be the same thing over and over again. The Last Jedi brings a new flavor to the new trilogy. This means it needs a second or even third viewing for fans to take a breath and understand where Star Wars is now heading.

Throughout the movie, there are brilliant performances to praise, from Daisy Ridley’s Rey to the late Carrie Fisher’s Leia. Another shining performance is Mark Hamill’s, who has been praised for his return as Luke Skywalker and may be a contender for the 2018 Oscar race. Kelly Marie Tran gives a surprising light performance to her character of Rose. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is more menacing than ever.

The Last Jedi is filled with twists and turns. You could be expecting something and then it goes in the opposite direction. The end results will be shocking. They end this movie on a high note, telling us that the battle of the Resistance and the First Order is far from over.

This movie takes a while to process. You need to think about it for a while, but that is what makes a good movie. The finale of this new trilogy will be released in 2019.

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