Students braving impacts of power outages to spend time with family

Since+Monday%2C+Coppell+residents+have+been+experiencing+harsh+winter+weather%2C+power+outages+and+water+shortages.+As+a+result%2C+many+have+turned+to+playing+board+games+and+spending+time+in+the+snow+and+with+family.+Graphic+by+Akhila+Gunturu

Akhila Gunturu

Since Monday, Coppell residents have been experiencing harsh winter weather, power outages and water shortages. As a result, many have turned to playing board games and spending time in the snow and with family. Graphic by Akhila Gunturu

By Victoria Hertel, Coppell High School

This week snow fell for hours in Coppell and its surrounding cities. Eventually, many Coppell High School students and faculty started to lose electricity, Internet access and water due to the freezing conditions. 

Coppell ISD closed all campuses from Tuesday to Friday. Throughout this time, CHS students have been engaged in activities different from their usual schedules.

“I’ve been crocheting and playing the piano whenever the electricity comes on,” CHS junior Amita Satish said. “[I’ve been having] a lot of family time. We’re all huddled right next to the fireplace.”

Meanwhile, CHS senior Qi Ling Yeo has been spending her time creatively through painting and baking.

“I’ve been painting and I bake when the power is on,” Yeo said. “I wouldn’t have done [these things if the power was on]. In my free time I usually watch movies, Netflix and YouTube but now with the power out I couldn’t [do those things].”

CHS junior Clarissa Canon has been studying for the March SAT and spending time with her family.

“I have been studying for the SAT,” Canon said. “I have also been playing board games and doing arts and crafts with my family. I wasn’t able to go to soccer practice this week and we didn’t have power for a couple of days; we had to modify cooking and were limited on water and groceries.”

CHS junior Rohan Palavali has been spending his time outside in the snow. His family moved in with his cousin, CHS sophomore Neel Chalemela, due to power outages in his house until Wednesday.

“I’ve been going on walks in the snow,” Palavali said. “My sister and I built a snowman and we went over to [a friend’s house] and had a snowball fight with her. I’ve been going outside more and this doesn’t happen often so we need to take advantage of it. I normally wouldn’t go outside this much.”

During the rolling blackouts CHS students noticed how dependent their lives were on electricity and WiFi. The extended power outages are unprecedented for many households.

“My whole life is dependent on electricity and that’s something I found out throughout this time period,” Satish said. “It was crazy even going into my closet, needing to turn on the lights and [remembering] that the electricity was not there.”

Yeo has been reminded of the importance of conserving energy after the blackouts.

“I am now more mindful of energy conservation and of when I am using electricity,” Yeo said.

Satish’s family started adjusting their daily schedules in order to make the most of their time with electricity. 

“We had to wake up at odd times. Whenever the electricity came whether it be 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. – we woke up,” Satish said. “I woke up at 4 a.m. yesterday and we were like, ‘we need to take a shower and this is when we can actually cook food because it’s the only time we’ll get heated water.’ We also put all of our devices to charge.’”

This week’s below freezing temperatures will go down in Coppell history. This is the first time temperatures this low have occurred in decades. 

Overall, CHS students are thankful for CISD closing their campuses. The families of Coppell are affected by the weather and many continue to worry about its impacts.

“Not having to worry about school while worrying about power or where we’re going to stay has been a blessing to us,” Palavali said. “It’s one less thing to worry about.”

This story was originally published on Coppell Student Media on February 19, 2021.