My Journey Through Holy Trinity

The following piece is part of a five-week series on speeches given by Holy Trinity sixth graders at their Moving Up Ceremony. Read as our students look back at their experiences and memories at the Lower School and look ahead to new opportunities at the Upper School.

By Sammy Chaffiot, Rising Seventh Grader

Over the years at Holy Trinity, I have had some exciting experiences! I started at Holy Trinity when I was in just Pre-K, so I am what we refer to as a “lifer.” It seems like I went from Pre-K to sixth grade in just a week or two. I will never forget HT because of the awesome teachers and friends that I have made throughout the years. I am excited to Move Up from the Lower School because I know that my years at the Upper School will be just as great! I am also sad because there are so many great things about the Lower School that I will miss, like having P.E. every day, fun chapel services and getting ice cream on Thursdays. The makerspace and 3-D printer in the library, band, art class and playing sports are all great memories I will never forget!

It all started on my first day of preschool when my mom dropped me off. When I walked into the classroom I was nicely greeted by Mrs. Bentz and Mrs. Whitaker. As soon as I stepped into the classroom I knew that I was meant to be there. One memory I will always remember is that we got to have recess twice a day for 30 minutes. Another memory was going to the old historical chapel.

In Kindergarten I was pretty nervous, but I had an amazing teacher, Mrs. Novak. Our class was called the Fireflies, and one of my favorite kindergarten memories was Mrs. Novak playing her guitar. We would count the days of the year on the whiteboard. I had many friends in Kindergarten that I still hang out with today.

Then just like that I was starting my first grade year with Mrs. Stephenson. We called ourselves Camp Hiho! We had a great year in first grade because we got to do lots of fun projects and field trips. One of the field trips that I was really looking forward to was when we got to go on a farm which was a blast. I milked a cow for the first time!

Second grade was my best year ever! Mrs. Sirois was always in a happy cheerful mood. She made learning really fun, and it just seemed like we really had the same personalities. She was pretty funny, and we laughed a lot!

In third grade I had Mrs. White for my homeroom teacher. We went to Epcot for a class trip and got to learn about plants and the hydroponic system. Another memory about what I loved about third grade is when we had a good day, Mrs. White would let us play candy baseball at the end of the day.

Fourth grade had a lot of excitement and fun. First off, we could either go to the field for recess and play kickball or go to the playground to climb on the equipment or play basketball. One memory about something that made some people laugh and some not, was when Mr. Gomez gave us laps if we were talking too much or not raising our hands. My homeroom teacher Mr. Parker loved to make us write a lot of notes, and he would joke around with us a lot. That year Mr. Parker got the Air Force “Teacher of the Year” award!

I loved fifth grade for many reasons.  I had a great teacher, Mrs. Cotton, who loved to see everyone give 110%. Mrs. Cotton is very nice and passionate about what she does. One of my favorite memories about fifth grade is when we got to go on the Pathfinders’ field trip. We all had a great time climbing trees, building forts and sleeping in cool cabins. We enjoyed reading the book Bound for Oregon. When we finished reading it, we got to build our own wagon to travel around the school like going on the Oregon Trail. The best part was having the ice cream party.

Now I am about to graduate from sixth grade. There have been so many great things about sixth grade that it’s hard to know where to begin. To start, we went on an amazing field trip to the springs in Orlando where we canoed and saw fish, turtles, birds, water bugs and alligators. Character Carnival is another great time. Playing sports at the Lower School has been awesome, too!

It has been a long journey through my years at Holy Trinity Lower School. I am excited to go to the Upper School but sad to leave the Lower School. I can’t thank all my teachers in every single class enough. I have been taught so many different lessons by all of them, including my art, music, computer, band and P.E. teachers. There are so many great things about my teachers. Through the hard times and good times, they have been there for me in everything I do. I want to take this opportunity to say, “thank you, HT!”



My Holy Trinity Memories

The following piece is part of a five-week series on speeches given by Holy Trinity sixth graders at their Moving Up Ceremony. Read as our students look back at their experiences and memories at the Lower School and look ahead to new opportunities at the Upper School.

By Raina Wamsley, Rising Seventh Grader

I came to Holy Trinity in sixth grade. This year has been my favorite out of all my school years. My teachers were very welcoming and nice, and all the students are super friendly. I will never forget all the things I have learned at Holy Trinity. I have done more in one school year than I have done in all the others combined! From doing many different experiments in science class with Mrs. Boates to reading six books with Mrs. Cotton, I will always cherish the fun things we did and the memories I have made here.

One of my favorite memories from sixth grade was the field trip to Wekiva Springs. I had so much fun canoeing and fossil hunting with my friends! We even got to swim in the springs! The funniest moment of that trip was when Kiki was pushing our canoe off a sandbar. When she got back in the canoe it was off balance and we tipped. It was extremely funny, and we were soaking wet! Another one of my favorite memories was winning the basketball championship game. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without our amazing coaches Mrs. Boates and Mrs. Williams.! It was a very intense game, and the team did a great job under the pressure. I miss basketball season!

I’m going to miss the Lower School so much! I will especially miss the teachers. Holy Trinity is a very special place where you can learn and have fun at the same time. I learned a few lessons this year. You have to study a lot for math; don’t wait until the last minute to do projects: plan them out so you don’t stress about them; and the teachers will always be there to support you.

My year at Holy Trinity Lower School has been a memorable one. Thank you!

So You Are Heading to Junior High…

By Kathy Peters, Director of Junior High Academics & Advising

Energy…Excitement….New friends….Choices……CHANGE…

For some families, moving from elementary school to junior high school is often as great an adjustment as leaving home for college. Why?

First, the structure of the day changes. Rather than having one or two teachers and a comfortable homeroom base to work from and return to, most students will now have 7 or 8 class periods each day. Learning to make quick transitions every 45 minutes or so and move fluidly on a schedule takes some finesse.

Next, the sheer number of people to interact with daily can be daunting. More friends, new friends, more teachers, and additional school personnel. Trying to remember who teaches what, who wanted you to bring 50 notecards tomorrow, and who to ask about your jammed lock can stump the best of us.

Then there is all of the stuff to keep track of. Keep it in a locker? Carry it all with you?  Bring a lunch or buy lunches? What to do with all of the sports practice equipment and my tuba?

Lastly, the overarching theme of junior high—“What are my friends doing, wearing, studying, playing, watching, etc.”

Here are a few tips for survival:

Visit the school campus before the year begins. Find out about drop off and pick up routes, walk the halls and locate the junior high classrooms.  Point out restrooms and water fountains and the cafeteria to your child. Consider the campus in all types of weather so your student can stay comfortable and dry. Be sure shoes and backpacks are sturdy and comfortable.

Cement one really good friendship for your child during the summer before junior high. Remember the angst we all felt when we walked into that new cafeteria and wondered where to sit, and more importantly who to sit with? It still happens. Having one solid friend to count on will help to navigate that as well as the many ups and downs of typical junior high relationships.

Buy only the essentials in clothing or uniforms and school supplies to start the year. Junior high students grow quickly and fads and trends change just as rapidly. That very expensive backpack or shoe may fade from popularity by the end of September.

Work with your child to develop organizational strategies. Keeping up with all of the assignments, papers, tests and due dates can be overwhelming at first. Find out if your school uses an online system for homework/assignments and get familiar with it. Encourage your child to use a planner and write things down. Color code the book covers and folders for each class. (Everything for English is blue, Math is green, etc.) Label things with your child’s full name. Consider using disposable water bottles and paper or plastic lunch bags if your child finds keeping track of personal items to be a challenge. Make a small emergency pen, pencil and paper kit to be stored in the locker.

Get involved in the life of the school. Yes, you can still volunteer. Many sports and music programs rely on parent support and involvement, and many teachers also still appreciate a helping hand with special activities or projects. If you are working full-time, offer to send in project supplies or snacks. Many schools offer parent coffees or book study groups. Plan to attend- especially if it your first year in a new school.

Communicate- Most teachers prefer email as it is easier to respond to during the busy pace of school days. Teach your student how to ask questions of adults, and empower him/her to do much of the communicating with teachers. If you make a conference appointment with the teacher, your child should attend also.   Subscribe to school newsletters, get to know a group of parents, and offer to drive a group of students to the many activities that they want to attend. Get a wipe off calendar that your child can use to learn long range planning and coordinating all activities.

Above all, try to relax and enjoy this time. Junior high doesn’t last forever. (A useful phrase for both good and bad days, by the way) Take advantage of mistakes to teach problem solving and help your child to stretch and branch out in new directions. Encourage joining clubs and sports to try things out. Find ways to point out all of the things your child is learning so they can take pride in their own accomplishments. Be prepared to be amazed at how much your child is going to mature and change, while remembering that growth can be bumpy, messy and surprising.

Wishing each of you a great year in junior high!

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