Congratulations to our eight amazing seniors! These wonderful individuals grew as they learned and challenged each other, becoming, in their own words, a family. They are about to set off into the wide world beyond the Trinity Academy walls. But before they do, we want to share some of their thoughts about life as a Trinity student. We sat down for a conversation with each senior. Here are reflections from our diverse, talented Class of 2019.
All are welcome to join us at the Commencement Exercises on Saturday, June 8, at 2:00 pm, at Hinson Baptist Church . We will celebrate with a reception immediately following the ceremony.
Davis heads down to Salem this fall to study Environmental Science at his top pick school, Willamette University. He is passionate about finding solutions for climate change, an interest that grew the past four years he worked with conservationists at the Portland Zoo. In particular, he wants to study the use of solar panels as an alternate power source. We have great hope with a student like Davis looking out for our future!
Davis, I hear you've been called "an original," and that there are only two of you left. What's that all about? What has been a highlight of your six years at Trinity?
There were 15 students total when I started at Trinity in 7th grade, when we were located in the basement of Northminster Presbyterian. Luke and I are the last two students to have been at the first "original" location, and well, we are quite proud of that!
I have so many memories. I remember playing quadrat in the old parking lot where we would have to imagine the boundary lines after the rain washed away the chalk. We would argue fiercely about if the ball touched the invisible line! I also remember walking to Luke's house to work on a group project... the only problem is we had to team-lift a heavy, huge wooden box "instrument" the whole way home! I also remember the field trip to Astoria with our 9th grade class of guys. I was having some health issues, so when the class went for a hike, Mr. Mertz and another classmate stayed back with me, and we had a great conversation.
What has the Trinity community of learners taught you that you will take with you to college?
When I looked into various colleges, one of the most important qualities to me was to find a school with small class sizes and easy accessibility to the professors, which was definitely one of the best things about being here at Trinity. In this small community environment, I learned that my voice matters. I was also given the opportunity to take various leadership roles; I think that will be helpful as I head out to college. I was taught how to write a good essay, how to build a sound argument, and how to support it with the text.
Do you have a favorite book you read at Trinity?
Crime and Punishment was amazing. I loved delving into the mind of Raskolnikov to understand his point of view. It was fascinating how he saw the advance of history hinging on the action of a singular person, such as when the rebellion of Caesar lead to the establishment of the Roman Empire. I loved these Humane Letters discussions.
Any words of wisdom for us?
Find a friend in whom you can confide, someone who will listen to you and respect you. At Trinity, I had many opportunities to share and be vulnerable as we learned from one another, which built true friendship.
Kevin is Corvallis-bound this fall to pursue a degree in Nursing or Marine Biology at Oregon State University. Kevin was recruited to row on the OSU rowing team.
What was a favorite class at Trinity?
I loved taking Biology with Dr. Clark. That definitely influenced my interest in going into science in college.
I have favorites from each year! I remember really getting into the groove of how to discuss literature by the end of Freshman year when we read To Kill a Mockingbird. Then Sophomore year, I loved Animal Farm. This year we read one of Flannery O'Conner's short stories, Parker's Back, which was totally fascinating.
What challenged you in your Trinity years?
I am naturally a quiet and stoic person and I was really stretched to participate in class conversations. As part of my rowing team, I learned a lot about the importance of teamwork, really embracing each person's importance to the overall team. This came into play at Trinity; I was part of the team in our class discussions. Also, my Sophomore year Math teacher required us students to be self-motivated in our studies. It taught me a lot about being self-governing and responsible for my own work.
Any advice for your fellow students?
After joining my rowing team as a Sophomore, I had to balance the demands of a busy school and sports schedule. What I recommend to my fellow students is, "Don't waste time!"
Max will be attending the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN, and plans to major in Computational Biology, with special interest in Ecology and Genomics. He plans to continue his singing career in Notre Dame's Liturgical choir and perhaps also the Glee Club.
What is one of the most compelling readings from your years at Trinity?
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics stands out to me as it drew a new picture of the concept of virtue. Aristotle wrote that virtue is found in the balance between the extremes of excess and deficiency, and a person is to be judged according to the progress/digression he or she is making toward the good. This reading brought to mind how I need to consider the unique gifts of each person and how those gifts shed light on what virtue looks like in that particular person; virtue is not static or concrete.
Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities was also a powerful read and has reverberated in me to this day. As I read through the story, the character of Sydney Carton moved me as an example of living out one of my favorite Scripture verses, John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." I was further convicted that our lives are meant to be lived out in day-to-day acts of selfless love, and this book triggered a new desire in me to live that way.
What was a favorite class of yours?
I loved the New Testament course. We took an analytical approach to the Scriptures to look at what really happened, what Jesus was really saying. I find myself pondering Scripture and how it applies to my life in a whole new way.
Max, what are ways you grew through your years at Trinity?
I was really challenged in drama to push through my naturally shy tendencies. I found that now I am comfortable with approaching others to initiate conversation. I also learned through the drama process of "putting on a character" that I can better empathize with other personalities.
I have learned through the experience of being in a small class how to give and take and relate with other people who are different than me. I have grown in my ability to live in community, to build friendships, to support others, and to deal with normal things of life such as noise and irritations.
Funny enough, if it weren't for Trinity, I don't think I would have found my love of singing! It all started here with my 9th grade choir, then Trinitones, then voice lessons and joining the Pacific Youth Choir and Cantores in Ecclesia.
What would you like to share with other Trinity students?
You only get out of something what you put into it. Decide to like what you are doing. For example, in drama, pour yourself into your character. You are missing out if you don't work at enjoying it!
Also, no matter how busy school gets, make time for real friendships.
Devyn will be traveling to California to attend Westmont College in the fall. She is planning to study Psychology or Communications with a minor in Spanish. Devyn has a particular concern for the importance of mental health and would like to pursue being a therapist for high school students.
She is looking forward to joining a school that has a strong Christian community. On her visit to campus, she noted that the students were really engaged in their classes and that the spiritual life is of importance.
Devyn has also signed on to swim for the Westmont women's swim team for their inaugural season.
What was your favorite class?
Oh, I loved Humane Letters all four years! I loved learning to analyze the characters from the books we read and to learn from the characters themselves. I also gained so much from hearing my classmates' perspectives.
Augustine's Confessions has been an important book for me, both intellectually and spiritually. Augustine was a terrible person at the beginning of the book, and then he changed dramatically. He wrestled with trying to explain the vast difference between God and self and found that he couldn't succeed because God and self are only complete as one whole.
I also loved reading selections from Dante's The Divine Comedy and fully intend to read it in its entirety some day soon!
Devyn, you played some fun roles these past two years in the drama productions. Which role did you enjoy the most?
Drama provided one of my biggest challenges and opportunity for growth. I definitely loved depicting the playful character Ariel in The Tempest.
When you look back on your years at Trinity, what are you grateful for?
I came to Trinity as an 8th grader, and these past 5 years have given me a deeper understanding of what it means to learn. I have also learned the importance of thinking deeply about every aspect of my life, including my relationship with God. I've learned that if you are not thinking, you are not truly living. I am so thankful for my teachers' guidance.
This year in Calculus, Mr. Q led us through a logic exercise called the Theorem of Beliefs. Using set theory, we needed to write proofs for the "Existence of Objective Truth," "Who is God?," and "Does God Exist?" This exercise really challenged me to think deeply and to be able to defend my statements. I have a lot more clarity now of what I believe and why.
Any words of encouragement?
Enter into life in community. Talk about God with others. Talk about finding purpose in life. Talk about what God has called you to be. Talk even about friendships!
Luke is excited to become an official member of the Fighting Irish at the University of Notre Dame next year. He cites many reasons for his excitement; the brotherhood and spiritual life he witnessed in dorm life, the rigor of the studies, and having classmates that will help push him to excel. Oh, and football.
He had the opportunity to audition for the Liturgical Choir and has secured a position singing Baritone. As far as majors go, well, that is a question he plans to ponder this summer!
What is a favorite book you've read?
Two books come to mind. We just finished readingBrothers Karamozov which was a combination of big Russian literature, in-depth philosophy, poetic characters, and dramatic plot development. I loved how Dostoyevsky would dedicate pages to describe visions or dreams through which we could see the character coming to a new realization of himself.
The other book is Augustine's Spirit and the Letter. Augustine explains Paul's letter to the Romans, particularly on the relationship between works and faith. Paul says a lot about the power of faith and how it is not what we do that earns us salvation. It was very helpful for me to have Augustine's interpretation of these writings to clarify the meaning of these dense Scriptures.
Do you have an accomplishment of which you are particularly proud?
In 10th grade when I heard my composition for string quartet played live for the first time at the Fine Arts Night, that was just a mind-blowing moment for me. Mr. Fotinakis is a great music teacher, and that 10th grade music theory class got me started down the path of music composition and production that I love so much now.
How about a fun memory?
What comes to mind immediately is our March Madness basketball tournament held each year during lunch. Teams are formed across all the grades and the competition out on the courtyard is fierce!
I also remember reading Watership Down with Mr. Mertz in 8th grade. We drew slips of paper to get our rabbit names and our den job assignments. My classmate Cai got the top pick of chief rabbit, while I got "Mutter." (Mother.) The hazards of an all-male colony (and class)!
When you look back on your years at Trinity, what are you grateful for?
I am thankful to have the experience of a small community. I learned to work with the people who happened to be around me, and I became friends with people I may never have become friends with in other circumstances.
Trinity is good at teaching us how to think. That's why we study Latin, that's why we learn the five paragraph essay, and that's why we have an accelerated mathematics program. It's all a part of training us to think, to be able to form intelligent arguments and to be able to express our ideas fluently.
What would you like to tell your fellow Trinity students?
Commit to learning. Once you appreciate the value of your education, then learning because extremely enjoyable. And you can do a lot more than you realize at first!
Ian will be attending Benedictine College in Atchison, KS. He is considering a major in business with a concentration in music, specializing in audio engineering. He was attracted to the strong community at Benedictine as well as the generous scholarships they awarded him.
Hands down, my favorite class was Latin IV with Miss Hambley. It was a class of four students, and we spent the year conversing about our translations of Virgil.
I really enjoyed reading To Kill a Mockingbird freshman year. I loved the character of Atticus and the theme of undying love that was woven throughout the text. Then this year, I enjoyed the break from our philosophy texts with the short storyParker's Back. I kinda saw myself in the person of Parker at the end of the story. Read it sometime if you haven't!
Do you have a particular accomplishment in which you are specifically proud?
I am proud of the in-depth study I did for my research paper during 9th grade Project Week. My topic was the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. I focused on two particular scientists, one on each side of the race. I watched many documentaries and dug up lots of interesting facts, which led me to the question "Who really won the space race?"
How about a favorite memory?
I remember our Latin IV class finding at a particular word in The Aeneid that made no sense in the context of the text. We searched for a couple days looking through other Latin scholars' translations to determine the precise meaning of this word. In the end, we couldn't find an answer, but we all had a great time exploring the question!
I also really loved discussing the Catholic Catechism in Catholic Doctrine. It helped me understand with more clarity the Catholic and Protestant views on topics such as confession and forgiveness.
Advice to pass along?
Be open to new ideas. Don't stick to your own ideas just because that's what you've always thought. Allow yourself to be swayed by good arguments. And don't be afraid of being wrong!
Claire is heading to Reed College where she is going to explore Linguistics and Mathematics as majors. She was particularly excited about the interdisciplinary approach offered at Reed. Her interests in linguistics include studies in language logic, speech therapy and psychology of language.
What was a favorite class for you?
In the fall this year, we worked on independent math projects. I chose to create a speech recognition software in which the program would measure the sound waves produced by speaking vowel sounds. I was so excited when the program correctly identified vowels spoken by different classmates!
I read my favorite book in French class with Madame McAlpine. The Silence of the Sea is a French novel about the occupation of France during WW II. It was fascinating to see the war through the French perspective, what it was like to be an occupied nation. As I read it in the original French, I really enjoyed the poetry of the language.
What did you find challenging?
Having a set curriculum was a challenge for me since I like to have options! However, I figured out a solution by studying French with Madame McAlpine beginning my freshman year. I also took Dr. Robertson's college-level Ancient Greek course which he taught at Trinity after school.
What are some of the takeaways from your years at Trinity?
I learned to be intentional about what I'm learning and intentional about my friendships. I was in a class with kids that come from very different backgrounds and that helped me think through what I believe. We had opportunities to discuss our varying points of view, we had our disagreements, and yet still became the best of friends. I learned that behind every belief, every doctrine, was a person.
In a world that seems so hostile, it was wonderful to learn in a safe place like Trinity. We didn't have to be "on guard." Here, it's family. My classmates are my brothers and sister. There are no social pressures, and we are free to learn.
What would you like to share with other students at Trinity?
You will get out of Trinity what you put into it. Given the right mind set, you can learn anything you decide to learn!
And, Dr. Clark is the best. She's always got your back!
Emmanuel is looking forward to studying a combination of Applied Mathematics and Journalism at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska this fall. He has a dream of someday becoming a sports analysis writer.
What do you like about the curriculum at Trinity?
I like that we have all our classes together. I like that as we learn together, we grow in unity with one another.
I also like being exposed to many different genres of literature. After reading Crime and Punishment, I had a new love of murder mysteries. To Kill a Mockingbird gave me a new appreciation and understanding of the history of that time period. It also instilled in me a social awareness of the need to respect all people.
I still remember the first day I came to visit Trinity and met Ian and Luke. I noticed how they seemed to be such good friends, and I knew instantly that I wanted that kind of friendship. And here we are, four years later, and I don't go a day without being thankful for my seven classmates.
I also remember the new student orientation during the summer of 2015. We broke into partners with the goal of discovering something we held in common with each other. My partner was Mr. Mertz. I still remember that we found out that we had both taken a trip to Canada when we were 8 years old. That has stayed with me.
In what ways did you see personal growth?
I was very surprised that I grew to love studio art! I always had a feeling of dread at the idea of taking an art class. Then this year Mr. Defilippis saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. He saw where my art had potential and spent a lot of time helping me develop that skill. Art is now one of my favorite classes.
I also learned to adapt to the rigors of our Trinity curriculum. It took about two years before I accepted that I needed to change some things in my life. I needed to implement personal discipline in the ways I spent my time. I needed to grow in my work ethic. I consider that a real turning point in my life, a kind of journey on the "road to redemption."
Anything you want to pass along to other Trinity students?
Even if you struggle in some classes, keep going. Find motivation to press onward. Talk to a friend for encouragement. And be willing to change!
One more tip: Seek help, and study hall is a great place to find it! The faculty here are truly dedicated to helping you succeed!