Needless to say, I have done more than my share of reflecting this past week as Sarah prepared to graduate. The last nine years of my daughter’s life have been spent at Trinity School. With each passing year, I watched her engage with the faculty carefully chosen to support the learners at each stage of development. I watched her experience the curriculum and activities that we as a school had developed to help students build a strong academic and character foundation, cherish childhood, empower learners, deepen experiences and to cultivate curiosity, creativity, and confidence. All of this was designed to help students flourish. It’s a lovely tagline, evoking a picture of life unfolding. The marketing strategy is more than a clever draw on one’s heartstrings. A Trinity journey results in students who flourish. I know. I watched it happen.
Sarah entered the Butterfly class, full of delight and activity. She was disinterested in coloring in the lines, often failed to follow instructions, and was busy when she was supposed to be sitting still. At the same time, she loved the roly polys she found at recess, cherished dress up time, and devoured the lunches – as her clothes clearly showed each afternoon. Reading came hard and slow for her. Her classmates zoomed ahead. Learning Team members intervened to support her, yet she still lagged behind. Friendships lagged as well. It was hard to be different. I often wondered if perhaps she wasn’t a good fit at Trinity. Sarah could do math with ease, and she loved art and music. But still the reading and writing kept her from feeling like she was a student.
Third Grade came and our lives changed in an instant with the death of her father. It was the Trinity family who made sure my daughter was okay. Miss Paige bought her art supplies, knowing how she loved to draw and perhaps drawing would help her sort out her feelings. Miss Coote showered her with love and encouragement. Miss Suzanne wrote her a note about her own loss at the age of 9. Ms. Hansen honored the math student that she was so proud to be. Reading was still the enemy, and she was even further behind due to the emotional toll and lack of progress.
Fourth Grade. A year that I had dreaded as a parent, knowing that the amount of reading and writing increased. Knowing that friendships become even more difficult for girls. Knowing that reading would impact the math student she was so proud to be. A diagnosis of dyslexia, flair pens introduced by Miss Nims, new methods of taking notes shared by Mrs. Dickey, Mrs. Lynah, a devoted Trinity teacher who tutored her with gusto, and Learning Ally turned her story around. Day-by-day, she gained confidence as a reader. For the fourth year in a row, her teachers had carefully placed her with her dear friend who loved her for who she was, and she had new opportunities to show what she knew in different ways. All of a sudden, she started talking like a student, sharing what she was learning, seeking information, choosing to read. She worked hard. So hard.
Fast forward to her Leadership year. Cobalt blue. Meaningful school field trips and outdoor education trips. Student Council. Carnegie Hall. Tours for prospective parents. Taking tours at prospective secondary schools. Projects where art and creativity were honored. Opportunities to think differently. Opera. Capstone about the advantages of dyslexia! And this week. . . Graduation.
Each year, growth as a learner. Each year, growth as a friend. Each year, growth as a thinker. Each year, opportunities to shine in her own way. As I have reflected upon her journey at Trinity School, and I have shed more than a few tears at this loss of childhood, I have been immensely proud of the school that has shaped Sarah, allowing her to stretch and honoring the gifts she brings so joyfully. Thank you, Trinity School, for helping my girl flourish.
Learner, Thinker, Writer: Maryellen Berry serves the Trinity Community as the Upper Elementary Division Head.
What a lovely reflection! So privileged to know both of you.
So beautifully written, Maryellen. It’s why we do what we do. Trinity is such a special place that helps kids learn and grow– even the ones that struggle with parts of it. I’ll missing your girl’s smile around Trinity’s halls, but I know she has a terrific future ahead of her!
Just beautiful, Maryellen. Such a thoughtful combination of administrative and parental words about a girl and a school you absolutely love. We will all miss Sarah at Trinity!
What a testament to Trinity and to Sarah! Thank you for sharing, and I hope this encourages other parents to reflect on their child’s journey and the relationships that nurture it along the way.
Beautiful words. Sarah’s smile and energy will be missed in the halls and classrooms! We’ll be watching her journey continue at Whitefield though!
So beautifully written, Maryellen! Thank you so much for sharing- you are amazing. Trinity is such a special place!
What a beautiful story of Sarah’s journey through Trinity! I can’t wait see what she does next on her journey through Whitefield!
Lovely reflection on the Trinity experience! I have enjoyed watching Sarah grow over the years even though I didn’t have the privilege of teaching her!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Sarah will most definitely be missed at Trinity! She was my “go getter” in choir! All the best to this sweet girl!
What a loving tribute to Trinity’s mission and philosophy, the Trinity community, and a remarkable young lady! Thank you!
Wow! Your reflection on Sarah’s journey shows the true magic of Trinity. She is and will be great at whatever she chooses to do! It is a privilege to have been a part of her progression.
What a beautiful story about Sarah’s journey as a learner and young girl. Trinity is a special place for so many reasons – I miss you all. Can’t wait to hear about Sarah’s next chapter of her life. Beautiful reflection and words! She is lucky to have a mom like you!
Such a beautiful journey, the highs and lows. Sarah paved her way with help from wonderful teachers and a great mom. I am proud that I got to be a part of it. Trinity is truly a remarkable place!
This journey is so interesting to me, Maryellen! As one of Sarah’s art teachers, I was only ever introduced to the creative, confident, and humorous side of Sarah. For me, this post is a lesson in the complexity of our student’s lives; how we may only be seeing a single chapter of their novel. I’m so glad Sarah was able to fully flourish in all parts of her life at Trinity.
Such a beautiful essay! Thank you for sharing. The gift of dyslexia is indeed an amazing one. What a strong, smart, beautiful daughter you have! Go Trinity!
Beautiful words about a beautiful girl and our beautiful school!