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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Flipping the page: New beginnings in yearbook with Hester taking the helm

Minori Kunte
Coppell High School Round-Up yearbook adviser Katrina Hester selects photos taken by juniors Zaara Habeeb and Raashi Kalyani on Friday. Hester previously taught English for the past three years at Plano West High School, and the 2023-24 school year is her first year advising yearbook at CHS.

In the intricate world of high school yearbook production, change is not always easy to digest. For the past several years, Coppell High School’s Round-Up yearbook has been a shining star in the realm of student publications.

However, as the 2023-24 school year commences, there’s a new face leading the program: Katrina Hester.

Hester steps into her role as yearbook adviser with 26 years of experience, a passion for her craft, and a promise to infuse new life into this publication. An educator with a master’s degree in English, Hester’s journey has taken her teaching at North Henderson High School in North Carolina from 2003-06, Eastside High School in South Carolina from 2006-12, Riverside High School in South Carolina from 2012-19, Vines High School in Plano from 2019-20, and most recently, within the halls of Plano West High School from 2020-23.

“Needless to say, the transition for the yearbook staff having to switch from their previous adviser, someone they knew well, to someone new can definitely take some adjustment,” Hester said. “Thus, one of my primary goals is to make this shift easier and to consider each student’s ideas, especially the seniors with leadership roles that have been in Round-Up for the past two years.”

It was in 2019 when her family moved to Coppell that she was driven by a desire to be a part of the school district where her two daughters attend. Tori Hester, her older daughter, is a sophomore, actively engaged in the Coppell Color Guard, and Alexis Hester attends Coppell Middle School East.

The transition from the yearbook staff being advised by Jenna Grinnan to Hester hasn’t been without its challenges. Unexpected change is often met with apprehension when a publication as celebrated as the Round-Up yearbook is involved, but the yearbook team adjusts admirably to their new adviser. 

Coppell High School Round-Up yearbook adviser Katrina Hester explains the senior page layout to senior managing editor Samita Alagashetty. Hester previously taught English for the past three years at Plano West High School, and the 2023-24 school year is her first year advising yearbook at CHS. (Sabah Uddin)

“While it was a little hard at the beginning because we were all so close to Mrs. Grinnan, our staff is definitely starting to come together,” senior managing editor Samita Alagashetty said. “Mrs. Hester is passionate about making the book the best it can be, and she’s had a lot of experience in making yearbooks, so she brings a lot of new ideas to the table, while also knowing how to make a good book.”

The staff is changing design software from Layout Pro to Monarch, as Hester said it is a more advanced Adobe design software. This transition, though initially challenging, showcases Hester’s commitment to evolving and improving the yearbook’s overall quality. 

“Mrs. Hester values our opinions, and I’m really glad that she has given lots of respect towards my role by never making a major change, without consulting me first, along with including me in all staff meetings that affect the way the yearbook is being designed,” senior editor-in-chief Samiksha Chemukula said. “A beneficial aspect of having her as our adviser is I’ve been able to see our staff be more efficient and productive, in comparison to last year, due to how [Hester] structures our class time.”

With a total of 420 pages and 860 yearbooks already ordered one month into the 2023-24 school year, Hester’s ultimate goal is to reach at least half of the overall high school student body, 2,000 yearbooks sold out of 4,000 students.

“While I do miss teaching literature and still have a lot to learn at CHS, I really enjoy being the adviser for yearbook because it’s one of the rare school products sold to students that follows the saying ‘people are paying to buy my homework’ due to how much time and effort the yearbook staff puts into designing each page,” Hester said. “My vision, as the new adviser, is for the yearbook to keep up the well-earned reputation it has, along with the high school student body, as a whole, being able to gain more of an appreciation for this program.”

Hester aspires to lead the yearbook team to victory by winning a Columbia Scholastic Press Association Silver or Gold Crown, with her ultimate goal being winning the National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker award. The staff will have the opportunity to attend  JEA/NSPA Fall/Spring National High School Journalism Conventions and the spring ILPC State Convention, enhancing their skills and ensuring that Round-Up continues to be a standout publication on both the state and national levels.

“As the yearbook team begins designing the 2023-24 yearbook, my overall hope is that I’m able to work with our staff to produce a high-quality publication,” Hester said. “I want to input each member’s valuable ideas, hopefully leading to another chapter of excellence in the history of Coppell High School’s Yearbook publication.”

Follow Rhea Choudhary (@rhea_choud) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributors
Rhea Choudhary
Rhea Choudhary, Staff Writer
Rhea Choudhary is a junior at Coppell High School; she first took a step in D115 in order to pursue photography for The Sidekick. Despite her initial intentions, she is now a second year member, returning as a staff writer. At first, thought she wasn't the best fit for writing, but after deciding to give it a shot, she soon realized that she let her fear keep her from finding what she truly enjoys doing!  As an avid show binger, Rhea’s top three shows include Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hill, as she can go on for hours talking about any of them. She also loves watching classic Hindi movies (with lots of iconic songs and actors in them), along with consistently enjoying listening to her 24-hour Bollywood music playlist, on a loop. Her favorite food is drunken noodles and sushi, along with loving any sweets that contain milk chocolate or caramel. As a member of HOSA, Rhea hopes to pursue a future career in medicine, specifically to become an oncologist. Rhea has completed her Bharatanatyam arangetram, a solo debut/graduation, and is still a dedicated dancer. As an only child that keeps the volume in her house very high at all times, Rhea’s number one friend is Teddy Graham, her mini goldendoodle. Feel free to reach Rhea at [email protected] or follow her on X @rhea_choud.
Sabah Uddin
Sabah Uddin, Staff Writer
Sabah Uddin is a junior and first year staffer for The Sidekick. She joined The Sidekick since she is newer to the district and wanted to find out more about what is happening in the Coppell community.  Sabah is a big fan of organization. She has ten detailed pinterest boards and at least five meticulous spotify playlists (one for each year as well as two different kinds of study music). In her free time she likes reading fantasy books, traveling and eating her favorite candy, sour patch kids. She will hopefully be getting her license in September (although she still struggles with parallel parking). Outside of The Sidekick, Sabah is a member of and competitor for the CHS DECA chapter. She also volunteers at the Islamic Center and works at Gideon Learning Center. She hopes to pursue a business related career since she sees many opportunities in the field. You can contact Sabah through email at [email protected] or on instagram @sabahhh.u

Minori Kunte
Minori Kunte, Staff Cartoonist
Minori Kunte is a junior and the staff cartoonist for The Sidekick. She spends her time singing for the Madrigals and A Capella. In her free time outside of school, she enjoys painting scenic locations she’s spotted and making vlogs of her vacations for herself and her family to watch. Her favorite movie of all time is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. She enjoys watching Anne With An E and The 100, while snacking on Brookside Acai Dark Chocolate and Skinny Pop. She feels inspired when looking at art made by Anna-Laura Sullivan and Bob Ross. You can contact her at [email protected]

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