The Sidekick and KCBY-TV take home numerous national awards


Nandini Paidesetty

The Sidekick took first place in NSPA Website Best of Show and ninth place in Newspaper Best of Show at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention on Nov.12 in St. Louis. The Sidekick executive leadership of junior news editor Sri Achanta, senior editorial page editor Manasa Mohan, senior editor-in-chief Angelina Liu and senior design/interactive editor Srihari Yechangunja led the program to its success.

Sameeha Syed, Staff Photographer

Coppell High School’s media teams, KCBY-TV and The Sidekick, took home 20 total awards with KCBY winning five NATAS Awards at the Lone Star Emmy show and six NSPA Awards at the NSPA St. Louis convention. The Sidekick won five NSPA awards and received four honorable mentions at the NSPA convention.

The Lone Star Emmy state chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) is a service organization dedicated to promoting leadership within the television industry. It recognizes and commends high levels of achievement and strives to further student creativity. 

On Nov. 12, NATAS announced the winners for student production awards. KCBY members were nominated in six categories of which they won five.

KCBY won first place for its newscast, “KCBY Weekly,” under High School-Newscast. The program was directed by CHS 2022 graduates Hally Leonard (program director), Conner Escobar (program director), Jada D’Silva (program director) and Thea Massi (program director).

“North Texas Real Estate Boom” won under High School – News: General Assignment – Serious News. Massi (reporter/producer/camera) and CHS juniors Chloe Kryzak (Camera) and Parker Jones (Camera) contributed to the segment. 

“When you apply yourself and make segments that you’re proud of, it’s really rewarding work,” Kryzak said. “I’m happy I was able to help contribute to the program’s success.”

Nominated twice in sports, KCBY won first place for “Homecoming FB vs.. Plano” produced by Massi (reporter), and CHS senior Mau Sigler (videographer), as well as “Mental Game of Basketball,” contributed to by Massi (reporter/producer), Sigler (Camera), CHS 2022 graduate Will Manchester (Camera), and CHS senior Cooper Leffingwell (Camera). 

“‘Mental Game of Basketball’ was created for a Student Television Network competition,” Massi said. “They gave us a prompt and we had less than five days to complete everything. From someone who played basketball, I understood that story very well.”

For High School-Talent, Massi was awarded first place for her “Thea Massi Talent Reel.”

“I really cared about the projects that I made; I put in so much hard work,” Massi said. “It was so nice to see all my hard work pay off.” 

KCBY also took home multiple awards from the National Scholastic Press Association. It placed second in Broadcast News Program and in Broadcast Best of Show. It took first, seventh, ninth and tenth in Broadcast Feature Story Best of Show. 

“I felt that the students had put together a really good show last year; they were very strong candidates for these awards,” KCBY adviser Irma Kennedy said, “Seeing their growth and desire to learn, I’m just super proud of them.”

The Sidekick made program history by being awarded first place in the Website Best of Show competition in St. Louis.

“I was very proud to see all the hard work that happens in our room on a daily basis be recognized by people on the outside,” The Sidekick adviser Chase Wofford said. “We don’t do what we do for awards; we do what we do to serve our audience and grow our students.” 

The Sidekick senior executive design/interactive editor Srihari Yechangunja placed first in the nation with both NSPA Cartoon of the Year (Comic Strip/ Panel) and Design of the Year (Newspaper Page/Spread). He also placed eighth in Best of Show Newspaper/ Newsmagazine Design. 

“I’m proud of myself,” Yechangunja said. “I feel happy; I really thought that was my best [work] so I’m happy it got recognized.”

The Sidekick senior editor-in-chief Angelina Liu placed third in the nation for Multimedia Journalist of the Year and honorable mention for Multimedia Feature Digital Story of the Year. Senior photo editor Nandini Muresh was awarded honorable mention for environmental Photo of the Year. Senior student life editor Iniya Nathan and senior CHS9 visual media editor Sruthi Lingam were likewise awarded honorable mention for Multimedia Digital Story of the year. Senior executive editorial page editor Manasa Mohan received honorable mention for Marketer of the Year.

“I’m incredibly honored to have won these awards,” Liu said. “But I enjoy doing the work; that holds more weight for me. An award is something you get at the end, but because I’m so passionate about journalism itself that is where I get my satisfaction.”

The Sidekick’s Volume 34 No. 2, “The Midterm Elections are Here,” placed ninth at St. Louis for Newspaper Best of Show.

“There was a lot of effort put into issue two,” page design editor Josh Campbell said. “I had to redesign the center spread and front cover in a day, so I put a lot of hours into it. I think when spring convention rolls around, we can make first place easily.”

More awards will be announced by NSPA at the spring convention on April 20-22, 2023 in San Francisco.

Follow Sameeha Syed (@ssameehaa) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.