Europe 2017 Post-Trip Reflection

By: Hanya Irfan 

The Holy Trinity Europe 2017 trip was, without a doubt, the greatest experience of my life. I’ve always traveled a lot; I was born in Chicago, and I moved to Kentucky when I was in elementary school, and eventually made it to Melbourne. Even then, we were always travelling to Pakistan, UAE, Europe, or even just in the States. Still, this was so different. It was my first time being on my own, without exactly being on my own.

In the spring break of my seventh grade I went to Europe: London, Rome, Pisa, Venice, and Paris. We went to all the places that tourists generally go. That was amazing because we got to see Big Ben and take pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. However, on this trip, I got to go to the places families generally skip over in their summer traveling vacations. We got to see places with adventure; places where the history of the world was made. Having been to: Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Poland, as well as England, France, Italy, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Canada, I can truly now say I’ve been all over the world. Especially being back at home with my friends, I can appreciate that I’ve seen more than most people see in a lifetime. I’ve seen people of all colors and backgrounds, languages, and social classes with different values, different troubles and joys. It was definitely an adventure.

The travel aspect of it all was especially interesting. The teachers/chaperones on this trip gave us so much liberty to be on our own and explore the cities while still making sure we felt like a group with people who cared about us. I definitely feel so much more confident being on my own now. I’ve been through immigration so many times before but never had to fill out the customs form, print a boarding pass, or even carry my own passport. Not even being able to drive yet, I have not had to pay for my own meals and interact with people I didn’t know, definitely not people who spoke another language. In Pakistan, if I found myself in some obscure market, wonderful but risky, my mother would quickly converse with them so I would not have to speak. It was an amazing opportunity to be handed a map next to two of my closest friends, Andrea and Selena, and to figure out the charming cities of central Europe.

My favorite memory from this trip was definitely dancing on Charles Bridge. I was so excited because it was the bridge Tom Cruise, or Ethan Hunt I should say, was on in “Mission Impossible I.” My friends and I took a bunch of pictures pretending to jump off the bridge, just because I was so excited. There was a sweet band on the bridge with violins and acoustic guitars and vendors and people everywhere. The weather and water was beautiful and it was almost like a scene out of a movie; pun intended. Another amazing part was visiting Neuschwanstein Castle with our newly learned German skills. It was the most awe-inducing place I have ever been. The mountains and crystal clear water and hike to the castle was just so incredible. After lunch and the tour, a bunch of us went to the lake in front of the mountains to skip stones. We even saw a couple taking their wedding pictures. Jaden tried to teach me how to skip stones in the lake, but the closest I got was throwing the rock backwards and accidentally hitting him.

This trip was, without a doubt, the experience of a lifetime. I met so many amazing teachers and got to know them and my friends outside of the classroom. People react so different when they see the world and are thrown out of their routines, the time difference proved especially hard for Andrea and I. I’ve always wanted to be an independent person who explores everything worth exploring. This trip made me feel like I was capable of doing that. I learned so much having already come into this trip with knowledge from AP European History and am so thankful to have learned so much culture, history, and to have built amazing relationships with friends and teachers. I will never forget those ten days.

If Only I’d Known…

by the Class of 2017

Each year, Holy Trinity seniors write letters to our rising seventh graders to share their advice on navigating junior high and high school. Our 83 graduates shared 83 things they wish they had known about fitting in, standing out, working hard, and living for the moment…

  1. For now, enjoy being a kid. Hang out with friends. Play sports. Play video games in moderation. Have fun because you never get to be a kid again.
  2. Join a club or sports team. You’ll be able to meet new people who have interests in things just like you!
  3. Do not take on too many activities at one time, so that you do not create conflicts and chaos for yourself.
  4. Finish what you start and follow through with your commitments whether it be a sport, club, or community service project. If you get in the habit of completing the majority of your community service requirements in the summer, it is easier than trying to fit it into the school year.
  5. Whatever you spend your time doing is what you will be good at. Imagine where you want to be in high school. Whatever awards you see yourself receiving, or goals you see yourself achieving, spend time working to accomplish them now.
  6. Make sure you go to as many football games and dances and field trips as you possibly can! It will be at these events that as a senior you’ll look back on and laugh with your friends.
  7. Always be yourself. I know everyone says it but in junior high, I tried so hard to fit in and be “cool.” It took me so long to realize that people (your true friends) will love you for who you truly are and to be confident and happy with how God made you.
  8. Use your time wisely, respect each other, understand that you are going to make mistakes, and lastly, value your time as a middle schooler because time does fly by quickly.
  9. Always remember to stay focused on your work – school comes first!
  10. There is nothing wrong with asking for help or asking a question when you don’t understand.
  11. Always have confidence in yourself – ALWAYS! Even when you feel like you have no reason to, always stay strong, pull yourself up, and keep pushing forward, because no one else can do this for you.
  12. Never be afraid to let your true personality shine because your personality is what you will be loved for, not your appearance. Know that you are beautiful inside and out, and that your value has nothing to do with the acceptance of others.
  13. Always respect and listen to your parents. Even if you think they are totally against you, they always have your best interests in mind.
  14. Stress won’t get you anywhere. Surround yourself with positive people and smiling faces – it will make you like that, too.
  15. Take challenging classes. The harder classes are usually way more interesting, mind stimulating and have awesome teachers willing to help you if you struggle. It’s important to struggle in classes, because if you don’t struggle, you won’t become a better student.
  16. Spend more time with your parents instead of playing computer games or staying on your phone. After you graduate from high school, you may be far away from your family and you may miss them.
  17. Always be ready for class. Teachers do not like it if students do not have a pencil and paper, or whatever is needed for the class, ready to go when it starts.
  18. Set goals, not limits! Surround yourself with people who support you.
  19. When you see an opportunity, do not be afraid to seize it. Even if it seems like something you aren’t interested in, my motto is: try everything! You might discover you like it!
  20. Sometimes people think it’s not cool to care, but continue caring anyway. Remember the I-Care-Cat from the Lower School, and always remember that caring is important.
  21. Sign up for a sport when you first show up in 7th I signed up for soccer and it was the best choice I made. It allowed me to make new friends and create a new bond with them.
  22. It is so easy to get caught up with what everyone else is doing or wearing or what they might think of you. Do what YOU want to.
  23. No one has ever accomplished anything extraordinary by going with the status quo, set your own trends, and be shamelessly passionate about the things you love!
  24. I have never heard of anyone regretting hard work. Work hard now and it will pay off later, I promise!
  25. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up and you’ll have six years surrounded by people who see the good in you and who see your true potential. This is one of the blessings of going to Holy Trinity.
  26. Be nice to everyone. Your friends in 7th grade could be different than the ones in 10th Things change.
  27. Keep your digital footprint clean. Every post, picture, snap, tweet, etc. is available FOREVER. Nothing done online disappears, so keep it clean and think before you post.
  28. If you are trying to decide between taking an Honors or AP class and a non-honors class, take the Honors or AP class. You can always drop the class and move down, but you can’t usually move up without difficulty. Take a chance and give it a try.
  29. Believe in yourself! You are more capable than you know!
  30. Get your most challenging work done first; you will be happy you did. By getting your assignments done early, you will have more time to relax.
  31. The best way to build a resume is to fill it with all of the things that interest you. If you aren’t doing the things you’re passionate about, then why are you doing them?
  32. Use every gift given to you by God wisely and always go with your heart.
  33. Be a leader in the school community, not a follower!
  34. Go to Junior High game nights. I promise they’re fun if you make them fun.
  35. Ignore anyone who says it’s not cool to make good grades and take challenging classes; these are the people who will be begging you for a job at your Fortune 500 Corporation.
  36. Don’t worry about boys just yet. Be a strong, independent young woman and work hard at building up your kingdom. The king will come later.
  37. Find friends that are like you and who are planning on reaching the same goals as you. You really are who you associate with.
  38. Thank your parents for sending you to Holy Trinity, you will understand later how blessed you are to attend.
  39. You should always be quick, courteous and kind.
  40. Respect everyone. Respect is universal and every single person deserves it.
  41. Confidence is key. You may think you are not ready for the next step, but you are, and you learn as you go.
  42. Never be discouraged if you fail, after all, failure is truly the path to success!
  43. Don’t use a rolling backpack. They’re useful, but no one likes it when they trip over them in a crowded hall.
  44. Always do your homework, especially in math.
  45. Remember that your days at Holy Trinity are limited, so enjoy every last one of them.
  46. When it comes time to apply to college, you will have to tell colleges about yourself. Therefore, you should find a couple things you like and stick with them.
  47. You’re going to outgrow some people, whether you’ve known them for five years or two weeks… if you aren’t happy in a relationship or a friendship, let them go.
  48. Don’t post your entire life on social media, keep a little mystery.
  49. You were beautiful before he told you.
  50. Music gets you through a lot, make playlists.
  51. Don’t say maybe if you want to say no.
  52. Understand that not everyone is going to like you.
  53. Don’t let anyone eat lunch alone – ever.
  54. Be kind. Kindness goes a long way. With kindness, you will gain your friends’ loyalty, your teachers’ trust, and respect from everyone you meet.
  55. If you are ever feeling sad, write out your feelings even if you throw it away right after you’re finished. Getting it out of your system will make you feel so much better.
  56. If you get a bad grade on a test, it’s not the end of the world. That test is in the past and you just have to start working towards getting better.
  57. Be organized and stay organized. I have color-coded notebooks and folders for each class.
  58. Drink milk every day.
  59. Ladies first.
  60. Do not procrastinate. You will be tempted to, but you must resist!
  61. Work without distractions. Whenever I work on homework, I want to finish it as correctly but as quickly as possible. To do this, your phone or tablet can’t be going off or making noise.
  62. Only you can determine if you’re cool. No one else’s opinions matter when it comes to what you like.
  63. In junior high, I hated math…This mindset is dangerous. Once I realized that my math skills would never improve until I practiced, I became determined to work hard. I spent an hour every day and now I am sitting in AP Calculus.
  64. Be adventurous, be studious, and be continuously optimistic.
  65. Try to get a top locker.
  66. Appreciate the little things before it’s too late. Appreciate seeing your best friends every day, appreciate the teachers at HT who will do whatever they can to assist you in your studies, and lastly, most importantly, appreciate Chick-Fil-A Tuesdays for lunch!
  67. Not many people have the opportunity in life that we often take for granted. A solid education is an amazing tool for success.
  68. If you’re informed about the issues, it makes you seem smart and your opinion has more value if it’s backed up by facts.
  69. You need a kind heart when you face any problem and are trying to solve it.
  70. Have a big dream and work hard to achieve it.
  71. Staying engaged in discussion during class and asking questions as they arise will not only make courses more interesting, but also will make learning more enjoyable.
  72. Take risks. Now I’m not saying play chicken like in Footloose or go swimming with sharks. Take calculated risks. Try a food you usually wouldn’t. Face your fears.
  73. We all get stressed out with schoolwork, and playing a sport will help take your mind of school for a time.
  74. Make sure to take advantage of Math and Writing Labs, and make sure to work in study groups.
  75. Remember to do your homework and turn it in on time! Your GPA will thank you when it comes time for college applications.
  76. No friend or guy is ever worth it if they don’t like you for who you are and try to change you.
  77. We have three different schedules: A, B and C week. All the classes after lunch will alternate each week. After the first week, you’ll want to walk to carline after your 7th period class, but school will not be over. I have walked to the carline before school was over and sat on the benches for five minutes. I felt embarrassed, but I survived.
  78. Junior high is a place to meet new students from other schools. These people will turn into your best friends as you go through the rest of HT together.
  79. Don’t let what you achieve today define what you will do tomorrow.
  80. Never think you can’t do something you want to do, because with some effort, you can do anything you put your mind to.
  81. Stay clean. If there is one thing girls can all agree on, it is that they hate smelly guys. So take a shower in the morning, scrub your armpits and brush your teeth.
  82. Don’t be mean to your parents. You will not be able to comprehend why they will miss you so much when you have a car and you’re almost never home on the weekends, but know that you are their number one priority.
  83. Be happy every day because life is short.

Mentoring Through Reading

by Joy Crockett, Kindergarten Teacher

The concept of the book buddy has so many benefits for the students involved. We team up third grade students with kindergartners to help instill a love of reading and learning. As an educator of young children, I enjoy watching the book buddies work together. The peer guidance of the third grade book buddy to the kindergarten student has so many valuable attributes. Book buddies build confidence and understanding for the reader and the listener, and I have witnessed more confidence in the area of reading from the kindergartners. The program allows children to not only grow in their reading ability, but also grow in their social skills. The younger students truly look up to the older students that are mentoring them. The program also creates a bond that can be seen all over campus as friendships are formed and relationships are created. The older students become role models for the younger. I also believe it fosters to the family environment that makes Holy Trinity such a unique school and builds on the Holy Trinity way.

Holy Trinity has an excellent book buddy and Authors’ Day program. Young Authors’ Day is Holy Trinity’s culminating activity with our book buddies. It gives kindergartners the exposure to public speaking that will be an integral part of their education and professional life. Our kindergartners make their own book using technology with the assistance of their book buddy. Then they present their book to an audience of peers and parents. They truly enjoy showing off their work and their ability to read and speak in front of a group.

%d bloggers like this: