Establishing a momentum of leadership

Agrawal publishing book, helping others through various roles


Aliza Abidi

Coppell High School senior Om Agarwal wrote a physics textbook, AP Physics I Mechanics: Crash Course, to aid struggling classmates. Agarwal balances a tutoring business at his house where he teaches AP physics, AP chemistry and AP calculus while being the president of the Creative Problem Solvers Club in India.

Aliza Abidi

Sreeja Mudumby, Executive Editorial Page Editor

The first thing that Coppell High School senior Om Agrawal noticed in his physics classroom was the swinging pendulum. While other students dreaded the concept, Agrawal saw it as an opportunity

When Agrawal initially joined AP Physics I, he felt more curiosity than fear. 

“I was intimidated by the subject,” Agrawal said. “But when I walked into the class, I was actually intrigued. In the room there was a bicycle tire to study angular momentum and a metal pendulum to study linear momentum. As I started understanding physics more and more during the year, I found that physics was the hidden science behind the motion of everything.”

Taking AP Physics I in his sophomore year, Agrawal noticed his love for the subject did not match that of his peers. After scoring a 5, the highest score,  on the AP exam, Agrawal decided to use his knowledge to help others. 

“I compiled notes from multiple resources and eventually I got a 5 on the exam,” Agrawal said. “So I knew that what I did was working. When I looked back at my physics journey I found that it would’ve been a lot easier if I just had one resource I could use which could guide me throughout the year and help me study for the AP exam.

With this in mind, Agrawal began the creation of his textbook, AP Physics 1 Mechanics Crash Course, using his notes to draft the written portion and drawing the illustrations himself. The book is divided by unit and has a “cram packet” at the end for cumulative review. This entire process took Agrawal a little over two months following his sophomore year.

“There were two goals with the textbook,” Agrawal said. “One of them was to make it as compact as possible, because physics materials are way too long. The second was that language is sometimes a barrier for understanding. If a beginner physics student comes across words like moment of inertia or angular torque, they’re just driven away. So I tried to limit that, too.” 

After publishing his textbook, Agrawal expanded his personal tutoring to both AP Physics I and AP Chemistry. 

Agrawal also had many leadership roles in his high school career, including being a section leader in the CHS Drumline, president of Creative Problem Solving Club, a club over Zoom in India and illustrator for Language Beyond Borders Club. 

With all of this leadership under his belt, Agrawal thinks his empathy is a key factor in leading others. 

“I feel like a lot of my peers in leadership positions kind of push their students a little bit harder than they should,” Agrawal said. “One of the most important things is the ability to look at their perspective, because it allows you to see if you’re too harsh or too lenient.”

CHS AP world history teacher Shawn Hudson thinks that though Agrawal isn’t a vocal leader, he is still a leader nonetheless. 

“He was a quiet leader who demonstrated by doing, not necessarily telling people,” Hudson said. “He got things done, he did quality work. When working in groups, he was not sitting back and slacking. He had this calm, positive demeanor even when he was carrying stress, it didn’t affect how he approached things and kept going no matter what.” 

According to his father Manish Agrawal, Om continues to persist in creating and pursuing opportunities that come his way.

“He always had this leadership and gist to do the best in whatever he does,” Mr. Agrawal said. “We always like to support him in whatever he does in a number of ways. The way we would support him emotionally, and anything that he needs we would always be there. At 6 a.m. if he says he needs something, we would be there. And emotional support is a big part of it.” 

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