Friday, August 12, 2016

New Faculty Orientation Speech by Rising Senior, Jacqueline Reynolds

 The following remarks are from rising senior, Jacqueline Reynolds, to our new faculty:
Hi, my name is Jacqueline Reynolds and I am honored to be apart of your introduction to Trinity Valley. I am going into my senior year and I would not be the person I am today without the encouragement, dedication, and inspiration from many of my teachers at TVS.
         I came to Trinity Valley in the fifth grade, entering middle school with a sense of anticipation, a little anxiety, and no idea what I was passionate about. It is normal for most eleven and twelve year olds to not be focused on their goals and aspirations in life. However, two teachers saw a gift I had for writing and pushed me towards exploring this subject. Mr. Snyder and Mrs. Harper, my seventh and eighth grade English teachers, challenged me with academic papers, creative writing papers, and research presentations. Most of my middle school classmates saw these assignments as dreadful last minute homework, yet I enjoyed the reading, the revisions, and the opportunity to express the power of words through writing. These teachers noticed this about me and lead me down the path to finding a passion of mine at such an early age.
         I continued down this path as I entered upper school, loving my English classes. Mr. Jacob was my ninth grade English teacher. On the first day of school, he walked into the classroom in a white suite, and his high intellectual intelligence intimidated me at first. Throughout the year, I developed a curiosity around more creative forms of writing. He urged me to take a Creative Writing course in order to discover an entire different level in this field. And then this past year, he pushed me to apply to summer intensives all over the country. I ended up getting accepted into the Juniper Institute at the University of Massachusetts, and it was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had. I appreciate a teacher’s ability to see something in a child and challenge them to chase their passions, dreams, or gifts.
         I have valued more than just a discovery for a passion of mine with the help of TVS faculty. My sophomore year, I signed up for the TOE Costa Rica hiking trip lead by Sra. Bussey, my Spanish teacher. When I was having doubts about the challenging adventure ahead, she took the time to sit down with me and talk through my fears and hesitations. Building these relationships with faculty surpass the academic excellence at Trinity Valley.
I have found that emotional intelligence, such as understanding our world and how to become the independent people we as growing students strive to be, is highly valued at this school. I am surrounded by motivated, driven classmates who are engaged in all different subjects. Many just need that push from a teacher to find that drive or motivation.
Appreciation and respect for the country I live in, commitment and confidence in my personal beliefs, the quadratic formula, the qualities of a leader, the process of revising a poem eight or more times, awareness of my surroundings and of the fortune in my education, the biological build up of a human being, the maturity and advantages in meeting with teachers outside of class, the simple complexity of Hemingway’s words, dedication to the school community. Whether these lessons helped me inside or outside the classroom, they have given me a greater understanding of the world beyond the gates of Trinity Valley.
So welcome and as you begin your time here, hopefully you will find that spark in each of your students and they’ll ignite a spark within you too.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

New Faculty Orientation Speech by Rising Senior, Will Pickell

The following wonderful remarks are from rising senior, Will Pickell, in speaking to our new faculty in August:

Hello, I’m Will Pickell, and I’m going to be a senior this year. I’ve been at Trinity Valley since 7th grade, and one of the things I’ve come to love most about this great school is the community. The community is what sets TVS apart from any other school. And I don’t just mean community between students. The relationships I’ve forged with members of the faculty here have helped me grow in ways I never could have imagined. TVS is unique because the teachers here genuinely have a passion not only for teaching but, more importantly, for their students. If I have a problem, be it in a class, with applying to college, with another student, or in my personal life, I know that any teacher or faculty member here will be glad to help me work it out. The faculty at TVS is helpful and caring, and because of that, I have been able to form great relationships with my teachers, coaches, etc.

One such teacher I would like to talk about is Mr. Price, my chemistry and physics teacher, and head of the Upper School science department. I have had him for two years, and had him for three periods back to back last year. Needless to say, we got to know each other pretty well. He is vastly knowledgeable in all things science, but his wisdom does not stop there. I have spent countless hours with him discussing my plans for the future, applications for various programs, the best schedule for my senior year, what colleges would best fit me, and much, much more. He has taught me just as much outside of class as he has in class, and that is truly invaluable. He, along with the rest of the teachers here, will push students to their limits, but is always there when we need help.

Another pair of instructors that have had a great influence on my life is Dr. and Mrs. Carlson. In seventh grade, I had no idea what to do when I walked on a stage. I signed up for the Middle School musical because that’s what everyone else was doing. However, with Mrs. Carlson’s guidance, I grew a love for acting that is still with me today. Thanks to Mrs. Carlson, I have become very active in the drama department at Trinity Valley, and have participated in a number of shows. Dr. Carlson has also helped me in this journey. Though he was my sophomore English teacher, he is much more than that. In past summers, he has helped to put on Trinity Valley’s Shakespeare program, and has helped me prepare, rehearse, and present Shakespearean monologues in the school’s annual monologue competition. The Carlsons are some of the most caring people I’ve met, and have always been willing and eager to work with students, are thrilled to see their students learn and grow, and exhibit the passion for teaching that is so dear to the hearts of the students.

Finally, one of the most influential instructors I have had at Trinity Valley is Coach Mattox, our head football coach. He is not only a coach, but a mentor. He has taught me just as much about being an outstanding member of society as he has about football. He instills in his players a strong work ethic, a desire to compete, and, most importantly, how to live life with respect, humility, and class. He has taught me that, like in football, life is not defined by whether or not you get knocked down, but rather whether or not you get back up. These lessons will no doubt stick with me for years.

The students and faculty of Trinity Valley work together to create an incredible community. The teachers are passionate to teach, the students are eager to learn. Though the students are diverse, we all share a distinct motivation, and a drive to succeed. The small size of TVS means that everyone knows everyone, and we are always there for each other. We have gone through trying times, and these times have taught me that it is not what you have that helps you through something, but rather who you have. At Trinity Valley, I can assure you that you will always have the best. I think that’s what it comes down to. The relationships forged at Trinity Valley inspire us all to succeed, not just in the classroom, but on stage, on the field, or in the community. We look up to our teachers because they are not just teachers: they are counselors, advisors, and mentors. I know that you are all here because you will fit this bill. As cliche as it may be, Trinity Valley is truly a family. So welcome to our family, and thank you for your time.