Following footsteps: Bass furthering military fervor

Leadership, connections bolstering family legacy


Nandini Muresh

Coppell High School senior Trey Bass serves in various leadership positions from Coppell Band to CHS Student Council, building relationships along the way. Bass is following his father’s footsteps in hopes of pursuing a career in the military.

By Shrayes Gunna, Coppell High School

Friendships forged in the fervor of the military are unlike any other. Kenneth Bass, Coppell High School senior Kenneth “Trey” Bass’s namesake and father, attributes these relationships’ sheer value on trust they rest upon: “you’re putting your life in their hands.”

Trey witnessed these deeply-rooted relationships that his father nurtured in his 21 years of service in the United States Air Force daily in Columbia, S.C., his hometown. What for most would have been a close-knit family barbecue or get-together among four looked like stories being passed from military family to military family, and through his father, Trey garnered a sincere appreciation for people.

“Whether it’s student council, or Red Jackets or the band, there’s so many different people, so many different opinions around me,” Trey said.  “Being a leader in such big organizations, it truly is just a blessing to be able to allow myself to change. I don’t have to try to be someone different. Sure, I’m going to make mistakes, but I can accept that I’m going to learn from those mistakes, and the people around me are going to uplift me and encourage me.”

For Trey, the military serves as yet another ground to elicit friendships and explore diverse walks of life.

“That’s the most exciting [thing] about the military, as well as that the military takes in so many different people from all different branches,” Trey said. “You could have a really smart, valedictorian who’s going to be an engineer and then somebody who has no education at all, and he can still come fight for our nation’s freedoms. There’s a common ground; it’s a place that everyone can come. It’s a melting pot.”

While the Bass family’s military history can be traced back through generations, there was one moment in particular that invoked his desire to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Coppell High School senior Trey Bass serves in various leadership positions from Coppell Band to CHS Student Council, building relationships along the way. Bass is following his father’s footsteps in hopes of pursuing a career in the military. (Nandini Muresh)

“The long nights, the trips where he was away, whether it was a drill or he was deployed, I was inspired,” Trey said. “But, I think the pinnacle moment, when I realized that this is what I want to do, was in 2017. My dad was retiring in May of 2017, after 21 years of faithfully serving our country.”

At only 12, Trey was invited by his father to perform the national anthem at his retirement ceremony. Unphased and honored, he did, but alongside his voice was the inception of a goal.

“That was the moment I knew that I had to keep this legacy going, and it wasn’t an obligation,” Trey said. “My dad allowed me to make a choice and I felt like that obligation turned into a passion: to serve my country and to follow the people who’ve gone before me, including my grandparents.”

Soon enough, Trey’s passions fell in line with his military endeavors, by which he aims to become a Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) Attorney. Attorneys offer litigation for members of the military, adjourning Trey’s love for fairness, the law and supporting others (a “know-it-all” his father jokes).

Buoyed by his father’s unending support, he crafted his own path and destination.

“I want it to be for [Trey] because he’s going to be the one that’s going to be putting the work in, getting up at five in the morning, running, physical therapy and chasing excellence,” Mr. Bass said. “[I tell him] to put a dent in the universe. I was an air traffic controller, and so our standard was excellence. We didn’t tolerate just mediocrity; it wasn’t gonna fly because when you’re dealing in the air traffic control world and people’s lives, you have to be very good at what you do. There’s not a lot of margin of error there. I was around high-caliber people, excellent at their jobs, really just excellent at life.”

Within the four walls of CHS, Trey chases excellence, building significant relations in a handful of extracurriculars. It is because he looks for stories and sets differences aside that he has carved himself out as a keen leader both within and outside of school.

“Trey knows no strangers, in his world, everyone is a friend,” CHS Student Council co-sponsor Benjamin Stroud said. “With his collaboration and knowing that not always will he 100% agree [with others], he has gained flexibility and a community-sense of getting the job done, which will propel him in his path.”

Trey recalls the liminal moments in which his father instilled in him core lessons—the sort that he’ll carry along the road ahead. From recognizing that any challenge is 90% mental and that the three key tenets of a leader are maintaining integrity, looking for avenues to be selfless and striving for excellence, Trey dotes on his past, claiming it to be ‘his drive.’

Trey’s deep connections with his history have transcended the test of time, a practice he’s furthered within the microcosm of CHS, developing connections with the many faces that paint the halls. His military dream is for them, for the people that make the nation beautiful, for the unity that spurs from a common goal.

This story was originally published on Coppell Student Media on December 14, 2022.