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Students, teachers honored at Education Foundation’s Walk of Fame

Cove Leader-Press
The Copperas Cove Civic Center was decked out for an evening under the stars, with strings of lights and a red carpet, as the Copperas Cove Education Foundation recognized members of the class of 2016 with its annual Senior Walk of Fame.
Attending were 49 seniors, the top 10 percent of this year’s graduating class, along with their parents. Other guests of honor were teachers or staff members from the high school selected by each student as having the most impact on them.
Etta Kay Kirkpatrick, committee chair for the event, served as emcee, which featured a sit-down banquet and dessert.
“Seniors, this night is for you, to recognize and honor you for your academic achievement and to recognize those distinguished teachers or staff that you choose because of the impact they have had on your education,” Kirkpatrick told the students.
Before the meal, a presentation of colors took place along with an invocation and pledges to the flags, and Kirkpatrick recognized the board of trustees, superintendent of schools and other district officials present.
CCISD superintendent Joe Burns spoke to those at the banquet, but not before holding a moment of silence in memory of those the community has lost in recent weeks.
“I would be remiss tonight to come to this podium and not mention a few of our friends who are not with us tonight. This has been a tough spring for Copperas Cove High School and Copperas Cove ISD,” Burns said. He acknowledged the loss of band director Andrew Nixon, and the loss last week of Nancy Talbett, wife of Paul Talbett, the high school tennis coach and a math teacher.
Burns also said early Tuesday morning, they received word of the passing of longtime high school counselor, Belinda Juarez, who lost her battle with cancer. He additionally spoke freshman Cameron Raine, who died after being struck by a car, and thanked John Avritt, senior counselor at the high school, for being there for the students.
“Folks, the folks that I mentioned lived a celebration-filled life. They enjoyed the good times and they enjoyed the success, and none of them would want us to spend this night mourning over them. They would want us to celebrate and take time to recognize the outstanding you people in the senior class,” Burns said.
He additionally recognized Jose’ Lopez, who made it home from a deployment in the Middle East and surprised his daughter, Nadjaliette Hernandez Lopez, in time to attend the banquet with her that night.
Each of the 49 seniors had selected a teacher or staff member who had a significant impact on them and their education. Each attendee received a printed program which included a photo of the student with their teacher, along with a statement of why the senior chose this particular person and one word that described that individual.
Nine teachers were chosen by not just one, but multiple students, as having the most impact on them, to include Charlotte Heinze, Charles Boadu, Patina Harrell, Donna Brewer, Lisa Yates, Patrick Zangarine, Cari Lowery, Randall Parsons, and Scott Lanham.
A poignant moment occurred when Kishan Bhakta took his walk, accompanied by the sisters of Andrew Nixon, the late Pride of Cove band director.
Bhakta chose Nixon as having a significant impact on him because of the “drive to come to class, stand in front of our band, and help us make music during” Nixon’s battle with cancer.
The Walk of Fame is held annually by the Copperas Cove Education Foundation to honor the top 10 percent of the graduating class. The foundation also raises funds not only for the Walk of Fame banquet, but also to fund teacher grants every year for teachers in the Copperas Cove Independent School District.


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