CHS welcomes PSA academy

Freshman Mabry Culp serves as president of the new PSA Acadamey at CHS. Photo by Brian Hwu.

Jane Kim
Staff Writer

It can be an overwhelming experience to be one of 2,700 students at CHS and to feel like a small speck in a large crowd. But the establishment of the three new academies at CHS—essentially small schools within a school—is designed to further provide opportunities and experiences for the students enrolled in them.

The idea first emerged in October 2006 and then grew into a plan of action in the spring of 2007.  Starting in 2010, incoming freshman and select groups of sophomores would serve as the ‘guinea pigs’ to this brand-new education plan.

“I think every new program has got its growing pains,” said Public Service Academy (PSA) team lead Brenda Brinkman said, adding that there are challenges of so many middle school students coming into the high school. “Even though our academy has 87 freshman in it, those 87 freshman are still stuck smack dab in the middle–the campus has almost 2,700 [students].”

The PSA is an academy specifically designed to prepare students for careers and further study in educational and medical fields.

“Health Science Technology and the Ready, Set, Teach program are both young, credible programs standing alone,” Brinkman said.

She added that the whole concept of the PSA was to take the existing program and determine how they could make those programs even better by merging them to meet the needs of the students.

“The academy attempts to base everything the students do around public service, and to try and instill in you a will to serve the community,” PSA freshman Emilio Morlett said. “So far, we have just been looking over a few projects to help out Coppell and to try and influence just as many CHS students as possible to do the same.”

Freshman Mabry Culp serves as president of PSA.

“The first thing I always do, every Monday, is send out an e-mail to the entire PSA academy and just encourage everyone to have a good week,” Culp said.

Culp adds she keeps everyone updated with what is happening in the academy during the week.

“I always meet with Mrs. Brinkman and the other officers every Monday after school just to talk about what we are doing, what we are starting, what’s going to go on this week, and that’s when we talk about our service projects,” Culp said.

Culp said she also leads the academy meetings and meets with special guests and speakers. One of the activities the PSA participated in is the awarding of the Hometown Hero. On Oct. 15, before the Coppell-Southlake Carroll football game, the candidates for Hometown Hero were walked onto the field, and the winner was announced. This year’s recipient was Todd Storch, the founder of Taylor’s gift, in honor of his daughter Taylor Storch. Taylor was an eighth grader at Coppell Middle School East last year and died in a skiing accident over spring break.

Currently the academy is working on Project Jackson, which helps raise scholarships for diabetic children to go to Camp Sweeney, one of the few camps in the country specially designed for kids with diabetes.

“The most challenging part of the academy is just making that kind of leap of faith of stepping into something new, because this is the first year for the academy,” Morlett said. “It’s been going great so far.”