Pictured are the 13 Trinity students who were recognized by the National Merit Corporation.
First row (sitting L – R): Nicholas Pesce, Jackson McClellan, Logan Thomas, Edward Harbold, Nick Huls, Hunter Ruckriegel
Second row (standing L – R): John McCalpin, Bryce Thompson, Alexander Deye, Gavin Weakley, Aden Yeager, John Fernandez, Michael Chou
We are beyond proud of these Shamrocks for their incredible hard work, determination, and academic successes, as being recognized by the National Merit Corporation is no small feat! What you may not know is that these thirteen young men came to Trinity from twelve different Catholic grade schools and private or public middle schools. When we brought them together to take various photos to honor this prestigious recognition, it quickly became very clear that they were like brothers. If one of them walked in 30-seconds late, the rest of them were quick to point out that, indeed, “You were still late.” One of them had a question about an upcoming test in Mr. Budniak’s AP Environmental Science class, and two of them had jumped in to help before the question was finished.
At a time when individual success resulting in college acceptance letters and higher GPA’s could foster envy or resentment, how did these nationally recognized Shamrocks become so close?
“Before school had even started, I felt like a part of the Trinity community.”
As they started thinking back to their 8th-grade decision-making process, one common theme was they felt like they were a part of the Trinity Family before they were ever enrolled as students. Each of them recalled different events that stood out for them as they were going through the different steps in deciding where they were going to attend high school. Michael Chou remembered two distinct events: House Sorting and the Freshmen Orientation Experience. “Before school even started, we had a House Sorting event and the Freshmen Orientation Experience (the summer before my freshman year). Both events allowed me to get used to the new world that I was about to call my second home. A lot of the guys I met are still some of my best friends today!”
“I remember how amazed I was by the number of clubs and organizations that were available to me here at Trinity.”
Another response that we heard frequently from them was that there was simply, “A lot of stuff to do!” Hunter Ruckriegel recalls how mesmerized he was at the idea of getting involved with several different clubs and activities. “I had gone to summer camp for Quick Recall, so I knew I wanted to join the Quick Recall team, but then I also saw several academic teams that I wanted to be a part of, and from there, I met some of my closest friends.” Jack McClellan added, “One thing that makes it so easy to meet new people is that Trinity gives you so many different chances to get involved. I knew I wanted to play lacrosse, and I also joined the Math Team, and this year, I even started playing hockey! Whether it is a club or a sport, or an extracurricular activity, people at Trinity are always willing to help someone find his place.”
“For me, it was the people. The teachers, the coaches, the support staff, and my fellow peers.”
One thing they kept repeating was just how “warm and inviting” the people at Trinity were. Ruckriegel said the feeling of family that he felt on his shadow day simply never left. “For me, it was the people. The teachers, the coaches, the support staff, and my fellow peers have always been warm and inviting since I shadowed as an eighth grader. I only knew a few guys at Trinity then, so the thought of coming to this ‘big high school’ was very intimidating. Yet, everyone I encountered, from entering the Rotunda to sitting in the classroom, made me feel welcome.” Chou added, “It’s so easy to become brothers when you’re frantically trying to study for Mr. Budniak’s AP Biology class, and he’s making you laugh and think and providing us a whole new world to explore, and you’re experiencing all of this with your brothers, the guys around you in class and in clubs and in sports teams.”
“I think the one thing that helped me the most was the House System.”
Trinity’s House System was the most frequent reason why they became so close, so fast. Jack McCalpin said, “I think the one thing that helped me the most was the House System. It gave me so many opportunities to meet people through friendly competitions like Rockin’, and the House System introduced me to the abundance of clubs that Trinity offered. Through the other students in my House, I was able to meet a ton of people with similar interests to me.” Chou felt the same way about the House System. “With the House System, I was able to meet people outside of my regular classes. I was able to bond with my classmates from my House, but also from different Houses, as we competed against each other, and the extra opportunities to meet people OUTSIDE of the classroom really helped bond with my future brothers!” Aden Yeager said, “The House System gave me a chance to surround myself with guys who I had never met before, who were going through this entire freshman year with me, and we could talk about everything. If we had questions about classes, or if we were going to the football Marquee Event, we would try to ride together, and those same guys who I didn’t know at the beginning of the year, because of the House System, were some of my closest friends at the end of the year!”
When we now look at this list of students recognized by the National Merit Corporation, thirteen students from twelve different Catholic grade schools and public or private middle schools, we know why they’re as close as brothers. Trinity unites a group of students who are seemingly different from one another on the surface. By spending time with them, you realize that differences are soon eclipsed by one glaring similarity: they’re all Trinity Shamrocks. The House System gives all students the opportunity to get involved. The incredibly diverse variety of clubs and activities ensures that all our students find their passion. Teachers and staff persons surround with care and guidance. All these things combine to form the bonds of brotherhood that grab hold of each student as they walk the halls at Trinity High School.
“Trinity Forever will always be a part of who I am.”
Hunter Ruckriegel summed it up as he thought back on his four years at Trinity. “When people talk about the brotherhood and the camaraderie at Trinity, I can now attest to that. This is a true statement! My last three years have flown by and it’s still hard to believe I’m a senior. Many memories have been made with some great people and I know there are many more to come this year.”