All posts by Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy

Preparing Our Hearts for Advent

By Rev. Amy P. Turner, Head Chaplain

Advent begins this year on Sunday, Dec. 3. Advent is the church season that ends with Jesus’ joyous arrival on Christmas.

It is about preparing – preparing yourself for the arrival of Jesus. Whenever we prepare for the arrival of a guest, there is work we do around the house in order to make their room ready for them. If you do not have a designated guest room, then you will need to clean out the room, clean up any clutter, and move things around. You vacuum, dust, and clean the bathroom. You get clean sheets out to make the bed, and set out clean towels in the bathroom. Sometimes we have to run to the grocery store to get either extra food or special food for meals. The work of preparing for a guest is not necessarily a quick process, not something that can be done in a few minutes, but it takes a bit of time and some thoughtfulness, making sure to plan and accommodate for your guests’ needs and preferences.

Preparing for Advent is a similar process. Each year we walk through the four weeks of Advent knowing the baby Jesus will soon be coming, but we cannot welcome him into our hearts and homes if we have not taken the time to prepare a room for him. We have four weeks to intentionally clean up our hearts and lives, to be reminded of the importance of the task. It cannot happen overnight. The birth of Jesus is a holy mystery that requires time spent over four weeks to prepare and begin to enter fully into the joy and excitement of what is coming.

Advent gives us four weeks of intentional time to prepare ourselves, our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our bodies for Jesus’ arrival – to prepare ourselves for the arrival of the best guest we can have visit us – Jesus. To take time to clean out the clutter in the rooms of our lives, lay out clean sheets for him to spend time in our hearts and minds, and invite him to stop, sit down, catch up on everything happening in our lives – the sadnesses that weigh down our souls and hearts, and the joys that lighten our moods and bring happiness to our lives.

I invite each of you to spend time this Advent preparing for Jesus’ arrival. Below are some suggestions:

  1. #AdventWord#AdventWord is the world’s first crowd-sourced global Advent Calendar that asks Christians to pray over a word and meditation and respond with an image on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.
  1. “Advent in full color” bookletBooklet with weekly readings, mediations, prayers, and practices for individuals and families for each of the four weeks of Advent including designs to color on each page. Booklets can be picked up at Upper School office.
  1. Advent Paper ChainsCreate paper chains using the digital downloads that count down to Christmas. Each day the family removes a piece of the chain and use the scripture for family devotions and the theme as a focus for prayer. There are two versions: Advent Chains and Names of Jesus Chain.

Student’s Trip to China Sparks Gratitude for Education

By Naomi Aguilar, HT Class of 2019

I never thought that one evening of randomly checking my email would start a journey that would change my life. I heard about the NSLI-Y (National Security Language Initiative for Youth) program through alumnus Evan Killion, who traveled to Russia through the same program. NSLI-Y gives merit-based scholarships to high school students for either one academic summer or one academic year to study in foreign countries and learn languages that the government deems critical for Americans to learn. They currently offer eight languages including Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Bahasa (Indonesian), Korean, Persian (Tajiki), Russian and Turkish.

I have been learning Mandarin in school since the fifth grade and have always had an immense passion for Asian and Chinese culture. Since elementary school, dreams of exploring Asia have been my go-to fantasy. The only way I could experience China was by watching Chinese movies and soap operas. My passion for Chinese culture directly led me to discover other Asian cultures, and my interest in foreign policy later developed. When I caught wind of a free trip to China with other kids who are just as enthusiastic, I instantly applied.

I left on June 24 to Nanjing, China and stayed there for six weeks. Already having been informed of Chinese culture and what to expect from my own research, I did not experience much culture shock. I was placed into the intermediate class at the university at which were studying, and I lived with a six-member host family during my time. I was surprised at the amount of freedom we had throughout the entire trip. After our classes (that ran from 8 a.m. to noon) and our cultural excursions, we could hang out with friends wherever we wanted. This program helped me develop independence and allowed me to develop a deep sense of gratitude for what I had back home here in America. China is not a third-world country, but it is still not considered a developed country. One of the experiences I had that will stay with me forever was when I visited a palace with my host dad, grandfather and little brother, I could not read one character on a plaque at the museum. I asked my grandfather what the character meant, and he told me he could not read. I had never meet someone who could not read, and for some reason I felt so shocked hearing his words. He later described to me that his family was too poor to get education as farmers in rural China. From that moment on I remembered how privileged and thankful I am to be living in the United States and having an education.

Going to China forced me to deal with my own anxieties related to traveling and having my own responsibilities as a student. This trip made me realize my passion for learning about the everyday man and the small things that make everyone unique. In terms of careers to pursue, my China experience has encouraged me to think about jobs that let me deal with the everyday man that exists in every nation. This trip was my first time going to a foreign country; before this, the farthest had traveled was to San Francisco. Going to China made me confront my ignorance and romanticism about the outside world, as previously I’ve only watched the news and made judgments on those statistics. Now I know that there are always two sides to the story, and an equal amount of importance should be placed on both sides.


Keeping in Touch with HT

by Michelle Salyer, Communications & Marketing Manager

Whether you’re new to Holy Trinity or you’ve been around for years, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with everything going on at school. When is fall break? Where can I find the homework? Why didn’t I receive the email everyone else did? Here’s a quick guide to keeping up with communications at HT.

  • onCampus. onCampus is the parent portal of our website, The majority of parent information is housed on the website, inside the login. Here, you’ll be able to find teacher pages for each class, homework assignments, your child’s grades and report cards, a calendar that’s specific to your child’s assignments, sports and activities, and important documents like the Family Handbook.

Through the onCampus messaging system, your child’s teachers and club advisors may send individual and group messages. If you’re not logging into onCampus, you may be missing important information about classwork, upcoming tests or club meetings! You can also use onCampus to send messages directly to faculty and staff – simply go to the Messages menu and Compose a New Message, or look up the name in the onCampus Faculty & Staff Directory.

You may also receive emergency notifications via onCampus, for example, information regarding school closure due to a hurricane or other inclement weather. The login can be found on the homepage of our website, If you or your student have trouble logging in, email our IT department at:

Tip: You can forward onCampus messages directly to your email or receive them as texts. Log in and go to the drop down menu beneath your name, then select Settings. On the left of the screen, go to the Account Settings area and select Notifications. Under Notification Settings, fill in the information under: “Select how you would like to receive notifications.” Next to Messages, select the box for Email or Text to select which types of onCampus messages you would like to forward.

  • Emails. When information needs to be sent schoolwide, or to more than one class or grade level, for example, the recent “welcome back to school” letters from Mrs. Giangrisostomi and Dr. Kelce, it will be sent to you via email. Email is also the primary way we will communicate with you concerning an emergency such as a school closure. If you are not receiving emails from HT, please add the following emails to your address book:,,, (Upper School) and (Lower School).
  • Weekly Family Newsletter. Each Friday around 2 p.m., you should receive an email version of our family newsletter. We’ve changed the format this year to be shorter, easier to scan and easier to view from your smart phone. Within the newsletter, you’ll find important dates such as parent coffees, school events, and major fundraisers, as well as links to student news, stories in the media and more. Every HT parent should already be receiving the newsletter automatically. If you’re not, please check your junk mail folder first, then email Past newsletters are now archived on our website under the Parent Resources button on the onCampus resource board.
  • “Remind” Text Notifications. Text notifications are another way we communicate with you during an emergency, but you must opt in to receive these notifications. There are separate Remind notifications for: Lower School information and emergencies, Upper School student government/student information, and Upper School emergencies. To sign up, text the following messages to the number 81010 (be sure to include the @symbol in your message):
    1. Lower School information & emergencies: @e8hg3k
    2. Upper School student government: @htsg
    3. Upper School emergencies: @usnotify
  • Naviance. Naviance is our web-based college counseling program that provides detailed and personalized career and college planning for students and parents. The counseling staff will use the program to send important emails to a targeted group of Upper School parents and students about college and counseling related topics, including college advising updates about relevant topics and events.
  • Social Media. If you’re a social media user, be sure to follow Holy Trinity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! You’ll not only be able to see fun photos of school activities during the school day, you’ll also learn more about student and faculty awards and accomplishments, see links to news stories about HT, receive reminders about events and sporting activities, and much, much more. We’ll also use social media as another way to communicate with you regarding emergencies. If you are the parent of an HT alum, please encourage your graduate to stay in touch via our alumni Facebook page.

Follow us here:

  • Facebook: andcom/HTEAAlumni/
  • Instagram:
  • Twitter:
  • Website and Blog: Check back often to see new additions to our website, such as our new photo gallery and bios on our new teachers. You’ll also find a variety of school calendars on our home page, top right. In case of an emergency such as a school closure, we’ll also post a message across our homepage.

New blogs are published several times a month and feature articles from Holy Trinity faculty, staff – and sometimes students! Sign up on the Tiger Blog page to receive notifications when new blogs are posted.

Tip: If you’re looking for dates for school breaks, these can most easily be found on the “Academic Calendar” in the Calendars drop down menu.

  • Call or Email Us: Add Holy Trinity to your list of “Favorite” contacts: 321-723-8323 (press 1 for Lower School, 2 for Upper School). School office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., so feel free to call us! Not sure who to ask? Email and we’ll pass along your inquiry to the correct person.