Top 5 percent graduating seniors honored at annual Academic Recognition banquet


Sameeha Syed

New Tech High @ Coppell senior Aman Chiniwala embraces his Lakeside Elementary fifth grade Math/Science teacher Melissa Warren after his speech honoring her. Coppell ISD held its annual student recognition banquet commending the top 5 percent of the graduating class on Tuesday.

Sri Achanta, Executive News Editor

The audience erupted with laughter as Coppell High School senior Tyler Schweitzer spoke in honor of his three-time English teacher Benjamin Stroud.

“I’m going to be honest, sophomore year me would be shocked to see me honoring Mr. Stroud,” Schweitzer said. “GT English II was one of the hardest classes I have ever taken. I did not realize how helpful it was going to be until some twist of fate made him my teacher for a second year in a row; However, as the year went on, I realized everything he taught us sophomore year had paid off in a massive way. Senior year came, and, yet again, I had Mr. Stroud to teach me AP Lit filled with all his eccentricities.”

On Tuesday, the Coppell ISD Education Foundation (CEF) hosted its annual Academic Recognition banquet at Coppell Arts Center. Forty-six CHS seniors and two New Tech High @ Coppell seniors were recognized for their academic achievement of ranking in the top five percent of their graduating class. 

“It’s just so heartfelt to see these people grow up, you know, this was when they were virtual,” Stroud said. “Tyler was not one of them; Tyler was there all that year and then junior year watching them grow as writers and now senior year, they grow as lovers of literature – it’s awesome.”

Students were first notified of their acceptance into the banquet in February and were later tasked with selecting a CISD staff member that they had wanted to honor.

“My favorite part is when I go with the students and we invite the teachers,” CEF secretary and Academic Recognition banquet co-chair Roopa Hira said. “That is the best because the teachers don’t know that we are coming and we pull the kids out of class and then we go with them into the teacher’s classroom. The kid goes and hands the teacher an invitation and it’s the best to see. It’s never a dry eye.”

Once chosen, the administrator and the student took a group photo and a “silly” photo to represent their time together. Members of the CEF board compiled the photos and student-written speeches into a program book to follow along with during the presentation and a slideshow that ran in the background. 

Students had the opportunity to honor any CISD staff member that had influenced their education, including teachers from their elementary years.

Coppell High School senior Shriram Janardhan poses for a photo with CHS Choir director Bona Coogle at the Coppell Arts Center on Tuesday. Coppell ISD Education Foundation annually holds its student recognition banquet commending the top five percent of the graduating class. (Sameeha Syed)

“I just really liked how the students spoke about the teachers that they honored,” CISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt said. “It’s always great when they recognize one of the teachers, either Coppell High School or New Tech, but when they go back to middle school and elementary school, I think that’s just really, really special. That just signifies the teachers make an impact on kids, probably more than they ever.”

New Tech senior Aman Chiniwala honored his then Lakeside Elementary School fifth grade teacher and current Lakeside Gifted and Talented teacher Melissa Warren.

“There are very few things that I remember about elementary school,” Chiniwala said. “My friends can attest to that because they know I have yet to grow out of my childhood. However, there’s one thing that I vividly remember from my fifth grade math/science class with Mrs. Warren, and that’s the scientific method. Although science is still my least favorite subject to this day, I can tell you the seven steps of the scientific method in order – and if I’m lucky, in tune.”

The night concluded with a J. Macklin’s catered dinner. Students, parents and educators conversed among one another, ending the evening in smiles.

“I love to hear how our students talk about our teachers,” CHS Principal Laura Springer said. “I like, honestly, sat there and wanted to cry because it’s so beautiful.”

Follow Sri (@sriachanta_) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.