Trinity celebrates freshmen accomplishments


This image was accessed via Google Images under the Creative Commons License

Congratulations to all members of the class of 2024 in continuing to persevere in such a challenging year!

Freshmen year of high school is a major transition. A new building, new classes, new opportunities – it is easy to become overwhelmed. For the graduating class of 2024, however, their entry into high school was made even more difficult by the added challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Despite these challenges, Trinity’s ninth grade class made the most of the year by excelling in sports, extracurriculars and the annual World War One Debates. Freshmen Natalie Ewbank, Agatha Niccoloai, and Assaad Nassar all made important strides in their high school careers and reflected on their class’ transition into high school.

Natalie Ewbank has been swimming for six years. Moving up to the high school team gave her new opportunities and helped her to further improve her performance. She was overjoyed to make the varsity swim team as a freshman.

“I am most proud of getting my 100 freestyle time down to 1 minute and 9 seconds. This was a big accomplishment for me and took a lot of hard work to achieve…The high school team was a lot of fun this year and I am excited to continue swimming on the team and improving my times.”

Agatha Niccolai was one of the members of last fall’s Freshmen Homecoming Court, one of the only social events that was able to be held this school year. What is normally a significant honor for any ninth grader was only increased by the special circumstances affecting this year’s court. 

Niccolai reflected, “The best part of getting on Homecoming Court would have to be knowing that some of my peers see me as someone who fits the qualifications for being a candidate. I also really enjoy seeing my family and friends proud of me for such an achievement.”

Assaad Nassar was one of the members of the winning team of this year’s World War One debates. Each year, ninth graders in Honors World History work together in small groups to research information on one of the countries involved in WW1. They then use their research to defend their country in a tournament-style debate officiated by upperclassmen. The event has been going on annually for decades and has become a rite-of-passage for freshmen. 

Nassar was surprised to make it into the debates, “I actually didn’t think I would make the All Stars but all the time I put into the research helped me get into All Stars and my team actually won…I think they [the debates] are… important because they teach you to stand up for yourself  -in this case your country-  but also [that the] time and effort put in can lead to victory.”

From academia to athletics, this year’s freshmen overcame many hurdles to reach success. Faced with hybrid learning, flexible instruction and precautionary safety measures, this year’s ninth graders took the new challenges on top of the already difficult transition.  

Navigating the high school can be a test within itself. 

“My biggest challenge was finding my classes. [I] know it might sound funny to be this old and still have trouble, but when you enter the high school there are 30-plus classes which can be located up stairs, down stairs, or in the basement,” reflected Nassar. 

Another adjustment that students have to make is the motivation it takes to keep up with higher level classes and the accompanying workload. High school is a time for college and life preparedness, but even so, many students are surprised by the amount of effort required to maintain steady grades and achieve success. 

Ewbank shared this obstacle: “I think the biggest challenge in my high school transition has been the workload that high school has. I was expecting there to be a lot of work, but I feel like there is always a test to study for or a project to complete. It is a reasonable amount of work once you get used to it, but it seems like a lot at first compared to what we have had in past years. It definitely takes some time to get used to.”

Niccolai agreed: “In middle school everyone roughly taught the same, and gave worksheets almost every day. However in high school it is more of taking notes and comprehending the lesson independently.”

The freshmen had to overcome other hurdles, too, in such an unconventional year. For example, the fluid formats of learning that Trinity adapted throughout the year switched back and forth between cyber, hybrid, and four days in person/one day cyber learning; it was difficult to establish any sort of routine. But the freshman persevered, and did their best to succeed despite the circumstances. 

The fact that the class of 2024 was able to accomplish what they did this year is not to be overlooked. Their hard work, motivation and dedication allowed them to push themselves to work harder and become better, a true embodiment of Hiller spirit. Congratulation to all members of this year’s freshmen class and good luck next year!