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Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Smith using CHS roots to make lasting impact on students

Coppell+High+School+English+III+teacher+Sean+Smith+keeps+a+collection+of+old+issues+of+The+Sidekick+from+when+he+served+as+The+Sidekick+entertainment+editor+from+1994-96.+Smith+attended+CHS+from+1992-96+and+his+love+of+words+and+writing+brought+him+back+to+CHS+as+a+teacher.+
Kayla Nguyen
Coppell High School English III teacher Sean Smith keeps a collection of old issues of The Sidekick from when he served as The Sidekick entertainment editor from 1994-96. Smith attended CHS from 1992-96 and his love of words and writing brought him back to CHS as a teacher.

The year is 1992. The place, Coppell High School. 

A teenaged Sean Smith takes his first steps through the hallways of what was a much smaller CHS. Little does he know, more than two decades later he would return, but not as a student.

Motivated by a passion for words, Smith returned to CHS in 2014 to teach English III.

“I absolutely love the Coppell community mainly because of the diversity,” Smith said. “It’s an ideal place to raise your family and then the fact that I’m a teacher, being able to work in the community I live in is just fantastic. There’s nowhere I’d rather teach.”

Smith’s influence at CHS runs deep, having been the entertainment editor during his time on The Sidekick. As an avid fan of popular miscellaneous bands in the Dallas area, music played a big part in his teenage years. 

Coppell High School English III teacher Sean Smith keeps a collection of old issues of The Sidekick from when he served as The Sidekick entertainment editor from 1994-96. Smith attended CHS from 1992-96 and his love of words and writing brought him back to CHS as a teacher. (Kayla Nguyen)

“I’ve always been passionate about the written word,” Smith said. “I got into journalism my freshman year of high school and then was able to start writing in my sophomore year. I probably would have pursued journalism, but I was just so drawn to the teaching side of life that I never really stuck with journalism after high school.”

In Smith’s time on The Sidekick, Smith spent the majority of his time reviewing bands performing in the Dallas area. Through the years, Smith has carried the lessons he learned while on staff and applies them in every venture he pursues.

“I was here from ‘93 to ‘96, and it was by far my favorite class,” Smith said. “We had a great group, great editors. When you work with a team you learn the hierarchy of authority. You learn how to push yourself, you learn that there’s more inside of you than you thought.”

To this day, Smith’s love for words carries through in his lessons as well as his personal hobby of songwriting.

“I dabble with the guitar and I’m really passionate about music,” Smith said. “Since middle school, probably about the time I discovered Bob Dylan, music’s been a big passion of mine. I’m just not a talented musician, but I love the idea of creativity. I’m not an artist, but I’ve always loved poetry. All songs are basically poetry put to music.”

Returning to CHS was quite the bizarre experience for Smith. Surrounded by former classmates and teachers in the form of colleagues, Smith’s homecoming felt as if it was just that, coming home.

“At first it was surreal because [Principal Laura] Springer was the girls basketball coach when I was here,” Smith said. “I still call her coach and everybody else calls her Miss. I’m like, ‘who’s Miss Springer?’ Linda Moore and Kim Pierce [Smith’s former teachers] insisted from day one that I call them by their first name and that is the weirdest thing. I’m 10 years in and I’m still not really comfortable calling them by their first name.”

Helping Smith along his journey were his parents, Dan Smith who was a small business owner and Melissa Smith who taught honors and GT English at CHS for 10 years.

“With teaching I saw with my mom her students returning to her and being able to watch them grow and develop, the rewards are just immense,” Sean Smith said. “It’s like we’re a part of this kindling to the fire that is our students. We don’t completely change the world, but we have these little impacts and they compound and seeing that with my mom and knowing that I had some sort of potential skill there to have an impact on other people’s lives.”

Coppell High School English III teacher Sean Smith keeps a collection of old issues of The Sidekick from when he served as The Sidekick entertainment editor from 1994-96. Smith attended CHS from 1992-96 and his love of words and writing brought him back to CHS as a teacher. (Kayla Nguyen)

When you run into Smith in the hallway, it isn’t his tall stature or laid back manner that jumps out at you, it’s his genuine spirit.

It’s like having that other safe adult you can have and lean on at school,” senior Ella Spiller said. “His impact on students is definitely changing a lot of people’s lives. He’s one of those teachers that you know would do anything for you if you need. If he knew stuff was bad at home, he would be one of those teachers to say, ‘how can I get you groceries?’ He’s definitely one of those good teachers that you see in movies.”

His kind spirit isn’t limited to his students. Anyone that interacts with Smith immediately notices how genuine he is, and it isn’t anything new.

He’s the same person, he’s amazing,” said AP Biology teacher Dr. Bianca Benitez, who attended CHS with Smith and graduated in 1994. “I don’t get to see much of him but when we pass each other in the hallway, it’s kind of like going back in time, and we catch up. There’s moments where I can kind of see us in the hallways as students, my mind kind of makes that split between that was then and this is now and it’s really special, it’s a full circle moment.” 

Smith incorporates his personality and background in his classroom. Ultimately, his goal remains pure and simple: to serve.

I just like the idea of being a servant,” Smith said. “What I want to do is instill in [my students] that as they live their lives, they should always want to learn and grow. I think the idea behind being a servant and putting the needs of others before your own in order to help them have more fulfilling lives is kind of a philosophical approach.”

Follow Nyah (@nyah_rama) and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributors
Nyah Rama, CHS9 Editor
Nyah is a junior and the CHS9 editor for The Sidekick. Although she was inspired by Rory from Gilmore Girls at 9 years old, Nyah’s journey in the school newspaper and journalism started when she won Writer of the Week during a journalism summer camp. Outside of writing for The Sidekick, Nyah is also an editor for the magazine TaHB, which focuses on topics and events in the science and medical field. When not working on a story for The Sidekick, struggling through IB classes, or editing for TaHB magazine, Nyah enjoys critiquing reality TV with her friends over FaceTime, listening to female rap artists such as Cardi B, Saweetie and Latto, and keeping up with her football team, the New York Jets. As a proud New Jerseyan, born and raised for 5 years, Nyah attributes her opinionated personality to her Jersey origin. She loves everything about the American Northeast: people’s aggressive attitudes and aggression, and the busy city lifestyle. To discuss Patrick Mahomes’ football career, share opinions on reality TV characters, or discuss rap culture, you can contact Nyah by email at [email protected] or on Instagram (@nyah_rama).
Kayla Nguyen, Executive Photography Editor
Kayla is a junior and the Executive Photography Editor for The Sidekick. She loves music and trying out new coffee shops with friends. Kayla loves taking photos and is especially a fan of sports photography. Outside of The Sidekick she loves running her digital camera instagram account (@kaylasdigicams) and going to work.

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