Kass maintains healthy balance of social life and schoolwork, earns salutatorian


Photo by Sakshi Venkatraman.

Sakshi Venkatraman, Executive News Editor

In her 12 years of education, Coppell High School class of 2017 salutatorian Rachel Kass has not only pushed herself, but has pushed the people around her.


“She makes me want to be a better teacher,” said CHS Geometry and Algebra II teacher Jessica Caviness, who was Kass’s guest at the 2017 Academic Recognition Banquet. “She motivates me. Whatever I did, somehow I reached her, so I want to try and keep reaching my students.”


With a tie for the highest GPA in the senior class (tied with valedictorian Revant Ranjan), it is easy to assume that Kass’s life is consumed by solely academics. According to Kass, however, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.


“Quite frankly, [being named salutatorian] is a great accomplishment but it ceases to matter in a month,” Kass said. “After that, [my rank] is kind of irrelevant to me and my life.”


No matter the recognition, Kass’s dedication to schoolwork and outside commitments has always been strong. According to her family and teachers, this is what sets her apart from other students.


“Working to get good grades can be challenging sometimes,” Kass said. “A lot of it is just building a work ethic. I think my most important takeaway from high school is that I’ll go into college with a good work ethic and I know how to study because I’ve been doing it for so long.”


Mother Glenda Kass has seen that work ethic first-hand since her daughter was in kindergarten.


“All the way back to [Town Center Elementary] and [Coppell Middle School North] and into high school she has been a good student,” Mrs. Kass said. “She does her work timely and budgets her time. She has applied herself and been diligent; I’m so proud of her, I’m thrilled.”


As Kass’s favorite teacher, Caviness recognized her special qualities in freshman Geometry and sophomore Algebra II.


“She’s not boastful, she doesn’t answer every question out loud, she doesn’t dominate the conversation,” Caviness said. “She just kind of sits back and participates when appropriate. She works hard, but I don’t think grades are her whole life, which I think is so important.”


Those who know her speak to Kass’s social life and dry sense of humor, both things she maintained while under immense academic pressure.


“I was really serious and school oriented my freshman year and [academics] is pretty much how I spent all my time,” Kass said. “If I could go back, I would change that. Over the past couple of years, I have obviously gotten more social and loud and I’m a little less focused in class. It’s been a lot healthier of a balance.”


In the fall, Kass will be attending the University of Michigan in hopes of becoming a civil engineer.


“I’m really excited to be going somewhere so far away because I’ll be able to totally start over in an environment where there won’t be any preconceived notions about me,” Kass said. “In 10 years, I want to be living somewhere on the East Coast or in Chicago and maybe considering starting a family.”


As her time in high school comes to a close, Kass hopes the classes that come after her maintain the same balance that she did.


“Don’t necessarily focus on getting good grades, focus on building good habits to get there,” she said. “It’s not about how well you can finish a project last minute but it’s about how well you can manage your time and how you can work to set yourself up for success.”