Gentle personality, strong soul: Harris leaves legacy at Coppell after nine years of shaping student journalists


Angelina Liu

Coppell High School Round-Up adviser Sallyanne Harris discusses the end of year banquet with CHS senior section editor Naomi Kho in the yearbook room on May 6. Harris is retiring at the end of this school year after nine years of teaching at CHS.

Varshitha Korrapolu, Staff Writer

A107 safe haven. “Yerd Herd.” Familial feelings. 

Even though she realized the power of creating impactful relationships with her students late, Coppell High School Round-Up adviser Sallyanne Harris emphasizes bonding in her yearbook room. 

“[Harris] calls the yearbook family ‘Yerds’ – yearbook nerds,” CHS Round-Up junior sports photography editor Priyanka Prasad said. “She always refers to us as a big family and she treats us that way. It’s just very comfortable. Our room number is A107, so we always refer to that as the A107 safe haven because she always makes it an environment so comfortable and so welcoming.”

From the beginning of students’ journeys in Round-Up, Harris instills the importance of deadlines in journalism, AP Style guidelines, writing and photography skills in order for students to be successful in the yearbook program. 

“There’s no wiggle room in journalism,” Harris said. “You either make the deadline or you miss it. If you miss it, chances are that your readers aren’t going to see what you’ve done. In order to meet deadlines, we have really great systems in place that keep this machine going.”

Students and teachers alike wonder what Round-Up will look like without Harris’ years of expertise and calming mentality as Harris will retire after nine years of advising the yearbook program at CHS. 

“My heart sank [when I found out that Harris is retiring],” KCBY-TV adviser Irma Kennedy said. “This has definitely been a year of change for all of us. I think we are all trying to hold onto whatever we have that’s been constant. It’s been difficult to imagine walking down A-hall next year and her not being here. It will be a big hole that I will feel.”

Harris is retiring because she meets the rule of 80 – when teachers’ ages and years of experience add up to 80, they are eligible for retirement. Furthermore, she also wants to move closer to her children and grandchild in Florida. 

Harris’ comforting nature carries outside of A107 and yearbook as Kennedy reminisces about a bus ride to a 24-hour clinic when she got sinusitis during a trip – a Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association National High School Journalism Convention to Washington D.C.

“We laughed the entire time,” Kennedy said. “We took a picture together on that bus ride. As crappy as I felt because I had sinusitis, we just made the best of it, and I just always remember how special that trip was. We were just giggling, probably because we were tired too. I think she was trying to entertain me and get my mind off of how I was feeling. We were like two school girls again.” 

Over the years, Harris has enhanced the yearbook program at CHS. She wants the staff to focus on seniors as she believes  students will remember their senior year yearbook for the rest of their lives. In addition, Harris has made Round-Up an award winning program as the staff received the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Gold Circles award in 2019 among several others. 

Harris’ students and colleagues admire her strength as Harris won her battle against breast cancer two years ago. 

“She is truly one of the strongest people ever, and she is a cancer survivor,” senior Round-Up editor-in-chief Melinda Munshi said. “She just came back the second semester [of the last school year] stronger than ever and ready to help us make the yearbook. Honestly, she came back like nothing ever hurt her.”

Over her time at CHS, Harris made a lasting impact as the Round-Up adviser as she inspired, encouraged and motivated the people around her. 

“As you go on with your life and see people in their own lives deal with hardships, you can’t help but notice how strong they are and Mrs. Harris is just the embodiment of that,” Munshi said. “As much as she is passionate and caring and loving and tender, she is also so strong. She is strong in what she wants, what she believes and what she values in life. I’ve seen her go through a lot, and she’s been so inspirational to me. Even in the yearbook realm, she will fight for us. She will stand up for us.” 

Follow Varshitha (@varshitha1128) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.