Board meeting recognizes award winners, discusses May bond election
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At 7:35 p.m. on Monday, holiday cheer was brought into the Vonita White Administration Building as Denton Creek Elementary fifth grader Shraavya Pydisetti received roaring applause. The holiday greeting card contest winner would not be the last to be celebrated that evening.
Coppell Independent School District director of communications and public relations Tamerah Ringo addressed the crowd to introduce the young artist.
Pydisetti is the 10th winner of the card creating competition, which included entrants from eight CISD middle schools.
“At the secondary level there are lots of different competitions that happen during the year and lots of different opportunities for students that participate in fine arts to be recognized, but we don’t have a lot of of those same opportunities at the elementary level,” Ringo said. “This was an opportunity to engage our artists.”
To determine a winner, the 50 original submissions were trimmed down to 25, and then to a selection of four finalists.
“I have to say that this young lady’s artwork did very very well, she actually had about four times as many votes as every other artist’s artwork that we submitted in the competition,” Ringo said.
Pydisetti thanked her parents for their support, not without a laugh from the audience, as well as her art teacher Nancy Neergaard.
“I really like art and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my parents and their opinions,” Pydisetti said. “I would also like to thank my art teacher for supporting me throughout when I was making my artwork.”
Next to be recognized was Coppell High School’s KCBY adviser Irma Kennedy, who stood alongside senior program directors Matthew Mudrick, Kiley Wecker, Alana Rood, Nick Wilson and anchor Marisa Thakady.
“For the past 10 years that I’ve been at the high school, we’ve been putting together a show that many of you have heard about KCBY,” Kennedy said. “This year we brought home the Pulitzer of scholastic journalism, it’s called the Pacemaker.”
At the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Orlando in November, KCBY submitted a show into the weekly category and came in eighth place in Best of Show. Wilson also received the fourth place national award for NSPA Broadcast Feature Story of the Year along with 2015 graduate Hailey Hess, who is a freshman at the University of Texas.
“It took the right combination of students who were willing to work together and to take a risk with me, to change what we were doing, to make it competitive at the national level,” Kennedy said.
Round-Up yearbook teacher Sallyanne Harris was next to take the mic.
With three years of experience on the yearbook staff, her students competed in the advanced category against over 6,000 entries for the Association of Texas Photography Instructors Fall Photo Contest.
Harris was joined by the winners, senior co-editor in chief Emma Ginnell for honorable mention in advanced landscape and first honorable mention for advanced fashion, senior co-editor in chief Lainey Berlin for honorable mention in advanced landscape and senior design editor Marielle Medina for second place advanced photography for smartphones.
“They really have an eye for photography, they practice all the time, you always see them with a camera,” Harris said. “They’re very passionate about it and very talented.”
This concluded the award portion of the meeting, but opened the mic up to members of the community for Open Forum.
In the open forum, swim team parent Brad Henderson asked the board to consider better swim facilities for Coppell athletes and the community.
Two girls in varsity swim jackets handed Henderson’s proposal to members of the board.
“Coppell schools are one of the reasons my wife and I moved here,” Henderson said. “Coppell is on the top of many ‘bests lists,’ but our swim facility is not.”
Henderson spoke with families who did not join the varsity swim team because of facilities available to them in Southlake.
“We appreciate the [YMCA], but it’s past time,” Henderson said. “Frisco, Grapevine, Farmers Branch, West Plano, East Plano, Lewisville, Southlake, Flower Mound, McKinney Boyd and Allen all much better pools, natatoriums and better facilities for their swimmers.”
Besides the impact it would have on the team, Henderson brought to attention the benefits a new swim facility would have to the community.
“A Coppell natatorium would not only benefit the swim team, but also other sports teams in cross training, as well as the community in other various water programs,” Henderson said. “It can be used to rehabilitate injured athletes, our citizens, scuba diving lessons, aerobics, water polo, synchronized swimming, swim club teams and much more.”
He voiced an issue with the current swim facility in comparison to another school.
“Recently, the Lewisville ISD facility, a new one that just opened in March of 2014, hosted TISCA where 65 schools came to attend, with their families,” Henderson said. “Sixty-five schools. We have a hard time getting another school to come to our facility, let alone a third.”
Henderson then made his final call to action to the board.
“Let’s not cheat our kids and our community by not putting it on the May Bond election, let’s roll up our sleeves and get er’ done,” Henderson said.
This trailed nicely into the next portion of the meeting, which discussed the May Bond election in a Bond Committee Report.
The committee presented it’s recommendations to the board in five categories, student growth solutions, safety and security, technology, renovations and district-wide improvements.
Superintendent Mike Waldrip commended the committee for their work, followed by applause from the audience.
“Without you it’s very difficult for us to make these decisions,” Waldrip said.