On the Cover The Overend Learning Commons has gone mobile! Fifth Grader Gailyn carefully selects her next book from Media Specialist Julie Griffith’s bookmobile that makes special visits to each classroom so students can check out new reading material. To support Trinity School, please contact Margaret Douglas, Director of Advancement 404-240-9446 | email@example.com trinityatl.org/give Please send address changes to firstname.lastname@example.org Comments? Contact the editor at email@example.com
Mission Statement Serving children age three through Sixth Grade, Trinity School creates a community of learners in a diverse and distinctly elementary-only environment, in which each child develops the knowledge, skills, and character to achieve his or her unique potential as a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of the School and greater community.
Non-Discriminatory Statement Trinity School does not discriminate based on race, color, gender, religion or creed, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or family composition in the administration of our admission and educational policies, in the extension of financial assistance, or other schooladministered programs.
Program and Pedagogy Pillars Celebrating the present and preparing our students for the future within a nurturing and caring educational environment, we: • Cherish Childhood Provide joyful experiences that include play- and passion-based learning Ensure developmentally appropriate experiences Design experiences around what is important in the life of a child • Deepen Students’ Educational Experience Develop creative and critical thinking and questioning skills Value both process and product of learning Connect learning vertically, horizontally, cross-curricularly, and globally • Empower Students in Their Learning Foster a growth mindset Cultivate voice, choice, and self-reflection Promote leadership
So that our students: • Build Academic Foundation Establish proficiency in essential knowledge and skills Embrace diverse experiences of a well-rounded education • Develop Character Foundation Exhibit ethical skills, habits, and attitudes of empathy, integrity, and respect Demonstrate performance skills, habits, and attitudes of accountability, persistence, and resilience • Exhibit Continued Curiosity, Creativity, and Confidence Imagine, discover, and experiment independently and collaboratively Adapt to new situations and a changing world
Leadership Team Joe Marshall, Head of School Ken Bomar, Director of Finance Brad Brown, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management Margaret Douglas, Director of Advancement Nicole Fash, Director of Marketing and Communications Jill Gough, Director of Teaching and Learning Reginald Haley, Director of Operations Rhonda Mitchell, Early Elementary Division Head Jeff Morrison, Director of Education Technology Ginny Perkinson, Assistant to the Head of School Sarah Barton Thomas, Upper Elementary Division Head Kayleen Whitmer, Director of Extended Programs
2020–2021 Board of Trustees Bill Jordan, Chairman Matt Bartelt Mark Bell ’88 Catherine Humann Callaway ’97 Jason Chambers ’89 Elena Chang Erica Cummings Chris Gabriel Anne Hennessy Florida Ellis Huff ’79 Molly Jamieson Carrie Lanier Jenny Latz Tish McDonald Brand Morgan Melissa Moseley Street Nalley Charlie Ogburn David Overend ’86 Marcellus Parker Leslie Patterson Veena Reddy Tina Roddenbery John Shepard ’68 Boynton Smith Farah Spainhour Ann Speer Mary Watson Ellen Wiley Neal Williams ’72
Contents 4 6
Greetings from the Head of School
34 Trinity focuses on students’
12 Trinity named a Top Workplace for third consecutive year
The need to focus on children’s mental well-being is more important than ever. Trinity’s mission and Program and Pedagogy Pillars anchor our focus on students’ social and emotional well-being along with their academic development.
see additional foundational layers being laid for a lifelong love of learning.
52 Outdoor ed “trips” reimagined on campus This year’s Fifth- and Sixth-Grade “trips” may have looked different than the preceding 42 years’ worth of excursions, but the spirit of camaraderie, community, and leadership was as strong as ever.
Trinity’s faculty and staff keep Trinity an Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top Workplace.
36 Trinity mathematicians are
15 Faculty and Staff Milestones
grounded in conceptual understanding
58 Trinity through a
Trinity’s more inclusive definition of success encourages students to take the time needed to develop deep mathematical understanding and enjoy learning math.
Help us celebrate the personal milestones of our faculty and staff.
Highlights 18 Trinity Tidbits
Read highlights from the fall at Trinity and learn about the expertise of our faculty and staff as they continue to lead professional development.
24 Trinity Traditions Enjoy a look at the recent traditions that reinforce Trinity’s identity, curriculum, and values.
30 A bold action: Talking to your child about race All children are impacted by issues of race and need adult support processing questions and concerns. Parents can regularly facilitate conversations that encourage questions and open dialogue.
Editor Nicole Fash
Art Director and Design Cheryl Beverly, Ridge Creative, Inc.
Associate Editor Margaret Douglas
Contributing Writers Kailynn Boomer Kathy Bruyn Caroline Dwight Nicole Fash Alyssa Gangarosa
38 The power of play Play empowers students in their learning and deepens their educational experiences, core pillars that support Trinity’s mission.
42 Music class in the time of a pandemic Despite pandemic restrictions, music learning continues to flourish here.
46 Service learning at Trinity is about connections Students and teachers at Trinity remain dedicated to serving our community while ensuring a deep connection to student learning.
50 Extended Programs is a true extension of the school day
Discover Trinity through the eyes of a photographer.
64 Staff Story: Reginald Haley Meet Reginald Haley: father, husband, director of operations, former model.
68 Spotlight on Art: a year in review Spotlight on Art continues to make unique and amazing art accessible to everyone and introduce new works by some of the Southeast’s greatest established and emerging artists.
70 Catching up with Dr. Allison Cobb Barrett ’95 On the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Allison Cobb Barrett ’95 shares how Trinity inspired her career choice and recalls some of her fondest Trinity memories.
Peek into Extended Programs classrooms or playgrounds and you will
73 Class Notes
Jill Gough Caitlin Grubbe Katie Hammett Marsha Harris Joe Marshall Kim Martin Rhonda Mitchell Brooke Ovorus Erica Pendleton Leisy Ruddock Stephanie Selman Phyllis Sommer Kristi Story
Amanda Vann Kayleen Whitmer
Photographers Sophia Aarons Nicole Fash Stephanie Selman Michie Turpin Flourish magazine is published biannually by the communications department at Trinity School and mailed to parents, alumni, grandparents, and friends of Trinity.
Sixth Graders Smith and Matthew discuss their Leadership year with Joe Marshall.
Dear Trinity Community, As we move into the final weeks of this highly unique 2020–21 school year, I want to offer my deepest gratitude to our parents, faculty, and staff for their efforts in working within our health and safety guidelines to provide a dynamic educational experience for our students. This year, they and our students have been incredibly creative, resilient, and, above all, steadfast. In addition, I am very grateful for our Trustees; their leadership, guidance, and support have been invaluable. Also, I would be remiss for not thanking our alumni, parents of alumni, grandparents, retirees, and other community members. Your notes of encouragement and financial support, especially during a year when we had to cancel the Spotlight on Art Artists Market, mean more than you will ever know. While this year has clearly been the most challenging in my 40 years in education, it has also been my most fulfilling. Seeing how our community members have come together for the seemingly endless health crisis will inspire me for the rest of my life. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing community! What feels like a lifetime ago in early August, after we created a Pandemic Response Plan (PRP) that detailed our health and safety guidelines, the Trinity faculty team set four goals for the 2020–21 school year: 1. Provide impactful on-campus learning experiences for students under the new PRP guidelines. 2. Offer at-home distance learning for students with health issues or parent safety concerns. 3. Transition quickly to distance learning for all students if needed. 4. Operate under our mantra of “Reimagination, Flexibility, Patience, and Grace.” Further work awaits us, yet I cannot state enough how much I appreciate everyone’s support for helping Trinity meet the aspirational goals the faculty established last summer. While we are waiting on herd immunity, I am looking forward to an eventual return to pre-pandemic normalcy. We all long for—and will certainly more deeply appreciate— life’s simple pleasures: hosting backyard cookouts with
neighbors, enjoying a film in a movie theater, going to sporting events, traveling by air, and dining at our favorite restaurants. While looking forward to familiar habits and routines, after experiencing the effectiveness of enhanced health and safety practices, we will continue to take the lessons learned to heart, both at work and in our personal lives. For example, my wife, Maria, and I will henceforth wear face masks every time we fly. The past year has also reinforced that learning is truly an in-person, social endeavor, particularly with the ages of the children that Trinity serves. One of our guiding tenets is to cherish the wonder of childhood as we help shape our students’ academic and character foundation for success in middle school and beyond. At Trinity, we know that academic learning and social-emotional development are symbiotic. At school, children learn from one another and from their teachers. They observe and learn to share, negotiate, and resolve conflicts. While I am grateful Trinity has been able to offer at-home distant learning for those who need it, being in school with classmates is preferable for the development of the whole child, cognitively, emotionally, and physically. As you will see in this latest edition of Trinity’s magazine, whether it’s the varied offerings in our Extended Programs, the early childhood pedagogy of learning through interactive play, or how social-emotional growth and development are taught and modeled at school, learning at Trinity is optimized through interactions and experiences with others. Please enjoy this wonderful issue of Flourish. It is a testament to the strength, creativity, and unity of our incredible community! Sincerely,
Joseph P. Marshall Head of School @JosephPMarshall
Our Writers Caroline Dwight Third Grade Lead Teacher At Trinity since 2018 Master of Education in K–6 Instructional Practice Lipscomb University Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, minor in Spanish University of Georgia
Sixth Grade Lead and Humanities Teacher
Q: What brings you joy? A: Spreading kindness and helping someone in need always fill me up. I also love having meaningful conversations over coffee with a friend. That is my love language.
At Trinity since 2014 Master of Science in Education, Oswego State University Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, minor in Marketing Georgia State University @klyboomer Q: What advice would you give your 12-year-old self? A: I would tell my 12-year-old-self to be more confident and not feel so selfconscious. As a child, I used to worry about standing out too much and worked hard to blend in. I would tell my younger self to embrace my unique qualities.
Kathy Bruyn Fifth Grade Lead Teacher At Trinity since 2006 Master of Arts in Teaching Oglethorpe University Master of Business Administration in Marketing Clark University Bachelor of Arts in Business Management Clark University @5thBruyn Q: What would be your personal motto? A: Think twice, speak once.
Nicole Fash Director of Marketing and Communications At Trinity since 2016 Master of Arts in Media and Cultural Studies University of Sussex, Falmer, England Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Spanish Shorter College @trinityatl @trinityschool /trinityatl Q: What is your personal motto? A: Never give up.
Alyssa Gangarosa Upper Elementary Music Teacher At Trinity since 2007 Master of Music in Education Florida State University Bachelor of Music Education Augusta State University Certificate in Kodály Pedagogy and Methodology Indiana University @AGangarosa Q: What brings you joy? A: Time to enjoy my home, family, friends, and pets.
Caitlin Grubbe Upper Elementary Music Teacher At Trinity since 2017 Master of Music Education VanderCook College of Music Bachelor of Music Education, Piano Pedagogy, and Bachelor of Piano Performance Shorter College Orff Level III Certification Cobb County School District @UEDtrinitymusic Q: Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about? A: I have perfect pitch, which is the ability to identify a note without any previous point of reference and is a rare skill possessed by 1 in 10,000 people.
Marsha Harris Director of Curriculum At Trinity since 2008 Master of Education in Instructional Technology Lesley University Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education; Bachelor of Arts in Drama in Education University of Windsor, Canada @marshamac74 Q: What are you happiest doing when you are not working? A: I’m happiest playing tennis, traveling, and relaxing with my family.
Jill Gough Director of Teaching and Learning At Trinity since 2012 Master of Combined Sciences in Mathematics and Computing Science Mississippi College Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Mississippi College @jgough Q: What is your personal motto? A: Experiment, learn by doing!
Katie Hammett Director of The Trinity Fund and Major Gifts At Trinity since 2019 Bachelor of Arts in English Literature Valdosta State University Q: What would be your personal motto? A: “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 7
Kim Martin Pre-K Associate Teacher At Trinity since 2018 Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development Georgia Southern University @heymisskim_
/heymisskim Q: What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job? A: A positive and upbeat attitude. Regardless of any situation, I look for the good, and I find at least five things to laugh about every day.
Head of School At Trinity since 2013
Bachelor of Arts in History Franklin and Marshall College
At Trinity since 2014 Master of Science in Education in Elementary Reading and Literacy Walden University
Rhonda Mitchell Early Elementary Division Head At Trinity since 2006 Master of Education in Early Childhood Education University of Georgia Bachelor of Arts in Economics Spelman College Certificate in Early Education Leadership (CEEL) Harvard Graduate School of Education @rgmteach Q: What would be your personal motto? A: I’m sure we can. Let’s figure out the best way to approach this.
Sixth Grade Lead and Science Teacher
Bachelor of Science in Education, major in Elementary Group Minors, minors in Math, Science, and English Western Michigan University
Master of Science in English Education Hofstra University
Q: What advice would you give your 12-year-old self? A: Be more confident in the classroom, on the sports field, and in extracurriculars.
Q: What are you happiest doing when you are not working? A: I am passionate about animal rescue. During my free time, I volunteer at a local rescue and help with animal adoptions.
Erica Pendleton, LPC School Counselor At Trinity since 2018 Master of Education in School Counseling Georgia State University
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Early Elementary Music Teacher At Trinity since 2013
Licensed Professional Counselor Q: Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about? A: My dad and I keep four beehives in the North Georgia mountains. We harvest and sell the honey, and I make candles from the wax! This year, we made about 70 jars of honey!
Stephanie Selman Associate Communications Manager
Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance Capital University
At Trinity since 2019
Levels I and II Kodály Certification Capital University
Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies Kennesaw State University
Q: What brings you joy? A: Making music together with my students!
@trinityatl @trinityschool /trinityatl Q: What brings you joy? A: I will always be smiling when I am around my family and friends, especially spending time with my eight, soon-to-be nine, nieces and nephew!
Leisy Ruddock Director of Spotlight on Art and Special Events At Trinity since 2018 Bachelor of Arts in Psychology Rhodes College @SpotlightOnArt @SpotlightOnArt /TrinitySpotlightOnArt Q: Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about? A: I played tennis at Rhodes College. I love all racquet sports and can be found playing tennis, squash, paddle tennis, or pickle ball on the weekends.
Kristi Story Sixth Grade Lead and Math Teacher At Trinity since 2005 Master of Arts in Secondary Education Austin College Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics Austin College @kstorysquared Q: What brings you joy? A: I love when a student shows progress in math, exhibits more confidence in their ability, and says, “I love math!”
Amanda Vann Advancement Associate At Trinity since 2015 Batchelor of Arts in Studio Arts The University of Mississippi Q: Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about? A: I enjoy refinishing furniture for my home and my family’s homes.
Kayleen Whitmer Director of Extended Programs At Trinity since 2018 Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Hope College @EPatTrinity Q: What are you happiest doing when you are not working? A: While I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my husband Mark and my boys, Rowan (5) and Kai (3). We love exploring creeks, jumping in mud puddles, and going on scooter rides!
Choose your own adventure at Trinity School
Summer Camp 2021! Trinity School Summer Camp is open to the public and offers a variety of academic, specialty, and sports camps—including Coach Brian Balocki’s popular Atlanta Sports Camps—for children ages 4 to 13. From wizards to coding, Legos to science camp, choose your child’s summer adventure from our camps that will run Monday–Friday from June 7–July 2. Join us in Before-Camp Care, Activities in the Afternoon, and After-Camp Care to extend your summer fun to a full day, from 7:30 AM–4 PM! There will also be limited offerings available during a fifth week of summer camp from July 26–30. Register today! www.trinityatl.org/summercamp
Please contact Kayleen Whitmer, Director of Extended Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Trinity School operates under strong health and safety guidelines.
Trinity School Wins Third Consecutive Top Workplace Award By Nicole Fash, Director of Marketing and Communications
Trinity School continues to be named a Top Workplace by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. More than 3,000 companies were nominated or asked to participate in this year’s Top Workplaces program, and a total of 175 companies, representing less than 6 percent of survey participants, were selected. For the third consecutive year, Trinity made the list in the “Top Midsize Workplace” category (150–499 employees). The Top Workplaces list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection.
Energage CEO Eric Rubino says, “During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance. When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward. Top Workplaces draw on real-time insights into what works best for their organization, so they can make informed decisions that have a positive impact on their people and their business.” Even more important during the recent health crisis, Trinity leadership consistently requests feedback from employees in order to maintain a healthy and happy workplace culture and to keep employees connected and committed to the School. Trinity is one of Atlanta’s most sought-after places to work, allowing the School to continue to attract and retain the most qualified and enthusiastic teachers and staff. “I am grateful to every member of our faculty and staff for relentlessly going above and beyond; I am inspired every day seeing how hard they work and the passion they have for what they do,” says Head of School Joe Marshall. “I am also grateful for the results of this most recent employee survey and honored that our employees keep Trinity a Top Workplace in Atlanta. Our employees, as well as our students, continue to flourish here at Trinity.”
and making meaning through play, discovery, and exploration without losing an ounce of academic rigor. This is such a tricky balance to maintain, but one of innumerable reasons why I think so many describe Trinity as a ‘magical place.’ And during this pandemic, the art of teaching is not without a grievous sense of loss for all that cannot be. At the same time, challenges often have a way of uniquely revealing, and even clarifying, an institution in its truest form. I believe I’ve had the privilege of experiencing Trinity’s best during what has arguably been one of the worst years for schools. Amidst masks, revised schedules, and new protocols, there has been a reassuringly unfettered sense of camaraderie, resilience, and joy amongst teachers and students.”
Andrea Barnett Kindergarten Associate Teacher | At Trinity since 2019 “I applied to Trinity School because I was looking for something more and a better environment to continue to improve my craft. I enjoy working at Trinity because I am treated like a professional and that my ideas matter, and I am trusted to do what I think is best for my students.”
Hilary Daigre First Grade Lead Teacher and Trinity parent | At Trinity since 2013 “Trinity has provided me with countless opportunities, professional growth, friendships, and a true sense of community. I know that what Trinity offers me as an educator does not happen often, and I’m grateful to be a part of such a tremendous institution.”
Sarah Morgan Bonham Director of Outplacement and Trinity parent | At Trinity since 2011 “It is evident that every person at Trinity is happy to be here, even on their worst day. Working around children, we all take on the responsibility of modeling respect, kindness, and curiosity. Employees have a voice that is heard. Leadership and peers care about your growth and are there to support your professional development. I also love that Trinity is a school that embraces differences—faith, race, culture, political views, family structure. When you work here, you are part of an extended family of students, parents, faculty, and staff.”
Alyssa Gangarosa Upper Elementary Music Teacher | At Trinity since 2007
“I enjoy teaching where the needs of the students are at the forefront. I love that we cherish childhood. I appreciate how the safety of everyone is taken seriously, especially during this pandemic. I like the collaboration that we have between specials teachers and base classroom teachers. I appreciate how the diversity and individual needs of students are respected. Trinity has wonderful resources to support the teachers in every way, and the professional development is top notch. The expectation is that we, as teachers, will continue to learn and grow, and our supervisors support us through our growth. We are provided with the technology and learning platforms to support student learning and encouraged to provide multi-approach activities to reach all students.”
Third Grade Associate Teacher | At Trinity since 2020 “I was initially impressed by Trinity’s missional emphasis on the importance of early childhood and elementary education. It stands in such stark and beautiful contrast to an increasingly performancebased culture that urges children onto a pipeline toward upper grades and beyond. In my first months here, I’ve observed children learning
Will Hutchinson Maintenance Tech III | At Trinity since 2018 “I enjoy being a part of Trinity’s facilities team. I have the tools I need to improve at my craft and keep up to date with new and current technology. Before the pandemic, I enjoyed the high fives and the greetings from the students; I would hear, ‘Hey, Mr. Will!’ no less than 20 times a day. I enjoy the joyful greetings from faculty and staff each day. I feel like I am supposed to be at Trinity, that I’m doing my part to add to our mission statement. There are just times when this place does not feel like a job; it feels like something more.”
Billie Yarbrough Upper Elementary Learning Specialist | At Trinity since 1989 “Trinity matches my philosophy of teaching; the School is childcentered, and students experience joy in learning every day. My colleagues are the consummate educators of young children, giving them the tools to be successful, nurturing the whole child, and challenging them to do their best. With the support of my supervisors and with the availability of ongoing staff development, I have been able to grow so much in my time here. The love of helping our students become the best they can be and sharing any knowledge I have gained with my colleagues keep me at Trinity.”
Eman Srouji Extended Programs Curriculum Associate | At Trinity since 2019 “I enjoy working at Trinity because it gives me an opportunity to cultivate creativity in young children. I’ve always been an artist, and it’s an absolute privilege and pleasure to watch my students grow and develop into young artists! Also, the culture at Trinity School is unlike any other; it’s so strong, caring, and inspirational. I find myself uplifted everyday by both the kids and the adults I work with. Working at Trinity is something I treasure, and I hope to grow, flourish, and inspire throughout my time here.”
Faculty and Staff Milestones Join us as we celebrate the personal milestones of Trinity School’s faculty and staff in this recurring feature. At Trinity since 2017, Pre-K Lead Teacher Claire Cagle married Michael Paul on November 21, 2020, in Seaside, Florida. While their honeymoon has been postponed due to the pandemic, the couple enjoyed a mini-moon in Highlands, North Carolina. Claire and Michael, an attorney in Atlanta, met while attending the University of Georgia, then reconnected at a charity event years later. First Grade Lead Teacher Ali Avery was a bridesmaid in their wedding.
At Trinity since 2019, Kindergarten Associate Teacher Melissa Cooney and her husband, Bob, welcomed Shepherd “Shep” John Cooney on May 4, 2020. Shep joined proud big brother Miller.
Admissions and Enrollment Management Assistant Lauren Darden and her husband, Tad, welcomed their first child, Luanne “Annie” Elizabeth Darden on December 21, 2020. Lauren began working at Trinity in 2016.
At Trinity since 2007, Kindergarten Lead Teacher Mary Jacob Harris and her husband, Chris, welcomed their second son, Thomas Walker Harris, on January 19, 2021. He joined proud big brother Henry.
At Trinity since 2016, first as a Security Officer and now as Campus Security Manager, Justin Jackson and his wife, Joy, welcomed their daughter, Jamisen Clover Jackson, on December 16, 2020. Jamisen joined proud big brother Jonas.
At Trinity since 2017, Pre-K Lead Teacher Tiki Norris and her husband, Sonnie Norris, Sr., welcomed their second son, Saxton Abram Norris, on September 29, 2020. Weighing six pounds, 14 ounces, Saxton joined proud big brother Sonnie, Jr.
At Trinity since 2012, Makerspace Specialist Paul Pileggi and his wife, Moira, welcomed their third child, Paul Gabriel Pileggi, Jr., on November 25, 2020. Paul, Jr. joined proud big sister Grace and was preceded by big brother Gabe, who passed away in 2016.
At Trinity since 2019, Third Grade Lead Teacher Marley Sapp married Spenser West, an attorney with Levy, Sibley, Foreman & Speir, LLC, on October 24, 2020. The couple, who met at a Braves game through mutual friends, had their wedding and reception at Roswell Historic Cottage.
Highlights Trinity Tidbits By Nicole Fash, Director of Marketing and Communications
Students learn all about the American alligator from Reptile Wrangler Zack Panse.
The albino Burmese was a highlight of the in-house field trip.
Reptile Wrangler visits Trinity Extended Program students enjoyed a visit from Zack Panse, one of metro Atlanta’s renowned Reptile Wranglers, on November 10, 2020. Students loved this in-house field trip that featured an albino Burmese python and an American alligator among other exotic creatures! 18
Third Graders parade through the halls with STEAM projects After reading Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, Third Graders held their own Macy’s Day Parade on November 20, 2020. The students created their balloon puppets for the parade during a special Thanksgiving-themed STEAM project.
Third Graders Watson, Luke, Lauren, and Aiden hold up their puppets that emulate the Macy’s Day Parade’s iconic balloons.
Admissions Director joins Murphy-Harpst board At Trinity since 2016, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management Brad Brown joined the Murphy-Harpst board of directors in September 2020. Murphy-Harpst is a non-profit organization committed to meeting the needs of abused and neglected young people through residential treatment, placements in specialized foster care, and community programs that serve atrisk youth and their families.
Sarah Barton Thomas facilitates SAIS small groups
Becky Holden continues to lead professional development
In October 2020, Upper Elementary Division Head Sarah Barton Thomas facilitated six small groups during the Southern Association of Independent Schools’ annual conference. For its virtual format this year, SAIS focused on six keynote sessions in addition to breakout workshops. After each keynote, participants were grouped by job type for 30 minutes to debrief. Sarah facilitated the Lower School Heads group to analyze the talks, provide a synthesis of ideas on an SAIS-wide interactive whiteboard system, and build connections.
At Trinity since 2015, Early Elementary Math Specialist Becky Holden led a workshop on Counting Collections at the Georgia Association for the Education of Young Children’s annual conference, held online from September 30–October 2, 2020. The largest professional development organization for early childhood education in Georgia, GAEYC has about 1,000 members in Georgia and a professional audience of thousands more. In addition, Becky presented “Cuisenaire Rods - Visual, Flexible, and Algebraic!” at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ conference, held virtually November 11–14, 2020. 19
Students go on a safari For the second consecutive year, Extended Program students in Lunch Bunch enjoyed looking for animals in the wilds of Trinity School during a special safari on September 4, 2020. Students even discovered Stripes and had a dance party with him afterwards!
Early Learners Noah and Reid search for wild animals during the annual EP safari.
Early Learners Amelia and Camille pose for a picture before the safari begins.
EP Lunch Bunch students as well as EP Teacher Briselda Carachure and Extended Programs Curriculum Associate Eman Srouji show off their best impressions of Stripes the Tiger after the safari.
Students enjoy a magical Disney parade On October 9, 2020, Extended Program students in Lunch Bunch had a magical time during a Disney parade that culminated their Disney theme week.
Early Learner Omel dresses up as a princess for the parade.
Early Learner Noah runs by Early Learner Parker and EP Teacher Briselda Carachure during the parade.
Extended Programs Core Supervisor Michelle Siegel and Early Learners Evie, Caroline, and Jay wave during the Disney parade.
Early Learners celebrate annual Friendship Feast On November 19, 2020, Early Learners enjoyed their annual Friendship Feast as part of the grade level’s Thanksgiving festivities! In addition to enjoying their celebratory lunch, students shucked corn, snapped beans, swapped friendship necklaces made earlier in the week, and completed Thankful projects – special keepsakes that list what students are thankful for on paper that they decorate with sponge paint.
Early Learner Emily is ready for the special Thanksgiving festivities in her classroom.
Early Learners Emery [top] and George [bottom] share what they are grateful for through their Thankful art project.
Early Learner Parker presents classmate Moyaro with a friendship necklace.
Members of the Sixth Grade Leadership Class celebrate their grade level reaching 100 percent participation in The Trinity Fund.
Dieon Franklin makes Dean’s List
Sixth-Grade families lead with 100 percent participation
Part-Time Extended Programs Teacher Dieon Franklin earned a spot on the Fall 2020 Dean’s List at Georgia State University. He qualified for the Dean’s List after earning a GPA of at least 3.5 for a minimum of nine semester hours of academic credit during the fall term with no incompletes for the semester. At Trinity since 2020, Dieon is finishing up his junior year as a Middle and Secondary Education major with concentrations in English and history.
Once again, parents of our Sixth Grade Leadership Class were the first to reach 100 percent participation in The Trinity Fund, the School’s critical annual fundraising initiative. Students celebrated the week of December 7, 2020, with a pizza and ice cream sundae party hosted by the Office of Advancement and Parent Fund Committee. Each spring, the Advancement team holds an Ice Cream Sundae Challenge to encourage parents to participate in The Trinity Fund, and every grade level that reaches 90 percent participation by a certain date wins a sundae party in May. The School is grateful to our Sixth-Grade families for setting the bar high and leading by example.
First Graders participate in escape room challenge during virtual Dad’s Day All teachers and students alike rose to the occasion of making online parent events heart-warming and fun for everyone this school year. This was exemplified by our FirstGrade team’s creativity during the necessitated virtual component to their annual Dad’s Day celebration, held on November 13, 2020. Students walked around with their dads or special friends as they participated in an escape room challenge to figure out a secret message!
First Grader Chase works with his dad on the escape room challenge.
Reimagined During a fall like no other, Trinity School teachers, staff, and students reimagined several of the School’s beloved gradelevel, division-wide, and school-wide traditions. Founded in 1951, Trinity has a rich history, and our traditions reinforce the School’s identity, curriculum, and values. This recurring section is dedicated to highlighting some of the many special events that our students look forward to every year. Enjoy the creativity and resourcefulness that made these traditions possible in the middle of a pandemic.
First Day of School The first day of school is important for all students, but there is something special about the Sixth Graders’ carpool caravan.
Catching the Gingerbread Man At the beginning of the school year, Pre-K students once again found the runaway Gingerbread Man while becoming acquainted with all the faces and places at Trinity. This year, staff and faculty from all over the campus Zoomed in virtually to see the Pre-K students and provide them with clues to find the elusive Gingerbread Man.
Pirates Week In September, Early Learners wrapped up Pirates Week and their Shapes unit of study with a real-life treasure hunt!
Nursery Rhyme Parade In September, Pre-K students dressed up as their favorite characters, paraded through the halls, and recited nursery rhymes during the Nursery Rhyme Parade. These special moments were recorded for Pre-K families so that they could experience the fun and magic of this special annual event.
Halloween Parties In lieu of the annual Early Elementary Division Halloween parade, all students and faculty were invited to don fantastic costumes and enjoy individual class parties.
Patriotic Performance In lieu of their annual in-person Patriotic Performance in November to honor those who serve or previously served in the military on Veterans Day, Fourth-Grade teachers and students recorded a special video for their families that included poetry readings, musical performances, scenes of letter-writing to veterans, and tributes to members of the military who are connected to our Fourth-Grade community.
Trade Day At the annual Trade Day, Second Graders celebrated the end of their Native American unit in December by coming together to solve a common problem. After learning about various nations of North America, Second Graders used school supplies, Chromebooks, and uniforms to experience the trading of necessary goods by different native peoples. They also played various games, like high kicking, that would symbolize a successful trade.
The Nutcracker The show must go one! Hosted and performed every year by our Fifth Graders, the much-anticipated annual performance of The Nutcracker was still set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score and included dancing, elaborate costumes and set design, and epic battles. This year, students filmed each scene individually over several days for a full-scale video production that was shared with the community in December.
Holiday Video In lieu of the Upper Elementary Division’s annual Holiday Program held at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Trinity’s music teachers worked with the communications office to put together a holiday music video that was shared in December. This message of light and hope incorporated footage and photos of students across all grade levels participating in Christmas, Diwali, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa musical performances and activities.
All traditions occurred during the first half of the 2020–21 school year.
3 1. The Nutcracker 2. Halloween Parties 3. Catching the Gingerbread Man
4. Halloween Parties 5. Holiday Video 6. First Day of School 7. The Nutcracker 8. Patriotic Performance 9. Pirates Week
10. Nursery Rhyme Parade 11. Halloween Parties 12. Pirates Week 13. Nursery Rhyme Parade 14. Halloween Parties 15. Nursery Rhyme Parade 16. Trade Day
In 2012, Rhonda Mitchell poses with her daughter, Camille ’16, and her son, Donovan ’13, on the first day of Donovan’s Sixth Grade Leadership year.
A bold action:
Talking to your child about race By Rhonda Mitchell, Early Elementary Division Head
During admissions season, I have the pleasure of speaking to prospective parents about Trinity School. At every opportunity, I share my personal experience as a Trinity parent who became a teacher, then an administrator to connect with our guests on a more personal level, especially since the admissions process can feel stressful. Parents who visit us are trying to identify the school that best matches their family values, one that will support their child’s learning and that will embrace them. Seventeen years ago, my husband and I attended a Trinity Open House to research schools for our then three-year-old son. I remember being so impressed with the young man who gave us a tour and shared his experiences. Through his recollection of fun times in the Early Elementary Division and the pride with which he described his Upper Elementary leadership experiences, I could sense his love of learning and love for his school community. That interaction and the entire on-campus visit left me feeling elated about the possibilities that Trinity could provide our son. As a woman of color and the mother of a Black boy and a Black girl, my search process also included an evaluation of each school’s stated and actual position on diversity, equity, and inclusion. After researching Trinity, the School’s statement of diversity and espoused commitment to an inclusive community felt genuine to me, more than aspirational, because of the School’s history of being the first private independent school in Georgia to integrate in 1963 – before it was required by law and despite opposition from a significant minority of the community. This boldness of action during one of our country’s most divisive and racially charged times led me to believe that it was possible that not only would the School accept my family for admission, but also the community would accept us as members. My family chose Trinity for our son and daughter because of the School’s mission and how the mission is implemented in the day-to-day operations. We saw the joy of experiential learning, valued the intentional focus on developing high-level social-emotional skills like communication, collaboration, and organization; and we were in full agreement with the principles of an early childhood and elementary-only experience. We chose Trinity because of its stated and real commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). When reading admissions files now, these same statements are what parents of all races and ethnicities share about why they are choosing Trinity for
their family. They are choosing the mission and the pillars on which it stands. A commitment to diversity is explicit and embedded in those statements. In this moment, when it appears that our country is again at a crossroads in our relationship with race, how can we maintain our diverse community of learners and an environment in which each develops their potential as a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of the School and greater community? We will have to be both vulnerable and courageous with each other. We, as individuals and as a community, must continue to take bold actions to move us forward, and this includes proactively talking to our children about race. Trinity hosts Parent Chats to share with families what is happening at school and to offer ways to support child development at home. The benefits of common understanding, shared language, and consistent approaches are that student learning deepens and transfers between settings. Annually, the School offers parent sessions in math, technology, social-emotional development, and DEI. These Parent Chats feature school staff and guest speakers, and they usually provide some specific takeaways that parents can incorporate into their daily routines with their child. We began the 2020–21 school year with a DEI Parent Chat featuring a friend of the Trinity community, guest speaker Kristin Carothers, PhD. Based in Atlanta, Dr. Carothers is a clinical psychologist with expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral consultation, and intervention. She has provided professional development on race, diversity, equity, and inclusion to independent schools across the country. Dr. Carothers has spoken to Trinity parents and trained Trinity faculty in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as social-emotional development and classroom management. To highlight the ideas Dr. Carothers shared during the Chat, I revisited her “How to Talk to Kids About Race” presentation, then caught up with her for some additional guidance. The biggest takeaway from the Chat is that all children are impacted by issues of race and need adult support processing questions and concerns. Children have direct and indirect exposure to complicated images and topics through media, parent conversations, and even peers. Parents should expect that their child has curiosities and regularly facilitate conversations in which they encourage questions and open dialogue. Not knowing where to begin with complicated topics, even for adults, is not uncommon. These suggestions from EmbraceRace, an online community that provides resources for teaching children about race, offer excellent guidance for all parents.
Tips for teaching and talking to kids about race Start early. Encourage your child to ask questions. Notice patterns together. At six months of age, babies notice racial differences, and by age four develop racial biases (falling subject to stereotypes and establishing preferences for types of people). Cognitive Scientist Daniel Willingham wrote that developmentally appropriate practice is about how you approach a topic with children, not what topic you discuss. He says that waiting until you think a child is “ready” for issues related to race is too late. The child will have already developed their own ideas. Children’s books are an excellent place to begin to notice differences positively and engage in age-appropriate discussions. Be mindful. Get to know your own biases. Children learn from what they see us do more than from what they hear us say. The diversity of your friendship group is teaching your child something about race. How you respond or if you respond when a comment about race is made teaches your child something. Most people don’t talk about race because it is “impolite,” so a child’s observation or comment might be silenced. This may inadvertently teach a child that there is something right or wrong about a person’s race. Develop racial and cultural literacy. You don’t have to have all the answers; it’s okay to say you aren’t sure about something. Expand your racial cultural literacy by learning about the history and experiences of different groups. For families of children from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, there are some additional important suggestions from Dr. Carothers regarding race. In her presentation, Dr. Carothers referred to the need for parents to teach children adaptive coping strategies. When I followed up with her for more information about this topic, she explained the idea of positive racial ethnic socialization (RES). RES includes direct and indirect messaging about race, preparing children to navigate a world where race can impact their experiences. These explicit and implicit lessons help children develop a positive self-image and resilience and prevent the internalization of negative stereotypes.
Tips on racial ethnic socialization (RES) from the American Psychological Association’s website on RESilience Positive images: Intentionally provide children with positive images of people from their racial and ethnic group and other underrepresented groups. This may be achieved through professional interactions, such as the businesses and services you utilize, through religious or civic groups to
which you belong, and through selections of art and media. Involve children in activities where people who look like them are in the majority and in situations where people who look like them are in the minority. For example, if your child attends a school where they are in the minority, consider enrolling them in an extracurricular activity where there is a great deal of diversity. Perspective: Provide children with a broad understanding of history that includes the experiences of underrepresented people. Be sure that the experiences include not only the historical challenges that were faced, but also the accomplishments, the triumphs, and the ongoing efforts. Talk about positive current events that are not as widely broadcasted in the media. Share personal experiences, beliefs, and goals of family and community members who have broken barriers, overcome obstacles, and achieved success. Prepare: Teach children to recognize when to actively problem solve versus when to cope. For example, if they have been hurt by words or actions or have witnessed someone else being hurt, they should seek help. At the same time, they will likely face microaggressions that may not need to be solved but should be processed. Children need help identifying these situations, affirming their own identity and value, and communicating about differences. For example, hair is often the source of microaggressions for Black girls. If a Black girl wears her hair in a style, such as braids or puffs, someone may touch or make a careless comment about the style. This is a violation of personal space and potentially offensive depending on the comment that was made. Children should feel empowered to express their feelings and see their beauty even if they don’t look like the majority of the people around them. These may seem like big topics for young children, but they are the subjects of our daily spoken and unspoken messages. In the 1960s, when Trinity took the bold action to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion through its admissions practices, the barriers keeping people apart were actual segregation laws. Today, there aren’t explicit laws keeping people apart but beliefs that manifest as customs, practices, and policies. We are at a crossroads. Let’s choose to take the bold action of talking about our beliefs and fears so that our children can look back and recall how Trinity overcame the divisiveness of the moment and, in doing so, continued to live up to its mission: creating an “environment, in which each child develops the knowledge, skills, and character to achieve his or her unique potential as a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of the School and greater community.”
Kindergartner Peyton enjoy an interactive read aloud with Ms. Rhonda and learn how melanin determines skin color in the children’s book All the Colors We Are.
Books and Online Resources • All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger (Ages 3–6) • Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (Adults) • The Person You Mean to Be by Dolly Chugh (Adults) • The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee (Adults) • EmbraceRace: www.embracerace.org/resources/teaching-and-talking-to-kids • RESilience (RES) via the American Psychological Association: www.apa.org/res/about/racial-ethnic-socialization
Ms. P reads Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall to students. This book is about thinking positively and confronting a challenge.
Please refer to the following for additional information on the resources that support this article. • Caron, Christina. “It’s Not Just Adults Who Are Stressed. Kids Are, Too.” New York Times, Nov 3, 2020. www.nytimes.com/2020/11/03/parenting/kids-anxiety-stress-coping-pandemic.html. • CDC Violence Prevention, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) online resource: www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/index.html • Goleman, Daniel. “What Makes A Leader.” Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec (1998): 93-102. • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Treatments and Practices, Psychological First Aid online resource: www.nctsn.org/treatments-and-practices/psychological-first-aid-and-skills-for-psychological-recovery 34
Trinity focuses on students’ social-emotional needs By Erica Pendleton, LPC, School Counselor
As an elementary-only school, Trinity has the unique opportunity to address the needs of the whole young child. For a child to be truly successful, social and emotional growth must be fostered with the same intention as academic growth. In fact, research shows that high emotional intelligence is at least as important as IQ for longterm success. According to Oxford Languages, emotional intelligence is “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” Trinity’s mission and Program and Pedagogy Pillars anchor the School’s focus on students’ social and emotional well-being along with their academic development. “Cherishing childhood” is not just something we say, it’s something that is lived out in every decision we make. To cherish childhood, we must guard and guide the social and emotional development of our young learners, which Trinity Teachers and staff do throughout every school day. Each day begins with a Morning Meeting, which is an intentional time for relationship building and interpersonal connection. Our Trinity traditions, from Pre-K Olympics to Sixth Grade Capstone Projects, are opportunities for our students to find their own voice and self-confidence. Recess is child directed because we know that children learn about creativity, fairness, reciprocal relationships, conflict resolution, and more through play. Our students learn to collaborate as they work in table groups. The word “yet” is a powerful part of our vocabulary to show that we embrace a growth mindset. The need to focus on children’s mental well-being has come to the forefront, now more than ever. The global pandemic, our political climate, and uprisings against racial injustice have caused stress and disruption for adults and children alike. Some of the difficulties that children have experienced include social isolation, routine changes, and the observation of parental stress. Due to children’s stage of development, it is unlikely for them to adequately voice their feelings. Instead, they demonstrate their worries through changes in sleep or eating habits; regressive behavior, including toileting accidents and increased separation anxiety; an increase of inattentive or perfectionistic behaviors; and becoming irritable or withdrawn. In early August, Trinity prepared for the return of students with a workshop for teachers that included the basics of
trauma-informed care and Psychological First Aid. These frameworks highlight the need to build a sense of safety and security, provide space for learning about feelings and asking questions, teach coping and regulation skills, and find ways for students to develop their own agency or sense of control. You may be wondering why an approach including “trauma” would be considered a best practice for our students. Research shows that long-term, unmitigated stress can turn into “traumatic stress,” which has lasting effects on emotional and physical health. At Trinity, we use best practices to ensure that our students learn how to work through the current challenges and not endure lasting effects. For children, safety and security is established with structure and routine. Extra time at the beginning of the school year was devoted to establishing new routines and again when we returned to in-person learning in January. Trinity has always been a place where children are truly known and loved. This year, even more time has been devoted to developing relationships. The adults in the building work closely together to identify students who need a little more time and attention from me. I schedule sessions with those students, and we read stories, draw, and play games together. We work hard to normalize these visits to the counselor’s office. Hearing one Kindergartner tell his mother that he enjoys visiting with me as much as going to the playground was thrilling and affirmed that we are doing a very good job. In the fall, Trinity’s consulting psychologist, Dr. Carli Reis, and I presented a webinar to educate parents about stress in their children. One important takeaway was that children are very intuitive. They react to their environment based largely on the way that the adults around them react. They know when we are stressed, and they know when we are not telling the truth. One of the best ways that we can help children cope is to learn to manage challenges ourselves. It is also important to allow space for children to ask questions and to give them answers in direct, developmentally appropriate ways. Children often admit to overhearing what the grownups are saying or watching on TV. When children do not open up to their trusted adult(s), they are left to draw their own conclusions about what is happening. For children who already lean toward worry and stress, their conclusions are often frightening. A time for conversation and reassurance is often all that they need. Our Trinity students are fortunate to have loving and nurturing environments both at home and at school. I believe that our students are doing so well, even during these difficult times, due to all our efforts, at school and at home, to focus on their social and emotional well-being.
Trinity mathematicians are grounded in conceptual understanding By Jill Gough, Director of Teaching and Learning
All too often, children see mathematics as isolated facts and rules to be memorized and recalled quickly. Far too many people decide that they are not a math person based on these poor criteria. At Trinity, students are expected to develop deep and connected knowledge of mathematics and are engaged in learning environments rich in the use of multiple representations. Just as we “make a movie in our mind” when we read, we must see mathematics in words, pictures, numbers, and symbols. We want all students to know that they are capable of learning math at a high level and that being first and fast is not what makes them good at math. Our broadened, more inclusive definition of success encourages students to take the time needed to develop deep mathematical understanding and enjoy learning mathematics. We host Embolden Your Inner Mathematician sessions for parents because we want our pedagogy, practices, and tools to make sense to our community. We appreciate the trust our families place in us as we grow our students’ mathematical proficiency by building procedural fluency grounded in conceptual understanding. We intend for all our students to see themselves as capable, confident mathematicians. We know that not everyone learns the same way and that mathematical flexibility increases understanding and offers multiple pathways to success. When we make sense of another’s reasoning and problem solving, we strengthen our own flexibility and deepen an important life skill: the ability to think deeply about another’s thinking, seeking first to understand and learn. At Trinity, we demonstrate a commitment to high-quality math instruction and professional development. With our two math specialists, we have ongoing job-embedded professional development in which we study and implement known, researched best practices. In our course Embolden Your Inner Mathematician, we study the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Taking Action: Implementing Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices series, during which we learn, “Equitable teaching of mathematics includes a focus on multiple representations. This includes giving students choice in selecting representations and allocating substantial instructional time and space for students to explore, construct, and discuss external representations of mathematical ideas.”1 At Trinity, learning is our focus. Trinity Teachers and faculty leaders invest in research and best practices to make a 36
difference for every student. We have learned that math is not and should not be taught as it was taught in the past. We know that automaticity is important, though it is not most important. We want more, so much more, for our students. Our emphasis on understanding, problem solving, and critical reasoning is paramount to growing their deep, rich mathematical ability. At Trinity, collaboration is our culture. Using the research from NCTM’s 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions by Margaret Schwan Smith and Mary Kay Stein, we plan as a teaching team to anticipate and makes sense of multiple strategies, pathways, and procedures to foster a sense of creativity and curiosity so that students engage, understand, and contribute to a culture of learning. We invite diverse, creative thinkers to share and learn together to broaden and deepen what we know and need to know. At Trinity, results guide our decisions. Our high standardized test scores show that our students are strong mathematicians and flourishing under our math instruction. In addition, our daily, ongoing assessments allow us to know our students individually and motivate us to do more for each student. While our students are learning and their standardized test scores are strong, the results we are seeing cause us to crave more success for our students. Alongside our ethos of learning, collaboration, and results, Trinity’s program and pedagogy focus on inclusion and equity. Possessing a deep conceptual understanding of mathematics not only propels students to learn more, but also opens future pathways that may otherwise be limited. As stated by Smith and Stein, “Equitable teaching of mathematics focuses on going deep with mathematics, including developing a deep understanding of computational procedures and other mathematical rules, formulas, and facts. When students learn procedures with understanding, they are then able to use and apply those procedures in solving problems. When students learn procedures as steps to be memorized without strong links to conceptual understanding, they are limited in their ability to use the procedure.”2 We are dedicated to meaningful educational experiences in which conceptual understanding opens doors for our students rather than limits them. As a community, we are focused on high-quality differentiated instruction that leads to deep understanding. We are motivated and driven to learn more so that we continue to serve our young learners in the spirit of our mission, “Serving children age three through Sixth Grade, Trinity School creates a community of learners in a diverse and distinctly elementary-only environment, in which each child develops the knowledge, skills, and character to achieve his or her unique potential as a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of the School and greater community.”
Confident and curious, Kindergartner Riley identifies patterns found in choral counting and demonstrates strong algebraic reasoning.
Victoria Bill and DeAnn Huinker, Taking Action: Implementing Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices in K–Grade 5, ed. Margaret S. Smith (Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2017), 140. 2
Margaret Schwan Smith and Mary Kay Stein, 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions (Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2011), 93.
The power of play By Third Grade Lead Teacher Caroline Dwight and Pre-K Associate Teacher Kim Martin
To fulfill Trinity School’s mission, we strive to provide deep and joyful educational experiences, ensure those experiences are developmentally appropriate, and connect those experiences to what is important in the life of a child. This core foundation for learning attracted us as teachers to Trinity and is what keeps us searching for more playful and meaningful activities. Through grade-level events and schoolwide activities, our students gain an understanding of their place in our community and their place in the world, all while playing! Play is one of the most crucial elements of human development. Playful, continuous interaction with the world allows children to develop voices to speak, legs to skip, and minds to think. When we notice students digging in the sandbox, pretending to be math teachers, and alternating hand beats on a drum, we can’t help but think of the neural pathways being brought to life through these meaningful play experiences. Educational play empowers students in
Pre-K students Scarlett Grace and Ellie engage in sand play together, growing peer relationships and sociability and increasing sensory skills.
their learning and deepens their educational experiences, core pillars that support Trinity’s mission of each child reaching his or her unique potential as a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of our school and the greater community. Play is how our students connect to their peers, their classrooms, their school, and their world. Early Learner pirates declare, “Ahoy, matey!” Pre-K Olympians dart across finish lines. Kindergartners travel around the world, and First Graders bring animals to life. Each of these precious, joyful events fosters a sense of community and belonging while strengthening spatial awareness, scientific investigations, making friends, reading, and writing. Our young learners spend as much time as possible exploring in Trinity’s Discovery Woods. Playing in nature is integral for all Trinity students and allows them to connect to the world around them in structured and unstructured ways. From observing what the changing seasons bring to splashing through the creek, their outdoor play experiences grow their confidence and creativity. Early Learners Lead Teacher Pam Lauer says, “Play in nature is more about observations and having the time to make discoveries. It is hands-on learning and experiments to test ideas and predictions.”
Imagine we are in the middle of our Third-Grade fraction unit. During the mini-lesson, students are primed with key vocabulary, skills, and background knowledge to compare fractions. Afterward, students pair up to play a game called War in which they are picking cards from a deck, creating fractions, comparing them, and garnering points if their fraction is greater than their partner’s. If you were to visit our classroom during this time, you would see students spread out around the classroom, heads stooped over their cards. The energy of the room might be bustling and even noisy, but there is a great deal of learning occurring in these giddy moments of controlled chaos. In any given game, students are often engaging organically in conversations as they share observations, solve problems, and make enthused discoveries, all while uncovering the joy of mathematics. When new or unfamiliar concepts are being introduced, games and open exploration can also provide a way to gradually release students into independent practice with the “safety net” of one another for support as needed. Furthermore, games usually involve multiple modalities of learning: kinesthetic, auditory, and visual. Slapping the cards that create a greater fraction can give students that thrilling and necessary release of energy, while whiteboards and markers are handy for students who benefit from making fractions on a number line to visualize the difference. Third Grader English uses a number line on her whiteboard to better visualize the fraction she rolls on the dice during Fraction Golf.
In Pre-K and Kindergarten, students “travel” long distances and become immersed in new locations and cultures. They “visit” Chinese restaurants, design luggage for imagined airplane rides, and use World Languages throughout their day. On the 101st Day of School, First Grade students and teachers dress as Dalmatians and imitate playful dogs, count spots on their costumes, construct towers using 101 cups, and dance their way to this three-digit number. They engage in activities that inspire them to gleam at the satisfaction of reaching this major milestone; it’s kind of a big deal! Students can revisit and reflect on goals they set for themselves and the connections they have made within the classroom. During each of these events, play is the central idea. We often contrast play with work and categorize it as an activity that is unimportant and lacking any purpose, something that kids will essentially outgrow. Research continues to prove that play is rich in all its varieties and without it none of the achievements of learning languages, technology, or culture would be possible. While Trinity’s approach to play may look different across grade levels, the focus remains the same: fun and games help students thrive socially, emotionally, and physically.
“We need to dispel the myth that learning mathematics is only possible through rigorous practice and memorization,” says UED Math Specialist Kerry Coote. “Students engage in play for most of their day, whether it is working through a puzzle or game, dramatic play in the classroom, or physical activity on the playground. In much the same way, we should also seek similar opportunities to introduce mathematics creatively. This approach will not only build a sound foundation for complex math skills, but also give students more agency in their learning and more success with problem solving.”
Third Graders Bryson and Caroline are playing Fraction Golf, a game in which they roll the dice to see who can create fractions closest to 0, ½, and the whole number 1.
One of our many overarching hopes as teachers is this: that students will go home each day and excitedly tell stories to their parents of playing and exploring and these narratives will be interwoven with evidence of learning. It takes intentional, creative planning as a teacher to design (and sometimes disguise) opportunities that successfully merge playing and learning. These are the reasons why Trinity Teachers treasure the power of play in the classroom. But what about the learners? I’m sure it comes as no surprise that when children are playing and exploring, engagement is heightened because it is simply more fun. For so many students, the social component of play is the buy-in. This interaction strengthens our student’s skills of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking, the four Cs often hailed as 21st century learning skills. Students who are generally too shy to raise their hand in front of the whole class become deeply rooted in conversations with their partners, constructively debating why 1/4 is greater than 1/8. At the same time, the outgoing student who just needs to chat joyfully revels in that time of connection. While play can be a valuable conduit for content-based learning, it is also important to note that unstructured free play such as recess reaps a lot of similar fruit. Students get to put social skills into practice, and it is the perfect opportunity for them to stretch muscles of flexibility, collaboration, and problem solving. Sixth Grade Lead Teacher Kristi Story observes these many benefits firsthand. “Trinity’s Sixth Graders have the unique experience of having recess, unlike many of their peers in other independent schools,” she says. “The students use this time to play games, walk the track, swing on the swings, and especially talk with friends. Recess provides them time to refine their social skills and deepen interpersonal relationships. This break in the day allows students to have fun without any agenda or rigid structure. They come back to class focused and willing to learn.” We are thankful that our mission at Trinity acknowledges the merits of both intentional and unstructured play. Every day, our students are engaging in both types of play, and the academic and social-emotional growth of our students is the evidence. Whether teaching five- or nine-year-olds, we have found that creating intentional opportunities for play in our classrooms leads to academic and social success or growth. Instead of asking, “What did you learn today?” we suggest you lead in with the question, “What did you play today?” We think you will be surprised by the conversation this question will bring. Pre-K students parade around in their teacher-made dragon and celebrate the Chinese New Year as they complete their study of new cultures and World Languages.
Music class in the time of a pandemic By Music Teachers Alyssa Gangarosa, Caitlin Grubbe, and Phyllis Sommer
Despite pandemic restrictions, music learning continues to flourish at Trinity School. The music curriculum provides a foundational skill set that is intentionally aligned from Early Learners through the Sixth Grade. Each year, these skills are expanded upon through grade-level objectives that foster students’ musical growth, deepening their musical understanding. Please enjoy a look at how we’ve continued to make music together at Trinity this year. With singing as the bedrock of our music curriculum, it was important for us to safely continue student development in this area while adhering to health and safety guidelines. Requiring our students to social distance and sing in masks for shorter amounts of time, we have been able to maintain student growth in melodic skills. With the need for masked singing, it has been especially important this year to spend more time on vocal health.
Fourth Grader Camille [left] uses dowel rods as rhythm sticks and Fourth Grader Moriah [right] uses a cut-up pool noodle as a güiro to perform in a four-part Orff arrangement. Each student also used egg shakers as maracas and plates and bells as tambourines to complete all four parts.
Focusing on rhythmically spoken chants in the early weeks of school gave students time to adjust to vocal production through a mask. Pairing these chants with puppets, games, or movement made the necessary adjustment unnoticeable to the students but has made an immense difference vocally. Now, students are singing with ease in a healthy way. “Although we have to wear masks, I feel like my singing voice has been improving every single music class,” says Third Grader Ann Marie. Students take pride in building a love of singing by cultivating community through singing games and learning folk songs to carry with them through their adult lives to share with future generations. From simple songs to singing in harmony, students across all grade levels gain confidence in their voice, the instrument they will never be without. “Music makes me feel so happy,” says First Grader Madison. “I love to sing!” Another important aspect of our curriculum is instrument playing. With restrictions on the sharing of class materials and the need for Specials teachers to travel to base classrooms this year, we created individual music kits for student use. Using everyday items, each kit has instruments modeled after what is typically used in the music rooms, such as pool noodles as güiros, egg shakers as maracas, plates
and bells as tambourines, and dowel rods as rhythm sticks. These items allow us to continue learning about instrumental technique and play together as an ensemble. Also included in the music kits are manipulatives to practice rhythmic and melodic skills, helping students build a strong foundation in music literacy. Along with the music kits, students use technology, such as xylophone applications and music creation software, to further develop their instrumental skills and encourage their innate creative abilities. For those students participating in distance learning, these music kits have provided a connection to their music teachers and classmates at school who are using identical kits in common learning experiences. Using the Seesaw learning management platform has also provided an opportunity to assess skills such as steady beat, rhythmic and melodic patterns, and composition. In addition, the well-being of our students is at the forefront of our teaching as music has the power to elicit an emotional response. It is more important than ever to celebrate simple moments of joy and to honor Trinity’s tenet to cherish all that childhood has to offer. Classroom participation, active listening, playing fun games, and moving expressively allow our music program to serve as an outlet for the socialemotional development of the young child.
“Sometimes when I’m playing music, my worries just kind of disappear,” says Third Grader Derek. The joy of fun games with friends allows students to enjoy their peers in a socially distanced but connected way. Students also need a safe outlet to express more complex emotions that they may be experiencing, such as confusion, anger, or grief. Moving expressively to a wide variety of musical styles offers many ways for students to understand and connect with their emotions. Whether they are matching the fiery and accented spirit of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, moving sensitively to the soothing yet emotional melodies of Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe, or simply listening to Johannes Brahms’ Lullaby, students walk away from music class feeling empowered and uplifted. In addition to a vertically aligned music curriculum, each grade level has traditions that are integral to the Trinity Experience. The importance of these memorable events is evident during the “Memories” portion of the Sixth Grade Graduation ceremony, when our graduates recall highlights of their years at Trinity. Honoring these joyful traditions was a top priority of the music team, from the patriotism of the Pre-K Olympics to the magic of the Fifth Grade’s Nutcracker performance.
Mrs. Phyllis leads Pre-K students Quint and Pureheart in a vocal exploration exercise to help students adjust to singing with masks.
Third Grader Parker holds up a pair of eighth notes from his music kit. The kits provide manipulatives to help students identify notes and understand rhythmic values.
While some annual performances, including various festive sing-a-longs and school-wide programs, were not possible this year due to pandemic restrictions, it was very important for us to find a way to reimagine the Upper Elementary Division holiday performance. Each year, this musical program serves as a warm and merry send off for the whole Trinity community, set in the beautiful location of Trinity Presbyterian Church where the School has its roots. Reimagining the holiday performance afforded us the opportunity to include representation from all Trinity students, from our youngest learners to members of our Leadership Class. Seeking to create a program that was illustrative of our richly diverse population, we focused on a theme of light and hope with the intent to inspire the community to persevere and not lose sight of the spirit of the holidays. From Diwali and Hanukkah to Kwanzaa and Christmas, these holidays were represented through snapshots of curriculum-driven music activities already
taking place in the music class. Captured through film and photography and edited together, the final presentation brought together the diverse population of Trinity School and the simple beauty of unity through music. “I felt so excited to share about Diwali with all my friends,” says First Grader Annika. From masks and music kits to social distancing and reimagining traditions, our new guidelines and tools are allowing us to fulfill our wish that our students experience the same joy, deep learning, skill building, and sense of security as any other school year. Before music class even begins, lessons are created intentionally for students to share music with friends, become inspired to learn more, foster innate abilities, and develop an aesthetic awareness of the arts. This is all done because, in the words of Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, “only the best is good enough for a child.”
“My favorite part of the [Nutcracker] experience was the filming, because I felt like a movie star,” says Fifth Grader Jack.
“I loved when I got to express myself by dancing to the music with my scarf,” says Third Grader Emily. “It was like a wonderland where I could express what I felt.”
Third Grader Aiden reinforces his music literacy skills by identifying different notes in a known folk song in SeeSaw.
Service learning at Trinity is about connections By Marsha Harris, Director of Curriculum
On a typical day, during a typical year, the hallways of Trinity School are lined with boxes of warm mittens, cozy pajamas, non-perishable food items, shoes, books, stuffed animals, and cardboard arcade games. You see posters in the hallways designed by students that promote their causes. Even in a pandemic, and now more than ever, students and teachers at Trinity remain dedicated to serving our community while ensuring a deep connection to student learning. There is a difference between community service and service learning. Community service is vitally important for organizations to sustain their impact and goals. They rally their community and supporters to volunteer time, efforts, and financial resources in order to meet the needs of their mission. Service learning promotes all of the same goals with similar needs and includes a student-centered approach that is grounded in clearly defined goals that support curriculum and student experiences. Service learning at Trinity connects the intellectual and the emotional, abstract concepts with a concrete need. Trinity’s dedication to serving others has been evident since its inception at Trinity Presbyterian Church in 1951. Our community is full of servant leaders: students, teachers, staff, and parents. We know that meaningful service for children must come from adults who are passionate and able to teach about a specific issue. Even during a pandemic, we have reimagined how we continue to serve and learn in our community. We believe that serving others begins with our youngest students and evolves as our students grow and mature. In order for community service projects to be meaningful for our students while also making an impact, Trinity’s service learning program is designed to include gradelevel specific activities that are developmentally appropriate and have purposeful connections to each grade’s curriculum. Parents, administrators, teachers, and student leadership work collaboratively in the design and implementation of community service at Trinity School. “We provide themes around the service that our students participate in, and we work really hard to intentionally connect what our students are learning in the classroom with the age-appropriate service they provide the community,” says Early Elementary Division Head Rhonda Mitchell. “This begins with our Early Learners, who are at the beginning stages of literacy development. They have an understanding of what it means to have a bond with their caregivers and the ritual of bedtime reading. The Early Learners’ Warmth Project, which includes donating pajamas and books to children in need, connects to this as students can understand warmth and safety and love from caregivers and that these circumstances are not always available to everyone. These intentional connections happen across the board in the Early Elementary Division. Early Learners and Pre-K focus on warmth and literacy. Kindergarten and First Grade focus on health and nutrition and providing food to local people.”
For the last decade, our Early Learners and Pre-K grades have partnered to donate new pajamas to The Warmth Project. This school year, the students donated 319 sets of pajamas. To celebrate all of their hard work on The Warmth Project, students had their very own pajama packing party where they decorated gift bags and made their donations extra special for the families who received them.
in need and integrated with their literacy learning and their unit on gratitude during the Thanksgiving season.
First Grade: Solidarity Sandy Springs Food Pantry https://solidaritysandysprings.org
Issue: Due to COVID-19 and job loss, many families do not have access to enough food. Action: First Graders gathered and donated food, household, and personal items for local individuals in need. As part of their grade-level community service project, Third Graders collected clothing items, like hats and gloves, to help keep others warm during the cold winter months. West, Maley, and Margaret Bailey make sure the clothes are ready to be delivered to My Sister’s House.
Each grade has participated in a service learning project this year, including Kindergartners raising money for Atlanta Community Food Bank by doing chores at home to earn money; Third Graders collecting outerwear for My Sister’s House, an overnight shelter for women and children who are experiencing homelessness in Atlanta; Fourth Graders writing letters to veterans and collecting items to stock their pantries; and Sixth Graders creating welcome kits for families staying at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. “In the Upper Elementary Division, we continue the process of connecting character components of compassion and empathy and gratitude in giving with academic subjects,” says Upper Elementary Division Head Sarah Barton Thomas. “These projects evolve year to year with each of our grade levels, Second through Sixth, deciding on their community service partners to connect with what they are learning in different subject areas.” Applying an “Issue, Action, Learn” format, let’s take a deeper look at some examples of connecting academic goals with Trinity’s community service projects this school year.
Early Learners and Pre-K: The Warmth Project https://pajamaprogram.org
Issue: All children need clothes to be warm, a consistent bedtime routine, and a good night’s sleep in order to thrive.
Action: Early Learners and Pre-K students donated pajamas and books for children in need. Learn: Students learned about the basic needs of living things: food, water, shelter, and clothing. Cooperative discussions around bedtime routines—like having a bath, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a story, and getting enough sleep—were identified as important healthy habits. The students gained empathy and understanding that not all children have these comforts at home. Their service to the Pajama Project helped children and families 48
Learn: During the First Grade science unit on healthy habits, students learned about hygiene and healthy food choices. First Graders identified the healthy options on the food list and helped shop for those items with their family. Morning Meeting time consisted of read alouds about various topics on food and social-emotional competencies. In addition to learning about healthy habits, our students gained an understanding of giving, empathy, compassion, and serving those in need.
Second Grade: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta https://www.choa.org/
Issue: Children in long-term care in hospitals need resources to comfort them and make them feel at home.
Action: Second Graders collected items such as books, art kits, stuffed animals, and toys, and created kits for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Learn: After a lesson based on the book Sometimes by Rebecca Elliot, Second Graders were asked what they would want to have with them if they were not feeling well or were staying in the doctor’s office for long periods of time. The teachers focused on teaching compassion and perspective.
Fifth Grade: Start With One https://www.startwithonekenya.org/
Issue: Clean drinking water isn’t accessible to everyone. Action: Fifth Graders raised money through a walk-a-thon and the Freshwater Fair to purchase water filters for families in Kenya. Learn: As part of their science unit on freshwater, Fifth Graders explored freshwater around the world, how it’s used, how it’s treated, and where people obtain their drinking water. Students also participate in a year-long study of our own freshwater system through the River Kids program, in which they learn about the local ecosystem, identify aquatic organisms, and analyze samples and data from our creek in Discovery Woods. In language arts, students read Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water
about how Sudanese girls have to walk great distances to get water for their families. The Fifth Graders then went on an “empathy walk” in Discovery Woods and discovered the challenge of carrying water for any amount of distance. For two weeks, Fifth Graders participated in a walk-athon during the early morning offering Every Lap Counts. The walking element increased students’ awareness of how people in Nakuru, Kenya, must walk five miles to obtain water. As a culmination of the freshwater unit, students held the Fifth Grade’s annual Freshwater Fair, though it looked a little different this year. Each student still designed a game about an animal that is dependent on freshwater, but this year those games traveled around campus for two weeks and Trinity students could play for a five-coin donation. This year’s fair raised $686. Those funds, plus the nearly $20,000 raised from the students’ walk-a-thon, allowed students to buy 507 lifesaving freshwater filters through Start With One, which will provide clean water to 507 families for 10 years. In addition to the very real and positive impact these service learning projects have on those in need, the socialemotional impact of this unit of study on our students is profound. They gain a deep understanding of the necessity of clean water and the privilege of having clean, flowing water at their convenience. “Projects such as these are not just a way to give, but a way to stretch our hearts for empathy, compassion, and to
build awareness of the world around us,” says Sarah Barton Thomas. “They create a spirit of altruism that certainly warm our own hearts while supporting the needs of others.” In addition, for the first time, Fifth Grade partnered with the nonprofit Soles4Souls. This organization creates sustainable jobs and distributes new shoes to individuals in need, from those impacted by natural disasters to homeless children, through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. “It feels good to donate, especially to people who do not have what is needed,” said Fifth Grader David. Trinity School is committed to honoring our mission and pillars in all that we do. Each service learning experience is intentionally designed to cherish the joy of childhood at each age and stage of development, empower students in their learning and leadership, and deepen their educational experiences while providing opportunities for creativity and curiosity. Like in everything we do, the opportunity for students to reflect on their experiences through collaborative conversations, writing, or illustrating brings deeper meaning and understanding of the world around us. When students engage both their hearts and their minds on an issue or cause at a young age, they establish a lifelong passion to serve others in need.
Fourth Graders Ellie, Adrianna, and Houston prepare donated pantry items to be delivered to the Veterans Empowerment Organization of Georgia.
EP is a true extension of the school day By Kayleen Whitmer, Director of Extended Programs
When Trinity students pack their bags, the carpool bell rings, and children’s voices fill the hallways, members of the Extended Programs (EP) team know it is their time to shine. As you walk around campus, you see a seamless transition from the “regular school day” to the “extended day” as our EP teachers welcome students with warm smiles (or smiling eyes this year!) and exciting programming. In EP, our students can cultivate a passion for chess, coding, dancing, Legos, robotics, soccer, STEAM, yoga, and more in our Specials Classes; or enjoy digging in the sand, playing tag, swinging as high as they can, or discovering a new theme of the week in our Core Classes. With more than 60 options available, our afterschool program has the right set of offerings for each student and family.
Sixth Grader Matthew and Second Grader Zavien work together during Trinity Robo Warriors.
Looking back at EP, previously called Afternoon Enrichment, I’m proud to be a part of the evolution of the program. When Trinity’s after-school program began, students enjoyed the extra time with after-school teachers in their classrooms while some students were transported to an off-site after-school program called Haverty Hollow. Over the years, more and more of our families required an after-school program for their children. In the 2000s, it became clear that Trinity needed to offer more on-site options for our families through its after-school program. In 2012, Trinity hired and fully supported its new after-school program leader, Carol Meadows. Afternoon Enrichment became Extended Programs, and Carol developed a new model so that the program fell more in line with the academic day. It also evolved to include more robust and exciting options for students. When I joined the Trinity team in 2018, I was thrilled to see the array of classes offered as well as the areas in which we could continue to expand EP. With 16 years of experience in after-school programs and day camps, I know that highquality after-school classes and camps support positive social, emotional, and academic growth. Providing a strong and enriching program for all our students is, and always has been, a priority for me. In a typical year, close to 80 percent of our students participate in EP. Each student, whether he or she is picked up at 2 PM or 6 PM, receives thoughtful and intentional programming provided by loving and skilled teachers who support our mission and Program and Pedagogy Pillars. Another one of my main goals for EP has been streamlining the students’ and families’ experience moving from the
During Little Mindful Yogis, Third Grader Clara, Fourth Grader Effie, Third Grader Julia, and Fourth Grader Caroline gain strength, flexibility, and coordination as they hold a pose with certified yoga instructor Misty McClain.
Third Grader Cecilia passes the ball to Fourth Grader Sammy during Lacrosse and Field Hockey.
“regular” school day to the “extended” school day. EP’s engaging offerings and amazing teachers who build great relationships with the students ensure that everyone has a smooth transition from one to the next as they enjoy the fun and growth found within our nurturing and caring environment. In addition to our daily after-school offerings, we introduced our much-loved Camp Days to families in 2018. On Conference Days and other abbreviated school days, students get to enjoy a half or full day of fun with their favorite EP teachers. Camp Days include art projects and science experiments as well as group games and special guest appearances by animal experts and their furry friends.
At any point throughout the year, you can peek into EP classrooms or playgrounds and see additional foundational layers being laid for a lifelong love of learning. Whether students cross the monkey bars for the first time, program their team robot through an obstacle course, create and play their stop motion animation video, or use their creativity and negotiation skills as they battle to win World Domination during a Camp Day, they are having fun and growing their knowledge at the same time.
Over the last three years, we have expanded the team with the addition of Michelle Siegel as the EP Core Supervisor and Eman Srouji as the EP Curriculum Associate. With backgrounds in art, recreational programming, and social work, the EP team has taken Core classes and Camp Days to the next level. With Core’s weekly theme programming—like Safari, Disney, Dr. Seuss, and Dinosaurs—students get to enjoy something new while cherishing all the things we love about childhood, especially our culminating dance parties with Stripes and dress-up parades!
Although this year might look a little different with the School’s current mitigation strategies in place, it still feels the same. Our students have the opportunity to participate in their favorite activities or experience a new activity for the first time. They get to safely interact with their peers, building new relationships and fostering old ones. At Trinity, they get to have normal experiences during a time when everything else doesn’t always feel normal. I’m so grateful to be a part of this school and able to offer an extended day of “normal” for our EP students this year.
While looking back on the evolution and growth of EP, I love reflecting on what the children are learning in EP and how they feel when they participate in our program. We often hear phrases like, “I met a new friend today.” “Did you see how high I got on the swing?” “I’ve never missed a season of Fast & Fit.” “Can I stay just a little longer?” Seeing students engage in our EP classes who walk away feeling accomplished and more confident, are excited about a new activity, and have a love for others and for learning is the greatest joy of being a part of EP at Trinity School.
Outdoor ed “trips” reimagined on campus By Fifth Grade Lead Teacher Kathy Bruyn and Sixth Grade Lead Teachers Kailynn Boomer, Brooke Ovorus, and Kristi Story
Fifth Graders Charlotte, Candler, Rekha, Louisa, and Sophie release their goal boats into the creek in Discovery Woods.
Trinity’s outdoor education program has been a part of the Fifth- and Sixth-Grade curriculum since 1978. This year’s “trips” may have looked different than the preceding 42 years’ worth of excursions, but the spirit of camaraderie, community, and leadership was as strong as ever.
Fifth Grade Teachers: “Who are YOU?” Students: “Twenty Twenty-TWO!” There was no lack of energy among the Fifth-Grade students this school year during our outdoor education (OE) experience in October. Instead of traveling to Camp Will-A-Way in Winder, Georgia, we brought OE to Trinity! For our first on-campus retreat, the Fifth-Grade team collaborated with the P.E. and art teams to create a series of activities that helped us take advantage of our amazing 43-acre campus. We wanted to make sure we achieved the ultimate goals of every outdoor education trip. First, build a class bond through teamwork and collaboration. Second, allow students to see their classmates in new situations and through different perspectives. Finally, spend some good old-fashioned time outside! Fifth Graders rotated through several stations throughout the day. Artistic vibes were apparent as they collected items from nature and created designs on the pavement. They worked in small teams to make symmetrical patterns similar
to artist Andy Goldsworthy. Even more impressive than each team’s finished product was the cooperative dialogue as the Fifth Graders designed in the sunshine. Around the bend, you could hear the laughter of students as they worked through team-building challenges. A particular favorite was one involving hula hoops that needed to be built into a “hula hut” and carefully carried up the stairs of the amphitheater. Communication was important in another challenge where the correct path needed to be discovered through trial and error. Fifth Grader Caroline says, “We had to pay close attention to our teammates’ moves and take risks to try out new squares to see if it was the right path. I learned that paying close attention and working as a team are both important. I might not always be right!” A quiet trail walk took the students to their last rotation, where teachers led a yoga session by Trinity Creek. The Fifth Graders worked on balance and focus as they listened to the nature sounds surrounding them. Finally, they each reflected on a goal they had made for themselves this year. After considering all the possibilities, they turned their goal into one word, wrote it on a little piece of paper, and attached it to a piece of bark to make a mini sailboat. Fifth Grader Walker says, “I chose to write kindness on my boat because that’s what the world needs.”
Fifth Graders Jonathan and Owen concentrate as they use natural materials to mimic the style of artist and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy.
Fifth Graders Sophia and Rekha enjoy yoga in Discovery Woods.
We wrapped up our outdoor ed day with the same valuable activity Trinity Fifth Graders have experienced for years. Its main goal is to engage in the practice of acknowledging the positive traits we see in one another. The whole grade level gathered in the AWAC, sitting in a large, socially distanced circle. Coach Brian Balocki led each base class in a time of reflecting on the positive attributes that we see in each other. Students walked around the circle and touched the shoulder of those who they found to be inspiring, helpful, hard-working, kind, truthful, funny, and a good friend. Everyone left the circle feeling both validated and inspired to fulfill these traits. It was a different experience for sure, but as Trinity has done throughout this pandemic, we pivoted, we reimagined, and we gave the students a great day of memories.
Sixth Grade This school year’s annual Sixth Grade outdoor ed trip to the Georgia coast was reimagined as an at-school event called “Virtual Driftwood.” During this week-long celebration in September, Sixth Graders enjoyed activities similar to what they would have done if they had traveled to the coast. Base and specials teachers all contributed to the week’s festivities.
Representing Team Ovorus Octopi, Sixth Graders Sarah, Ann, Sibley, Carson, Natasha, Mills, Ryan, and Owen pose after stacking 355 pencils to win the STEAM challenge.
Members of the Leadership Class of 2021 started the week with team-building activities for their three groups: the Boomer Burrfish, the Ovorus Octopi, and the Story Stingrays. Students and teachers also tie-dyed the annual commemorative T-shirts that were worn at the end of the week. The final activity on that Monday was starting preparations for team debates. The debate topic was “Should the wild horses of Cumberland Island be left to roam free, or should the horses be taken off the island and cared for by humans?” Tuesday morning began with the Sixth Graders rotating through three academic stations: debate prep for humanities, Cumberland Island math trail, and dissections in science. The highlight of this time was the dissection, an educational activity that has been a part of the traditional Driftwood experience since its inception. This year’s class worked in groups to dissect a Longfin Squid from the Atlantic Ocean. “I learned that the ink sac looks like a fish, and their hearts are very small,” says Sixth Grader Simi. “My favorite part about the dissection was holding the brain!” That afternoon, students studied the life cycle of a turtle in their World Languages class and created an art project using actual driftwood and wire. Wednesday was an exciting day as the students presented their arguments in the debate. After researching their “pro” or “con” stance, students worked in teams to write and present an introduction, argument, rebuttal, and conclusion. Sixth Grader Grace says, “My favorite part of the debate was getting to present my argument. I learned that the person doing the rebuttal has to be someone who thinks fast on their feet to have a comeback. Also, I learned that for the argument you have to be really persuasive to change the audience’s mind.”
That afternoon, using a cardboard loom and embroidery floss, the students enjoyed a hands-on camp favorite, making friendship bracelets. On Thursday morning, the Sixth Graders again rotated through three academic stations: graphing sea animals in math, writing an original 55-word “nanofiction” short story in humanities, and participating in a pencil-stacking STEAM challenge in science. “My favorite creation was the pencil tower,” says Sixth Grader Gavin. “I learned building and teamwork skills. Virtual Driftwood relates to real life because you need teamwork in real life.” In the afternoon, students became engineers, building a solar oven in order to cook their own s’mores the next day. Wearing their tie-dye T-shirts, the Sixth Graders ended the week with the Spartina Show, in which they competed in fun challenges. After lunch, it was time for the “campfire.” Coach Jedd Austin brought his guitar and led the group in singing camp favorites, such as “Country Roads” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” A campfire tradition continued when guest faculty joined the Sixth-Grade teachers for the Radio Skit. To finish up their fun and busy week, students read aloud their nanofictions and savored eating s’mores. Although unable to travel to the Georgia coast, Sixth Graders enjoyed a week of team-building, friendship-growing, and memory-making experiences. By engaging in classic and reimagined activities, the Class of 2021 joined previous Leadership Classes in this important and beloved tradition. “One thing I will remember about Virtual Driftwood was being in a good group and having a lot of fun,” says Sixth Grader Owen. Sixth Grader Caroline says, “I will never forget Virtual Driftwood because of all the new opportunities we got to do even while we were at school.”
Sixth Graders Gaby and Olivia are assisted by Sixth Grade Science Teacher Brooke Ovorus as they dissect their squid.
Sixth Graders Jack and Simi study the internal anatomy of their squid. Simi says, “My favorite part about the dissection was holding the brain.”
Trinity through a photographer’s lens By Stephanie Selman, Associate Communications Manager
As Trinity’s day-to-day photographer, I often see beautiful, meaningful moments that would go unnoticed otherwise. And from everything I have seen, it is clear that our students are taught not only academics, but also what it means to be empathic, respectful, inquisitive, appreciative, and grounded humans. Join me on a photographic journey of some of my favorite captured moments this school year.
Students are able to be themselves, have joyful and fun learning experiences, and just enjoy being a kid. Trinity understands the importance of encouraging ageappropriate play and how play is quintessential to learning.
Observing students working in groups or simply out on the playground, you can see leaders emerging. They are stepping up, communicating with others, and finding common ground among their peers.
It is natural for students to be curious, and Trinity encourages students to ask questions, nurturing a genuine progression of investigating ideas. Teachers always allow time for students to wonder, enjoy hands-on experiences, and explore their surroundings.
Trinity students care for each other deeply. You can feel the sense of family among our community. Students always lend a helping hand to their classmates. They work together to ensure all of their peers succeed.
Trinity’s balanced and well-rounded approach to elementary education grows equally strong academic and character foundations in our students. Every day, I look forward to capturing the special moments that exemplify the School’s mission in action as each student “develops the knowledge, skills, and character to achieve his or her unique potential as a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of the School and greater community.”
Staff Story: Director of Operations Reginald Haley By Nicole Fash, Director of Marketing and Communications
Like everything he does, Reginald Haley recollects the experiences that led to his current position at Trinity calmly and with purpose. He intersperses his stories with humor and one can expect to hear a pearl of wisdom every time he begins a sentence with the idiom, “To make a long story short.” The irony is that you cannot sum up Trinity’s straight-forward and practical director of operations in a few words, or even 2,000. His life journey has been anything but ordinary and is a study in hard work, determination, curiosity, and creativity. Since he was a child, Reginald has seized opportunities and made the most of difficult situations and grown from them. He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, which he says is a wonderful place, though it has its challenges. “I love Detroit, but while I was there it was badly impacted by crime, and the motor industry and the jobs that were tied to it went away,” Reginald says. “My family was just me, my dad, my mom, and my older brother. We were a very loving, supportive, tight-knit family. My parents were very encouraging, and we had strong family values. “I think without that base, I could have had a lot of issues,” he continues. “The way my dad put it, ‘I know it’s not easy to go
to school and run into some good and not-so-good people. When you come home, it is a place of comfort and peace, a refuge. Leave all that at the door; you are loved here.’ Many people don’t experience that kind of support. I had loving parents, not wealth, and I wouldn’t flip it around.” A shy child, Reginald was always a tinkerer. His dad, who worked on train lines and was a steel mill worker, taught his sons that they should be able to do something with their hands. “I was the kid who would take your clock apart and try to put it back together,” says Reginald. “My father was mechanically minded, and whether it was working on cars with him or repairing our furnace, I was always shadowing him. I grew up in a 100-year-old house, so there was always something to fix.” When Reginald was in the Fifth Grade, his family was notified that the elementary school was going to become a night school for adults because of budget cuts. He was forced to move to an elementary school in another district for his Sixth-Grade year. When his father passed away suddenly of a heart attack, Reginald’s mom decided to place Reginald in a private school for middle school, and he began his Seventh-Grade year at an archdiocese school that served children through Eighth Grade. “She wanted to make the best decisions for me and didn’t want me in a public middle school,” says Reginald. “I didn’t want to go to a private school because I was used to public school; it was a very different environment. I had a rough first year because I was in a fog as I grieved for my father. I loved science, math, and shop and tried to be a good student. A turning point was when my English teacher, who was also the librarian, assigned me a report on the Dewey
decimal system. I did really well on it because of the way she encouraged me to write reports and learn more about processes. This increased my interest in science and the technical arts even more, and after a time, I was able to get my legs under me and enjoyed my experience there.”
In addition to experiencing the excitement of meeting basketball greats like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Shaq, Reginald learned a lot in the fast-paced, high-turnover world of hospitality. He became curious about the role of an operations director after watching how his boss led the staff.
Later, after one year at a private high school, which also had to close due to lack of funding, Reginald returned to public school for his sophomore year, moved briefly to Atlanta, then finished his high school career at another public school back in Detroit.
“I have always been observant and try to identify people I can model based on their good behavior,” he says. “My boss, the director of operations, would take about 200 staff members into the fishbowl before every event. He would section us off, give a debrief about what the evening was going to look like, then walk out. I admired his communication skills when talking to all the different groups. He was a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact guy who got results and motivated people. I became interested in operations, about how he could have such a wide skill set, and it always stuck with me.”
The loss and upheaval that Reginald experienced during his childhood taught him how to be flexible and persevere. “I never felt like I was being wronged,” he says. “I told myself that I was going to take each situation and stand on it. I felt like I was being formed, and I was not going to complain about what was going on. High school taught me how to be nimble and was a blessing in disguise. Because I was forced to go to so many schools, I didn’t have the peer pressure or running with the wrong crowd that others experienced. In the end, I was trying to check all the boxes so that I could become a functioning adult.” After high school, Reginald worked for two years as a bank guard at First Independence Bank, the only African American-owned bank headquartered in Michigan. His position allowed him to observe all the employees and customers, and he remembers incredible inspiration and encounters along the way. “It was encouraging to watch the bank president go up to his office every day and see all the leadership in Detroit, whether it was the mayor or a commissioner,” he says. “I really appreciated the daily ‘hey, young man’ conversations. My biggest moment there occurred one day after I was told to lock the exit doors, leave the side door open, and post myself there because we had one more customer. I watched a courtesy vehicle pull up with Rosa Parks inside. She came in, and I didn’t know what to say, but I couldn’t not say anything. So, I said, ‘Ms. Parks, how are you? I really don’t know what to say. All I can say is thank you.’ She said, ‘You can tell me your name, young man.’ That is how humble she was. I told her my name, and she shook my hand. That is something I will never forget; what a brave person.” Along the journey to discover his passions, Reginald spent a year-and-a-half at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit exploring music theory, vocal performance, and piano while he worked at the bank. He decided he didn’t want to major in music and became interested in real estate. With minimal opportunities available in Detroit, and with a goal “to find himself,” Reginald relocated to San Jose, California, where the real estate market was booming at the time. For two years, he worked at San Jose Arena, first as an usher, then a building engineer, then a security guard.
Following his time at the arena, Reginald briefly held a position as a security guard at an outdoor mixed-use property, then spent six years pursuing his new interest in operations at a 20-acre, 410-unit resort that had tennis courts and three Olympic-sized pools. He handled all facets of property management, “from door to desk” as he puts it, working his way up to evening property manager. During those six years, Reginald’s career pursuits also took him down the path of modeling, then acting. “I was a shy kid, not one who would speak in public,” he says. “But I realized how inhibitive that would be for my growth. Modeling was a way to rip the Band-Aid off and get that nervousness out of the way while making money. It’s a tough industry. The people at the go-sees pick you apart. I was told that my ears are too big, my features are too soft, and that I was too tall for modeling.” Standing at 6’4”, Reginald was undeterred and told by an agent that he should pursue acting with his “boy-nextdoor” look. He gave it a shot and immediately began making traction, accepting small acting roles and landing some modeling jobs along the way. Reginald joined the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and some highlights during this time were landing a bit part on Nash Bridges that was cut at the last minute, modeling in a national Levi’s ad, performing as Will Smith’s body double in the Just Cruisin’ music video, and being Tiger Woods’s hand model in a national Wheaties commercial. Reginald’s acting and modeling career began to taper off and he returned to music, putting another iron in the fire alongside property management. Playing the piano and writing songs had continued to be hobbies since his time at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, and he had a sound studio in the extra bedroom of his apartment. He and a friend began writing songs together and ended up forming the band W.E., which stands for West and 65
East, with three other performers. Instead of seeking representation, Reginald formed Diversity Records, an independent record label that managed W.E. and two other artists. From hobbyist to artist to record label owner to artist representative, Reginald’s reignited passion led him to working as the associate producer of the California Music Awards. In the early 2000s, he booked everyone for the event, from Green Day to Smash Mouth, and W.E. was the opening act. The brightest spot for him though was jamming with Sammy Hagar and other musical legends at the end of the show. As his professional pursuits were taking off, so was Reginald’s personal life. He met his now-wife, Samantha, in 1996, and they married in 2000. The following year, they welcomed their son, Reggie. The cost of living in California and the birth of his first child made Reginald evaluate his career trajectory, and he decided to turn music back into a hobby and solely pursue operations. He became certified in HVAC and became a Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) in AV Design and Installation. With his hours reduced at the resort property due to budget cuts, Reginald took on a second job in property management. In 2004, when Reggie was three years old and Samantha was pregnant with their second child, a daughter named Carmen who was born in 2005, the couple decided to move to Georgia to find a better work-life balance and settle down.
Taken in 1996, this photo was one of many that Reginald took to modeling go-sees.
After interviewing with two companies, Reginald ended up moving into the world of independent schools, accepting a job as director of facilities and property at Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Atlanta. He worked there for eight years, adding teaching to his resume during his second year, when the school’s leadership asked him to teach audio production, technical theatre, and intellectual property classes because of his music and acting background. Later, he built a recording studio and radio station at Holy Spirit and became the station’s faculty advisor. “I never expected to be a teacher,” says Reginald. “And for someone who teeters on the edge of stage fright, I was intimidated to teach teenagers. What I had to remember was that I was sharing my knowledge base from reallife experiences. It also helped that these classes were electives, that they chose to be in them; it was a passion they were pursuing.” Reginald continued to pursue his own passions while at Holy Spirit. During his first year there, he received a call from New York to see if he and his former bandmates would like to perform on amateur night for the legendary variety show Showtime at the Apollo. While they didn’t win, what an incredible reunion and final performance together for W.E. Also while at Holy Spirit, Reginald earned his Global Designation in Facilities Management in 2008. His drive to learn and grow has continued since he joined the Trinity team as our director of operations in 2012. In the last several
Reginald poses with his family in 2019 during his son Reggie’s induction into the Eta Sigma Alpha National Honor Society. Reggie was president of Georgia’s Upsilon Omicron Chapter.
years, he has earned a degree in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University and is close to earning his interdisciplinary degree in leadership through the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2018, he graduated from the FBI Citizens Academy and now serves as an ambassador for the FBI in the fight against terrorism and crime. Reginald is Trinity’s first full-time operations director— the role used to be shared by Trinity’s director of finance and an assistant head of school—and he has enjoyed building the role from the ground up. He oversees food services, facilities, health services, transportation, and safety and security. At one time, he oversaw Extended Programs. He is responsible for staffing all service departments, ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local authorities. He works with parent volunteers on sustainability education and projects throughout the year. He authors and implements non-academic policies that support the business and human resource departments. Reginald’s role has become even more important since the onset of the pandemic. “I am the kind of person, in the fabric of my being, who likes challenge,” he says. “That is what motivates me here at Trinity. What an incredible responsibility to be here and create the pandemic section of our crisis plan, a section that hopefully no one will ever have to use again.” When asked why he wanted to work at Trinity, Reginald based his decision to come here on his experience with private schools as a child. He stays because of the warm culture and the challenge of a dynamic and professional organization. “The best school experience I had was during my Seventh to Ninth Grade years, which were at private schools,” he says. “I always wanted to give back to an organization that reflected those wholesome and nurturing times. I also saw Trinity as an opportunity to apply and strengthen my talents and skills. I feel like my work is making an impact on the future leaders of society. I’m inspired by the energy I see in the students at Trinity, their innocence and curiosity give me so much joy. “I always want to be in a growth pattern,” he continues. “And I want to help the people around me to do the same. Trinity has a great balance between tradition and forward thinking; I really like how everyone is always contemplating how to be current and advance the School. It is a ‘we’ mentality, not an ‘I’ mentality. We exude excellence. We do what we say we are going to do, and we are always improving. I really like the work style and culture. We are all linked by arms: we win together, we lose together, and we look forward together. We have a collaborative thought process and realistic expectations for results. We get the support and resources we need to execute our responsibilities and programs.”
Fun Facts about Reginald Haley Favorite food Tie between fish and chips and Coney Island hot dogs Favorite band Run-DMC Secret talent Audio production, sound mixing, and indie filmmaking Words of wisdom for Trinity students Be you, and always be different. Favorite movie and TV show 12 Angry Men (1997 version) and The Americans Favorite book The Blue Book of Building and Construction On his bucket list Traveling through Europe, Africa, and Asia
So, what does the future hold for Reginald as he closes in on a decade of service to Trinity School? In addition to continuing to work at Trinity, he is interested in independent filmmaking, and Reginald is using his professional-grade, in-home recording studio to begin collaborating with a former client on producing another album. Family continues to be Reginald’s priority. He and his wife, Samantha, live in Acworth with their daughter, Carmen, as well as Reginald’s mom and Samantha’s mom. Their son, Reggie, is a sophomore physics major at Cornell University. “I’ve been in search of being a whole person my whole life, to be the best person that I can be,” Reginald says. “As you can clearly tell, I have not had a traditional experience with much of anything, and I am hoping that my next 50 years will be at least as interesting as the first half.”
Spotlight on Art: a year in review By Leisy Ruddock, Director of Spotlight on Art and Special Events
For all of us, this year was about adapting in the face of new circumstances. Spotlight on Art 2021 was no exception! After making the difficult decision to cancel the Artists Market and Gala, we made sure these necessary changes did not deter us from keeping Spotlight on Art top of mind through smaller campaigns and fundraisers throughout the school year. Although this year was not what we planned for initially, I am so proud of our flexibility and creativity.
We kicked off the school year by launching an online spirit wear store. Everyone was excited to be back on campus and show off their school spirit by wearing their new gear on Spirit Days and other non-uniform days! From Trinitybranded face masks and water bottles to sweatshirts and the ever-popular tie-dye shirts, items did not stay in stock for long. The Spotlight season continued with our annual Neiman Marcus Pop-Up Gallery. Held from October 3–November 5, 2020, the gallery featured a curated selection of artwork from four preeminent contemporary artists: Kayce Hughes, Kellie Lawler, Colleen Leach, and Millie Sims. This was the seventh year that Neiman Marcus graciously provided this opportunity at no cost to Trinity. We are very appreciative of our longstanding partnership with Neiman Marcus. The highly anticipated Holiday Pop-Up Shop moved online for the first time this year. The virtual shop ran for a full week during November Conferences and showcased
In September 2020, First Grader Warner models some of Trinity’s latest spirit wear.
Contemporary artist Kellie Lawler’s paintings were featured at this year’s Neiman Marcus Pop-Up Gallery, which opened on October 3, 2020.
artwork and home goods from some of Spotlight’s favorite artists. In addition, the Pop-Up Shop included the third annual Trinity ornament, which featured artwork by Ali Leja, and poinsettias for the second year in a row. Thinking way outside of the box, we introduced the Spotlight pARTner Card, a fundraising initiative that took place in lieu of the canceled Artists Market. From January 25–30, card purchasers received 20 percent off artwork at four preeminent art galleries in Atlanta: Atlanta Artist Collective, Buckhead Art Company, Gregg Irby Gallery, and Huff Harrington Art. The pARTner Card was a great way for Spotlight patrons to support local art galleries and Spotlight artists during the week that the Artists Market was supposed to take a place. In addition, all card proceeds benefited Trinity School.
In place of the annual Gala and Auction, we hosted a successful and exciting online auction. Comprised of donations from Spotlight on Art’s top-selling vendors from the Artists Market, the online auction featured beautiful art, items for the home, and jewelry. In addition, a few of the highly coveted Trinity Treasures were made available for bidding. I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to show my sincere appreciation for this year’s Spotlight on Art leadership team, who helped provide insight and guidance in executing these smaller fundraising events. I am looking forward to working alongside each of them next year when Spotlight on Art comes back bigger than ever for our 40th anniversary!
From January 25–30, the Spotlight pARTner Card allowed its holders to receive 20 percent off at our four pARTner galleries: Atlanta Artist Collective, Buckhead Art Company, Gregg Irby Gallery, and Huff Harrington Art.
Spotlight artist Ali Leja’s commissioned Trinity Tiger was featured on the 2020 Trinity ornament during the Holiday Pop-Up Shop in November. In mid-February, Conference Room C turned into a makeshift gallery to allow individuals to view auction artwork in person, including Missy Maude’s “Lunch at the Club,” Christy Coole’s “Home Bound,” Mark Boomershine’s “May Abundance Flower,” and Stewart McDonald’s “Like a Trap Door in a Canoe.”
Alumni Catching up with Dr. Allison Cobb Barrett ’95 By Katie Hammett, Director of The Trinity Fund and Major Gifts
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Dr. Allison Cobb Barrett ’95, who shared with us how Trinity helped inspire her choice to pursue a career in medicine and recalled some of her fondest memories as a Trinity student.
Q: Tell us about your time at Trinity, what are some of your favorite Trinity memories? A: I started Trinity in 1988 when I was five years old. The
Allison Barrett, MD, serves as an attending physician and the Emergency Medicine Clerkship Director for fourthyear medical students.
highlight of Kindergarten was probably the Halloween parade; I will never forget seeing my teacher, Miss Kim, dressed as a witch with warts and a life-like prosthetic nose! Second Grade was my absolute favorite. Ms. Hansen helped ignite my passion for science; not only did she help me start a killer rock collection, but our class had a pet chameleon, we got to experiment with paper-mache volcanoes, and we took a field trip to the zoo! In Fourth Grade with Mrs. Burris, I was introduced to basic physics and algebra for the first time. This further solidified my interest in math and science. I remember learning how to cook a hot dog in science class using only a mirror, a coat hanger, aluminum foil, and a little help from the sun. In Sixth Grade, we were finally the big kids. Our trip to Jekyll Island is one of my all-time favorite childhood memories and top Trinity experiences! I’ll never forget camping under moss-covered trees, hiking through marshes and covering ourselves in mud, enjoying the sundrenched beaches, scaling an obstacle course, and relying on my classmates to catch me in the trust fall. I remember
singing “Lean on Me” with my classmates at our graduation party as some of us teared up, reluctant to leave Trinity behind but well-prepared for our futures ahead.
Q: Where did you go when you left Trinity? A: I graduated from Trinity in 1995 and attended Westminster, graduating high school in 2001. From there, it was on to Davidson College in North Carolina, where I majored in psychology with a focus in premedical sciences. After graduating from Davidson in 2005, I took a “gap year” before medical school to complete my premedical courses, take my Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), work in a laboratory at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and backpack through Spain with my best friend. I started medical school at Emory University School of Medicine in 2006. I met my sweet husband, Austin, at the end of my first year of medical school. He was a fourth-year medical student who was two weeks shy of graduating and starting a residency in orthopedic surgery in Jackson, Mississippi; not the best timing, but he was “the one.” In 2010, Austin proposed, and I joined him in Jackson, where I attended residency in emergency medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. I was offered a faculty position in 2014 and have remained there since as an attending physician and as the emergency medicine clerkship director for fourth-year medical students.
Q: What inspired you to become a doctor? A: I didn’t always know that I wanted to attend medical school, nor did my decision arise out of a single life-altering experience. Rather, my attraction to the medical profession came into greater focus with each new medical experience and with each new academic opportunity in science. I continuously enjoyed the sciences and mathematics more than other subjects and subsequently earned my highest grades in those courses. One summer in high school, I decided to work at a hospital to surround myself with medical professionals and learn more about their careers. With the help of my mentor and friend, Dr. Pat Meadors, I became a clinical partner in the emergency department at Piedmont Hospital, shadowing doctors daily and observing many medical procedures. Rather than being repulsed by the sights and smells of the ED, I found myself drawing closer out of curiosity. I began to look forward to each new opportunity to speak with the doctors and watch them work. While attending college, I had opportunities to shadow a neonatologist and a general surgeon through Davidson’s Physician Mentor Program. While working with these doctors, I observed several traits that inspired me. The seemingly most effective doctors exhibited compassion for patients and interacted with non-judgmental attitudes. I admired the teamwork I saw at play while observing various procedures. I began to see certain doctors as my
role models and to hope to care for people in this way in the future. In a medical sociology course in college, my professor showed our class an intriguing documentary entitled “So You Want to Be a Doctor?” Several medical students were interviewed in the film, and I completely identified with their enthusiasm. It was as if everything clicked—my attraction to science, a desire to help others in their most vulnerable moment, and to care for others in a hands-on manner—and I realized I wanted to pursue a career in medicine.
Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how you work? A: I am an emergency physician in Mississippi’s only academic level one trauma center. When I say that the pandemic has affected every single aspect of work, this is not an understatement. Meetings and lectures have been virtual since March 2020. I mentor medical students over the phone rather than in person. The hospital has been at full capacity since the pandemic began as well. This greatly impacts the flow of the emergency department and the ability to care for patients, not only those with the virus, but with other diseases as well. When the ED does not have enough beds, it means the waiting room builds up and patient care is delayed. It means we cannot accept transfers from other hospitals. It means caring for critical patients where we can find space. I have treated gunshot wound victims in the hallway and stroke patients in triage bays. Not only do my colleagues and I wear masks at all times, we also now gown up, glove up, and wear eye protection when we care for patients with suspected COVID. There is also the heightened anxiety surrounding the virus. We worry about contracting COVID. We worry about giving it to our loved ones unknowingly. We worry about how it will affect our residents’ and students’ education and mental health. Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel given the vaccines that have been developed. I have now completed the full Pfizer vaccination course, and so have most of my colleagues. We are grateful and hopeful that we are turning a corner and that life will go back to normal soon, for ourselves, our families, and our patients.
Q: What advice would you give Trinity’s students who may be interested in a career in medicine? A: Study hard and keep your grades up, especially in science and math. Find a physician mentor and shadow physicians early and often. Become involved in leadership positions at school or in church. Volunteer your time helping others and participate in community service. Consider an after-school or weekend job; this will teach you a lot about people and the value of a dollar. Keep track of all your experiences with regards to the above, as your college and medical school applications will require a timeline of your commitments outside of school. Lastly, live life a little 71
before starting medical school and residency. For instance, consider a year off to travel, work or pursue another passion. Once you get to medical school, it will be an intense, but worthwhile, four years and beyond.
Q: What aspects of your job do you find the most rewarding or fulfilling? A: As an emergency medicine physician, I treat anyone and
instilled in me by my parents, my church, Trinity, and Westminster: putting my faith in God, respecting others and myself, and giving back to the community. They say that too whom much is given, much will be expected. I am most proud that I am able to help others using the education and gifts I have received.
Q: What else do you enjoy doing outside of work?
everyone who shows up to the emergency department with a medical or psychiatric complaint. Some patients are very sick, while others are not and simply need some reassurance and outpatient follow-up. When I arrive for my shift, I don’t have any idea what will come through the door that day, which is one aspect of emergency medicine I love. Each day is a blank slate, or mystery, and I have to make decisions in real time based on my training and skills. It is fast-paced, exciting, and definitely a team sport. It is an honor to care for anyone who seeks my help, and it’s very fulfilling to be able to help someone when they need it the most. The most rewarding cases are those in which my ED interventions truly change a patient’s outcome. For instance, the patient with anaphylactic shock who receives epinephrine, Benadryl and steroids and is asking to go home several hours later after almost dying. While not every patient in the ED has a life-threatening condition, I’ve never left a shift thinking to myself, “I did not help anyone today.”
A: My husband and I have a two-year-old daughter, Anna, and a one-year-old son, Taylor. They are everything to us. Aside from spending time with family and being constantly entertained, I enjoy playing in a tennis league, pickleball, walking/running, yoga, Pilates, traveling, collecting art, abstract painting, live music, festivals, cooking, and nutrition.
Q: What are you most proud of?
would absolutely send my kids there if we lived in Atlanta. Reminiscing for this article has been an enjoyable walk down memory lane, and I feel so lucky to be a part of the Trinity community.
A: I’ve been so incredibly blessed throughout my life with amazing parents, friends, teachers, mentors, and a wonderful church family. I cannot take credit for where I am in life without recognizing the important role that others have played. I am especially grateful for the values
Q: Do you keep up with any of your Trinity classmates? A: Yes! Old friends are the best friends, and Trinity friendships last a lifetime. Jennifer White Hocutt ’95, Sally Wood ’95, Catherine Overend Stewart ’95, Anne Zimmerman Hawkins ’95, Meredith Bailey Simmons ’95, Luke Sebel ’95, Bubba Beasley ’95, and Barclay Taylor ’95 just to name a few.
Q: Is there anything else you would like us to know? A: I am so fortunate and proud to have attended Trinity and
Allison is pictured with her husband, Austin, and their two-year-old daughter, Anna, and oneyear-old son, Taylor.
Class Notes Compiled By Amanda Vann, Advancement Associate
In Memoriam John Dumas Harrison ’78 passed away at his home on Lookout Mountain, Georgia, on Sunday, November 22, 2020, after courageously battling the life-long effects of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and resulting kidney disease. He was in the presence of his loving wife of 23 years, Kerrie, and their beloved daughter, Beth. John was born on September 22, 1965, in Montgomery, Alabama, but lived the majority of his life in Atlanta. He attended Trinity School and Pace Academy and was a proud member of the Class of 1984 at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. John graduated from Mercer University
Howard Connell ’84 and his wife, Katharine Field Connell, live in their “forever house,” an 1895 Victorian in Candler Park, with their three-year-old Henry and one-year-old Willow. They built a literal mother-in-law cottage in their backyard last year. Howard is a consultant and helps companies develop strategy and management programs with a more recent focus on sustainability, e.g., navigating climate risk and related reporting. He is also involved with the Center for Civic Innovation as well as the Lifecycle Building Center. Katharine is the general counsel for a federal agency.
in 1988. At the time of his death, John was the Director of Institutional Advancement at Baylor, a position and place he genuinely cherished. John’s family and the thousands of friends he regarded as family knew him as a faithful fighter, facing adverse health issues with a constant positive attitude and indescribable sense of humor. Lesser men would have been despondent when confronting these challenges. John chose to be a beacon of light and purveyor of joy for all who were blessed to know him. John is also survived by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Charles E. Harrison Jr.; his brothers, Chase Harrison and Ponder Harrison (Judy); his mother-in-law, Louise Lupica; his four nephews, Charlie (Kemper), Jamie, Beau, and Ladd Harrison; and his niece, Wendy Harrison. He was preceded in death by his sister, Elizabeth Dumas Harrison. John was one of a kind. He will be forever remembered and will live on in the hearts of all those he touched. Obituary originally published in The Atlanta JournalConstitution from Nov. 28 to Nov. 29, 2020.
Howard says, “Although a global pandemic puts a damper on many things, life is great overall! Looking to build a new normal that is better in many ways than the old one.”
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Nat Turner ’84 began a new diplomatic assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2020.
David Bockel ’89 founded Old Ivy Asset Management, a boutique financial advisory firm in 2018, and serves as the CEO and Chief Investment Officer. Clay Prickett ’96 graduated from Georgia Tech in December 2020 with his Master of Business Administration. Clay and his wife, Ali Prickett, welcomed their daughter, Barbara Gray Prickett, on February 10, 2021. Gray joined proud big brother Griffin.
Emily Hart Cobb Breece ’97 and her husband, Brad Breece, welcomed son James Isaac Breece on November 25, 2020. He joined proud big sister Maggie.
Hattie Knox Galhausen ’97 and her husband, Randy Galhausen, welcomed Matilda “Tillie” Ann Gelhausen on September 4, 2020. Big brother Griffin adores her.
Frances Howell Parrish ’97 and her husband, Jack Parrish, welcomed Whitaker Howell Parrish on August 29, 2020. Whitaker joined three-year-old sister Kate and five-year-old brother Jack. Alexandra Robinson Daniels ’98 is currently a senior associate at Baker McKenzie in Chicago in the transactional practice group focusing on international mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructurings. Margaret Shepard Slaughter ’01 and her husband, Thomas Slaughter, welcomed a son, William Shepard, on October 2, 2020. William joined proud big sister Maggie.
Kelsey Reed Armbruster ’02 started a business called Innercise Yoga. Based in Atlanta, Kelsey offers classes everywhere, from schools to local breweries, and offers in-home services. For more information, please visit her website www.innerciseyoga.com “Innercise Yoga is all about introducing the yogic practice and principles in any setting,” says Kelsey. “The yoga practice itself is designed to balance the body, clear the mind, and activate awareness. In this expansive practice, the unconscious becomes conscious allowing the ego body to transcend to beyond individuality and ignite divine knowledge. The intention of this practice is to cultivate this sense of empowerment and peace in your daily life.”
Grace Granade Riley ’03 and her husband, Tim Riley, welcomed a daughter, Frances Elizabeth Riley, on December 24, 2020.
Caroline James ’06 started her Master of Business Administration at Yale School of Management in the fall. Caroline originally became interested in waste and the climate crisis while a student at Trinity, and her goal of promoting a more sustainable, circular economy has not changed. Caroline works for the Yale Center for Business and the Environment and is also a first-year leader of the Business and the Environment Club. After her MBA, Caroline is hoping to return to the South to work in sustainable packaging or waste management.
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Photo: Michael C. Hebert, New Orleans Saints
Photos: Northwestern Athletics
Blake Gillikin ’10 has joined Grant Haley ’08 playing for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints after playing football together at Penn State University. Blake (#4) is a punter, and Grant (#30) is a cornerback. Blake is pictured with Thomas Morstead, the Saints’ punter since 2009.
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Tyler Gillikin’10 (#43), who is a long snapper for Northwestern, finished his senior season playing in all nine games.
James Hernandez ’14 enjoys living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and loves attending The Wharton School. He has joined the Scholars of Finance club and Wharton Investing and Trading Group.
Riley Hernandez ’14 received the Dean’s Scholarship to attend University of Southern California and loves living in Los Angeles.
Some members of the Trinity Class of 2015, who will be graduating this spring from The Westminster Schools, came back together at Trinity to celebrate their senior year and take a group photo. Pictured front: Walker Weston, Stone Sparkes, Lilly Jordan, Sarah Street, Ava Gavin, Kennedy Walker, Eva Romero
Back: Kaelan Kelly, Ryan Hockstein, Julia Rhee, Claire Genova, Chloe Emch, Mary Locke Speed
I’Mani Barnes ’15 is a recipient of the Morehead-Cain Foundation scholarship, which covers all expenses for four years of undergraduate study at UNC-Chapel Hill. Based on their “leadership, moral force of character, academic achievement, and physical vigor,” only 3 percent of applicants are selected for this program that recognizes inspiring young leaders from all over the globe. A senior
18 at Atlanta Girls’ School, I’Mani serves her school and community in numerous roles, including lead volunteer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; student ambassador; co-leader of many school clubs, including the Committee for Social Justice and Equity and the Community Service Club; captain of the varsity track team; and varsity basketball player.
Ava Gavin ’15, Emma Riley McGahan ’15, Larson Normark ’15, and Julia Rhee ’15 served on the Westminster Homecoming Court this
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Leah Nuffer ’15 began baking during the onset of the pandemic and kept baking. Last summer, she created Leah’s Bakeshop to benefit Families First, an organization that provides mental health support and educational services to Georgia families in need. Having volunteered prior to the pandemic as a “literacy coach” for Horizons Atlanta, Leah felt the need to find new ways to get involved with service that wasn’t face-to-face. “Not only did I begin to interact with communities virtually, but I also realized that some of the biggest help is done just through organizing programs and raising money,” says Leah.
Julia Rhee ’15 was named the Region 5-AAA Player of the Year in softball after a great year playing for the Westminster Wildcats.
23 Julia Rhee ’15 and Sarah Street ’15, who serve as coeditors-in-chief of The Westminster Bi-Line, both received honorable mentions for the 2020 Yale Bassett Award for Community Engagement. The university, through the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM), recognizes 35 high school juniors nationally who have “a record of creative leadership and public service, academic distinction, interdisciplinary problem solving, and experience addressing societal issues.” Honorees of the 2020 Bassett Award were selected from an applicant pool of more than 1,000 students, hailing from 48 states. The selection committee named 15 winners and 20 honorable mentions.
Julia Jamieson ’16 and Lexi Thomas ’16 led a team of their friends, called the “Cancer Conquerors,” to raise more than $62,000 for blood cancer research during the 2021 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Students of the Year philanthropic leadership development program. During the program’s seven-week fundraiser, Julia and Lexi’s team competed with teens from schools around Atlanta to see who could raise the most money. According to LLS, the program helps “students foster professional skills such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and project management.” Julia says, “We were so excited and happy to be able to see the number we raised but most of all to be bringing hope and support to blood cancer patients and their families. Especially with the pandemic, it often feels like we are helpless and unable to do anything to support our communities and those suffering, but with LLS, I truly felt like we were making a difference. We are so thankful for our families and friends that were able to donate and support Lexi and I throughout the campaign. LLS is doing truly lifesaving work, and I am so honored that I got to be a part of it.”
Joe Sapone ’17 was recently named Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School athlete of the week. Joe broke the school record in the 3,200-meter run by more than 10 seconds. He ran a 9:40, taking second overall in the Battle of Sandy Springs. Joe also earned AllRegion and All-State honors last year for track and field. The photo is from the State Cross Country Meet, where Joe took second place overall.
Trevor Dempsey ’19 set a new middle school record in one-meter diving at The Westminster Schools with a score of 200.3.
Sarah Berry ’17, Wyatt Bonner ’16, Reilly Cullen ’17, and Will Overstreet ’17 performed in Matilda the Musical at Whitefield.
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Allison Williams left a lasting legacy with the founding of Trinity School in 1951. Allison and his wife, Jo’s vision of Trinity serves as an inspiration that should encourage each of us to follow in their footsteps and create our own legacy at Trinity.
Make the gift of a lifetime Members of The Allison and Josephine Williams Legacy Society have included Trinity in their wills or estate plans. Their gifts provide financial support that is critical for the School’s future. Trinity relies on planned gifts to grow and flourish. Our physical campus, named professional development funds, and endowed scholarships all benefit from the generosity of The Allison and Josephine Williams Legacy Society members. Planned gifts continue our readiness for opportunities and challenges ahead and help Trinity remain a leading elementary-only institution. We are grateful for these thoughtful donors because their unique financial support ensures that the School will be prepared for the future and for future generations of Trinity students.
Planned Giving at Trinity It is easy to leave a lasting legacy at Trinity through a planned gift. • Wills and Trusts: make an important impact on Trinity that doesn’t cost anything during your lifetime and will only take effect after your other obligations are fulfilled • Life Insurance Policies: create a long-term gift that won’t draw funds from your estate • Retirement Plan: name Trinity as a beneficiary of your retirement plan, and leave less-taxed assets to family • Stock and Appreciated Assets: take advantage of appreciated securities without incurring a capital gains tax • Donor-Advised Fund: make Trinity the final beneficiary of your existing fund
Contact Katie Hammett, 404-760-4407 or email@example.com, to speak further about including Trinity in your future plans or if they already include Trinity. Additional information can be found on Trinity’s Planned Giving website: http://trinityatl.plannedgiving.org
100% of our Trustees contribute to The Trinity Fund
of our current parents have given to The Trinity Fund within the last five years
of our faculty and staff have supported The Trinity Fund over the past 25 years
of your gift to The Trinity Fund is tax deductible
Building a stronger
At Trinity School, our resources are dedicated to building strong, independent young minds. Our annual giving initiative, The Trinity Fund, is the foundation of philanthropic support for our students and all their Trinity experiences. Gifts to The Trinity Fund are used to address the School’s immediate needs, such as curricular enhancements, classroom improvements, faculty salaries, technology, and need-based financial assistance. The Trinity Fund gives the School the necessary resources to elevate the Trinity Experience from a great one to an exceptional one.
Join us as we strive for 100 percent participation in The Trinity Fund. Your support ensures that our students will continue to flourish. Thank you for making our school stronger. To make your gift, please visit www.trinityatl.org/give or contact Katie Hammett, Director of The Trinity Fund and Major Gifts, at 404-760-4407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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