Dawn of the New Century (2000-2019)

Feb 23, 2022 | General

Chapter 6

Dawn of the New Century (2000-2019)

COMMUNITY OF FAITH by Ms. Mary Emrich H’09

Trinity’s Campus Ministry department has always offered programs and resources that support and further Trinity’s mission to form men of faith and men of character, and in the last 20 years, those have grown and adapted with the evolving culture of our community.

Staff in 2000 included Fr. Ron Domhoff H’98, Fr. Dave Zettel ’58, and volunteer Mike Jones ’74. Fr. Ron left Trinity in 2001 and in 2002, Mrs. Mary Emrich H’09, was hired as Campus Minister, responsible for administration of all campus ministry programs. Several changes in staffing have occurred over the years.

Fr. Dave Zettel

Mr. Mike Jones ’74 left in 2003 but continues to lead on 1-2 senior retreats each year. Ms. Karen Brown H’01 volunteered from 2002-2013, leading the Giving Tree service project and assisting with senior retreat preparations. The position of Assistant Campus Minister was created in 2005 and has been held by Michael Bratcher ’97 (3 years), Lisa Kelly H’08 (5 years), and Chris Luken (from 2013-present). Fr. Dave Zettel ’58 still serves as Chaplain and retired from retreat work after serving on every senior retreat from 1974-2017.

Service to others occurs in multiple forms. Over 50 non-profit organizations have benefitted from annual, school-wide collections and monthly “dress down for a dollar” days (started by the senior class officers in 2018). Athletic teams hold special events to raise awareness or funds. (i.e., Shoot for the Stars Basketball program, “Rock the Heart” Lacrosse game with Sacred Heart Academy). Houses adopt a cause or non-profit. Beneficiaries vary over the years. The Green Cross service club hosts local, national, and international service trips. The St. Joseph of Arimathea Society leads prayer and serves as pallbearers at funerals for the indigent. Students complete a minimum of 15 service hours every year. The Community Service elective for seniors is offered each year. During this semester class, each student serves 30-35 hours as an aide in an office or classroom at Trinity or at a local, Catholic elementary school.

Worship and prayer have always been central to our mission as a Catholic school. Major events include Opening Mass, Baccalaureate mass for graduating seniors, class masses, and daily mass in the Chapel before school. Special liturgies include holy day services and mass with the archbishop. We pray in classrooms, on TTV, and before assemblies and meetings.

Trinity received a grant in 2014 for Liturgical Art and Environment, allowing us to purchase banners, religious icons and statues now placed throughout campus and used for liturgies in the gym and Chapel. Holly McGuire (theology teacher) oversaw this project.

The Sts. Peter and Paul Society, a club dedicated to fostering Catholic identity, was launched in 2018 by students and moderators Mike Magre ’83 (Senior Counselor, theology teacher) and Bernie Schum  H’21 (theology department chair). SPP gathers to share faith journeys and pray (i.e., Rosary, Stations of the Cross).

Another new prayer experience began with the 2021-22 school year: Every Wednesday morning at the start of first block, the entire school stops and prays together, led over the P.A. by a faculty/staff member.

Retreats are the most prominent of Campus Ministry’s work. Retreat days for freshmen and sophomores were once held on campus and modeled after senior retreat, with team leaders giving talks and leading small groups. The junior day has focused on servant leadership, service work, and Catholic Social Teaching (CST) at various sites. All have evolved/changed significantly over the last 20 years.

The Connections sophomore retreat day is based on the parable of the Good Samaritan and invites participants to consider how choices, actions, and inactions can impact others both negatively and positively. It moved to freshman year in 2019 and back to sophomore year in 2021 because of the pandemic. It will move back to freshman year in 2022 or 2023.

Freshman Mentoring Days were created in response to the hybrid academic model during the Covid pandemic. Senior Captains wanted to help freshmen feel included and connected. This retreat introduces freshmen to the Trinity family.

The Junior retreat day has had several iterations:

  • Servant Leadership: low ropes/teams course, service work

  • Based in Catholic Social Teaching, Insights (until 2015) and Crossroads (2015-2020) invited students to see and connect with those on the margins of society.

  • Finding God in Nature, launched with class of 2023, is held outdoors at the Earth and Spirit Center and allows students to engage with and work the landscape through a lens of faith. It’s an abbreviated version of the optional, Junior Overnight retreat (2009-17)

Senior retreat (Christian Awakening) is both the foundation and culmination of retreats at Trinity. Since 2002, 90-95% of seniors have participated – that’s more than 5,000 students! The retreat provides an environment for building “brothers for life” while in deep exploration of self-identity and relationships with friends, family, and God. Some components have been revised or updated over the years, while the core themes – self-knowledge, God’s friendship, love in action (or 4th Day) – are still intact. Seniors can participate in “4th Day” gatherings after retreat to reconnect and support one another in practicing the retreat ideals, and dozens of alumni return as leaders every year.

ACADEMICS by Dr. Dan Zoller H’07

The new century dawned with Trinity (and the rest of the world) successfully escaping the Y2K threat. In fact, as 2001 began, reports to the School Board that year noted “almost every teacher uses email and electronic grading programs daily” and that “PowerPoint is very big in classrooms.” In fact, in 2002, Trinity purchased its own server, housed on campus, to better secure grades and other important records. Trinity as a “cyber-school” continued to evolve with the technology.

Trinity’s Academic Services continued to be led by Principal Dave Winkler H’04. Rounding out the Academic Services Office were Dean of Studies Mary Ann Hall H’08, and two administrative assistants, Mary Ann Snyder and Jackie Carrico. At the end of the 2001 school year, long-time math instructor Dennis Esterle H’01 retired after 40 years of service. Esterle was also the school’s Director of Students from 1972-84 and again briefly from 1987-88. Scores of students remember Esterle as their all-time best math instructor.

In 2003, Trinity, under the direction of Director of IT Michael Price ’66, renovated its computer lab at the bottom of Old Trinity Hall. The new lab featured a large area with desktops on carts that could easily be moved around to accommodate group updates and group work. It was also in this year that construction began on the Duerr Hall extension, creating an additional 12 classrooms and two additional lab spaces. The construction was designed to meet the needs of the largest enrollment in the school’s history. Rita Reis was also hired as an additional administrative assistant in Academic Services to better serve the larger school body. Of note, the end of the 2003-04 school year saw the retirement of long-serving physics instructor Bob Hublar H’02 after 39 years of service. He taught legions of students and was known for his tough lessons but also a dry sense of humor and great creativity.

The following year saw many changes as Mr. Winkler left as principal after a decade of service. Among his many accomplishments was leading the school to its first SACS accreditation which called for a study of the school’s standardized test scores, especially the ACT, with an aim at increasing scores across academic programs. Winkler was a part of several SACS visiting teams to other schools and well-versed in the accreditation process. Along with Frank Ward H’01, he led the school improvement team to the eventual adoption of a Cambridge preparation program which emphasized a careful restructuring of core curriculum to mirror the demands of the ACT, better preparing students for the higher order thinking skills necessary to succeed at the collegiate level. The entire scope and sequence for each department was revised to incorporate more higher order learning. Under his direction, core teachers were trained and then dedicated one day per week to practicing ACT questions and skills. Trinity also for the first time defined Broad Learner Goals for all Trinity graduates. Based on national standards and school goals, these Broad Learner Goals represented overall learning targets and were published in the Student Manual. The results were striking as students began to improve their scores, a trend which continued for many years. The 2005 yearbook noted a two-point increase in composite scores. Winkler wasn’t the only notable departure that year. Retiring was the other half of the Esterle Brothers, John H’05, after 39 years of excellent mathematics service.

A national search which included student, parent, faculty, and alumni interviews ended with Dan Zoeller H’07 being named Trinity’s sixth principal for the 2004-05 school year. Along with a new principal, Academic Services shifted locations to the Charles H. Leis Academic Services offices, opened in the newly renovated Alumni Hall. The new space allowed for additional offices, for a second Dean of Studies, and for two college counselors. Mr. Zoeller selected Marty Minogue ’69, a former principal of DeSales High School, to be the school’s first Advanced and Honors Department Dean of Studies. Mary Ann Hall was named Academic and Traditional Dean of Studies. In her new role, Hall worked closely with Trinity’s Learning Support Counselor Bob Davenport and Traditional Program Counselor Jean Delaney H’11. Adding a dean of studies significantly improved student services, especially in the area of academic counseling and scheduling. In addition, Minogue’s math and computer background were valuable assets to overall operations and to strengthening the Cambridge standardized test preparation. One additional academic change occurred during Zoeller’s first year, shifting first semester exams to occur before Christmas break.

Principal Dan Zoeller

As Academic Services reorganized in 2004, the school also introduced an online program which posted overall grades once per week. A year later, grades would be updated each day at 4 p.m. By February 2005, Trinity was opening teachers’ gradebooks online. Now parents could see individual assignments, instead of an overall average for each class. Counseling Department Chair Joe Bobrowski H’12 credited the weekly grade reporting for a 5% increase in students earning honor roll, noting parent-teacher communication had dramatically increased. Trinity was the first school in the Louisville area to post grades online on such a timely basis. In classrooms, teachers were experimenting with new CPS systems which allowed for students to key in answers to quizzes and get immediate feedback. On the security side of operations, Trinity added a new door-locking and ID system. Even as these improvements were added, a new school improvement team, led by Jennifer Browning H’06 and Frank Ward headed to Atlanta with Principal Zoeller to be trained to begin the next five-year SACS self-study.

By June 2005 Trinity could look back on several major areas of growth in just five years’ time. A second college counselor was added, first Jennifer Martin, who was then succeeded by Sharon Bohannon H’10, who both joined veteran college counselor Father David Zettel ’58. The school’s first school nurse (Betty Roth H’15) was hired, the W. Peter Flaig Library-Media Center had been christened, a careful study of online books sales was rejected, the semester exam schedule was moved back before Christmas break, and seniors had lobbied for and gained exemptions from their 8th semester exams if they maintained 90 or above for both the third and fourth quarters.

In August 2005, Trinity welcomed the second largest enrollment in school history: 1,400 students. The school year saw another significant increase in ACT composite scores. While the National average increased just .1%, at Trinity the increase was .6%.

By 2006, teachers reported for the first time that email was the primary source of parent and colleague communication. Responding to the increased demand, Trinity added a new version of Microsoft Exchange. Several faculty earned distinctions throughout the year. Traditional Department Chair Linda Whitworth H’14 presented at the Learning Disabilities Association Conference of Exceptional Children and Traditional teacher Debbie Heaverin completed her doctorate. Principal Dan Zoeller and Center for Women and Families Director Rus Funk designed a curriculum concerning gender sensitivity which was piloted at Trinity. They later shared the curriculum at Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault’s annual conference. Mathematics Chair Randy Stumler and English Instructor Adam Klein presented a cross-curricular unit they designed to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics national conference in Chicago. College counselor Jennifer Martin, was elected president of the Kentucky Association of Secondary and College Admission Counselors.

At the Beacon of Hope Awards Ceremony held at the Executive West Hotel in 2007, Trinity High School was named Learning Disability Association’s (LDA) “Beacon of Hope” School of the Year.  Traditional Department Dean of Studies Mary Ann Hall and Department Chairperson Linda Whitworth accepted the award on Trinity’s behalf.  This was the second great honor bestowed on our school and Traditional Department during the 2006-07 school year.  Earlier, Trinity was awarded the 2006 Edward M. Shaughnessy III “Serving All God’s Children” Inclusion Award. Specifically, LDA honored Trinity with the “Making a Difference Award,” which is presented to a “school or education center whose primary mission is not one of special education.”

Also, in 2007, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Quality Assurance Team visited Trinity to wrap up and affirm a 5-year self-study. During the team’s visit, they interviewed teachers, administrators, students and parents. They provided feedback on the School Improvement Plan developed by our School Improvement Team, providing feedback and suggestions. Before leaving, these expert educators also indicated that Trinity would receive “exemplary” marks and be accredited for continued membership in SACS.  In addition, they provided Trinity with a sneak preview of the commendations they will include in their written report due in January:

  • Trinity plans well for the future.

  • Trinity communicates well with parents and the entire community.

  • Trinity teachers and staff nurture a climate of continuous improvement, noting that our staff is encouraged to approach challenges dynamically putting us on the “cutting-edge.”

  • Trinity has a great learning environment with the tools students need to succeed.

  • Trinity is committed to every student achieving at high levels.

  • Trinity has a great sense of community and that all our academic departments are caring and push for excellence.

During the 2007-08 school year, Trinity moved to PowerSchool as the new school information system. Dean of Studies Marty Minogue and IT Director Michael Price successfully led the data transfer. As a national company, PowerSchool offered many more options and better support.

By January 2008, over 40 teachers had course material online using a Moodle program. A move forward in publishing curriculum online, the new program allowed students to access files, connect to selected Web links, take quizzes, upload assignments and join discussion groups. The 2008-09 school year was most notable for the loss of class time due to weather. In total, four days were added in the spring by shortening winter break, substituting class time for advising on Wednesdays, and extending the year two days into summer. Behind the scenes a Scheduling Committee worked to find a better overall daily schedule. Visits to other schools around the region, research into block scheduling, and staff discussions led the committee to two proposals with the hope one could be settled upon by the school year’s end. This work was prompted by the most recent SACS report. Also, Principal Dan Zoeller visited Spain to prepare for a month-long student exchange with a school, Colegio Compania de Maria, in Sevilla, Spain. The school community was saddened by the loss of two Trinity giants in the summer of 2008; both former president and principal Peter Flaig H’00 and longtime facilities supervisor Joe Demling ’68 passed away.

The 2009-10 school year was one marked by change and impressive recognitions. Jennifer Browning joined the Academic Services Office as Academic and Traditional Program Dean of Studies as Mary Ann Hall moved into the Learning Support Coordinator role. The change allowed Hall to continue the work with students with learning differences she’d led for many years. Longtime theology teacher Tom Dubay H’94 was honored for his nearly 40 years in Catholic Education with the “For God and Youth Award” from the National Federation of Catholic Youth. Regionally, Traditional Department Chair Linda Whitworth received the Irene Casey Inclusion Award from the Archdiocese of Louisville. Amy Zuccaro, an English teacher and Speech Team Moderator, became the first Trinity teacher to ever gain National Board Certification. IT Director Michael Price reported the school now boasted nine computer labs with over 200 workstations available for student use. Work continued on a block schedule for Trinity and juniors participated in their first-ever career shadow day. Looking back on the decade, there were too many good teachers doing too many good things to mention, but aside from those already mentioned, this history would be incomplete without acknowledging the consistent good work of Tony Lococo H’03 with journalism students earning statewide results and the cohesion and focus built for our Advanced Program students under Frank Ward’s leadership.

The 2010-11 school year began with new cell phone restrictions for students. For the first time, the Code of Conduct mentioned cell phones as a distraction and contained punishments for students who used them during the school day. On the other hand, Trinity students began online registration for classes in this year. The Standards and Policies committee approved a move to semester credits to better position students for college applications and a final proposal for a move to block scheduling was presented at the end of the school year. These plans would be formally approved in the 2011-12 school year when a yearlong teacher preparation program began.

Important faculty notes during this period included Joe Henning H’06 joining the Student Affairs Office as a part-time assistant in 2010. He would go on to serve in the office for many years. In 2011, former campus minister and current Senior Development Officer Michael Bratcher ’97 earned his doctorate in education but he would leave at the end of the year to become principal of St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School. Three other longtime teachers retired at the end of this year, Traditional Counselor Jean Delaney, math instructor Harry Moody H’07, and social studies instructor and former basketball coach Joe Thompson ’63. The “changing of the old guard” would be followed the next school year by the departures of longtime Counseling Department Chair Joe Bobrowski, longtime Foreign Language Chair Don Switzer H’04, and Trinity’s most decorated teacher (5 times voted Teacher of the Year) Gene Eckert ’62.

In October 2011, a team of educational experts presented their final report to the school to conclude the latest accreditation cycle. AdvancED, known previously as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, works with schools across the South, Northeast and the Northwest to bring high standards and critical examinations of the work being done by schools. The entire process takes 18 months and involves a thorough study of the school’s operations in seven critical areas. Principal Dan Zoeller, Dean of Studies Jennifer Browning and Social Studies Chair Keith Rapp H’13 led the internal team, which gathered feedback from all the school’s stakeholders. The visiting team then spent time on campus examining source documents, meeting face-to-face with stakeholders and observing in classrooms. Trinity received spectacular reviews of our work in all seven areas of the accreditation. In fact, the school received the highest marks possible in six of the areas and the next highest level in the seventh.

block scheduling at trinity high school

The new block schedule began in the 2012-13 school year. The new daily schedule featured increased requirements for students, with eight academic periods each grading period and a 30-credit requirement for graduation, the most in the Commonwealth. Among other stipulations, the new credit requirements included a mandatory four credits of English, social studies, mathematics, science, and theology. Students also had room to schedule additional Advanced Placement courses and other electives. In addition, Advising Period moved to three days per week at a concurrent time for all, allowing for students to make appointments during the school day to make up missing work and get additional tutoring. Finally, the new schedule held academic time “sacred,” with visiting speakers, prayer services, etc. being scheduled during Advising time instead of interrupting classes. Almost immediately, positive changes were apparent in everything from honor roll to Advanced Placement numbers. Data shared in 2019 confirmed triple the number of A.P. exams, double the amount in college scholarship dollars, increased National Merit recognitions, and honor roll increases of nearly 10% each quarter in honor roll.

In its 60th school year, the 2013-14 school year, Trinity’s School Board approved the 2013-16 Strategic Plan, the eighth triennial plan since the school began the strategic planning process. As had been the case in the past, the school incorporated the work of the SACS (now AdvancED) school improvement committee. A series of staff departures were notable in 2014 as IT Director Michael Price, Choir and Music Director Ken Bechtloff, social studies instructor Chuck Servino ’73 and library-media specialist Charlotte Miller left our halls. Over the next five years, Trinity’s entire art department transitioned with the retirements of Jim Connell ’63 and Carole Baker, the cafeteria lost a booming voice when Ken Ellenbrand H’07 departed, Traditional Department Chair Linda Whitworth passed the torch to Dr. Debbie Heaverin, Steve Ferman retired from the counseling department, and longtime department chairs Joyce Riggs (science) and Tom Zehnder ’63 (business) retired. English teachers John Kahl ’69, who inspired especially seniors with his enthusiastic lessons in both literature and manhood, and Greg Sysol H’03, who held several positions but will forever be linked to Trinity Theatre as the essential producer half of the Billy Bradford H’03 era, both retired. Bradford would step out of his role after 45 years in 2017, the same year the school said farewell to Dean of Studies Marty Minogue and College Counselor Sharon Bohannon. Both Bohannon and Minogue served the school in a variety of capacities, including as fine teachers for many years. Two legendary teachers, Joe Bryant ’75 (38 years/Health and P.E.) and Tom Dubay (43 years/Theology and Social Studies) retired in 2018. Bryant also coached, trained staff and students in CPR, and was instrumental in the huge growth of intramural sports at Trinity. Dubay served on Trinity’s faculty senate for many years and may have worked more senior retreats than any other teacher in Trinity history. He continued to work senior retreats after his retirement from teaching. By the end of the decade, Trinity also said farewell to Joe Porter ’78 after 35 solid years as teacher, coach, and administrator; Jackie Carrico, longtime administrative assistant; Betty Roth H’15, the school’s first full-time nurse, and Sharon Demling, a constant in our Business Office and concessions operation. Father Dave Zettel, who celebrated 50 years in the priesthood in 2016 and who remained as a chaplain through 2019, transitioned out of the senior retreat program after founding and going on every retreat for decades. Though change is constant in a school setting, over these 5-6 years a generational shift in the teaching, counseling and administrative staff could not be denied. Sadly, during these years, former teachers Gene Eckert, Ken Bechtloff, Joe Fowler ’71, Jim Connell, and Steve Ferman all passed away.

what students are saying about block...

New people also took up new positions in these years, as Steve Tompkins ’81 stepped out of baseball coaching to become the school’s first Director of Sports Ministry. In this role, he created new retreat and prayer service opportunities for our athletics, as well as developing a set of expectations relating to sportsmanship. The House System evolved and grew over these years under the leadership of Joe Henning H’06, Matt Manning ’86, and Adam Klein. All three would present at regional and national conferences about our groundbreaking house system. Rob Saxton H’15 handed over his duties as Director of Finance and Administration to Larry Castagno ’78. Saxton worked closely with Dennis Lampley H’92 for Lampley’s final two years as Athletic Director before taking over the position in 2018. Lampley, who arrived at Trinity in 1971, was a legendary football coach of five state titles and a 50-game win streak. Much more about Lampley can be read in the school’s athletics history. James Torra H’12 stepped into Joe Porter’s shoes as Vice President for School Advancement and Director of Admissions. Paul Diehl succeeded Frank Ward as Director of the Advanced Program. And during these years, our Student Affairs Office saw the longest serving Director of Student Affairs Dave Aberli ’75 step back into teaching. Aberli saw the office through an organizational change when he took over discipline duties for juniors-seniors while Joe Henning concentrated on freshmen-sophomores. He also was instrumental in implementing Trinity’s drug testing program. When he moved back into teaching full-time, Randy Perkins moved into his role. It was also during these years when administrative assistant Mickey Engelbrecht, known for her no-nonsense, good humored approach, retired.

Highlights in Trinity’s academic programming in these final years of the decade benefited from several structural upgrades, including a newly renovated chemistry lab (F337), a major update to the W. Peter Flaig Library-Media Center to include more digital media, completely updated holdings, and more spaces for group projects, and a transformation of Trinity’s main computer lab into the Gregory H. Brown Technology Center, under the leadership of IT Director Kevin Wangler, featuring two laptop labs with large high definition, interactive monitors, new offices, and space for Trinity’s robotics club. In addition, the entire campus significantly expanded its wireless capabilities while installing new audio-visual equipment in every classroom. Faculty operated with school-issued laptops, untethered by “workstations,” so they could move about the rooms and buildings without losing technological connections. All teachers utilized an online curriculum program, Rockspace, and updated grades several times weekly. Parents, students, and teachers communicated nearly 24-7 via email, Rockspace messaging, and other online reminder applications. Though Trinity still held two parent-teacher conferences each year, long gone were the days of paper report cards.

Also of note in the these final years of the decade was the development of a true international program which included two new exchange programs with schools in Argentina and Ireland, a science trip to the Costa Rican rain forest each summer, a popular trip to the Galapagos Islands, and cultural trips to Europe, Japan, and China. Expanding these opportunities even further emerged as one of the strategic goals in 2019.

they say total inclusion can't be done: trinity high school does it

The school notched several notable achievements in the last five years of the decade. No private school in Louisville earned more National Merit Recognitions during this time. Class sizes were the smallest in school history, the average for a core class being around 21 students. Thanks to block scheduling, students had more options than ever for electives, including Advanced Placement courses. Trinity’s speech and debate program earned dozens of state and national awards and in 2017 hosted 700 speakers from around the county for the National Catholic Forensic League’s Grand National Championship. Trinity was featured in NCEA’s Momentum magazine for its inclusive approach to educating students of all academic abilities. Dr. Mullen ’77 and Dr. Zoeller presented at an NCEA gathering in Los Angeles about the article and programs. As a key contributor to our inclusive methods, Learning Support Coordinator Ms. Mary Ann Hall was awarded the Serving All God’s Children Award at the NCEA National Law Symposium in 2018. Principal Dan Zoeller earned his doctorate in education in 2018 as well. Dr. Zoeller and Academic Deans Jennifer Browning and Jeremy Jackson H’14 headed the overall academic programming during these years. Their team expanded in 2018 with the addition of a Director of Faculty Development, Sr. Kathy Cash. Sr. Cash was instrumental in organizing professional and technological development for teachers, ushering this new generation of educators forward toward another decade of academically developing men of faith and character.


No other event has shaped student life at Trinity High School in the first two decades of the twenty-first century quite like the creation of the Trinity House System. The house system was the innovation of Dan Zoeller H’07 who became Trinity’s Activities Director during the 2001-02 school year. Zoeller succeeded Joey Porter ’78, who was appointed as the school’s Vice President of Advancement. Zoeller implemented the house system to revamp Trinity’s activities and student government. Under the house system, students and faculty were assigned to one of ten houses – Aquinas, Becket, Dante, Flannan, Gonzaga, Merton, Patrick, Romero, Seton, and Toussaint – each named after a saint, religious figure, or thinker who figures prominently in the Catholic Church. The goal of placing students and faculty into these smaller communities was to increase opportunities for student involvement, leadership, and adult mentoring. Throughout the school year, the houses compete in a variety of competitions and marquee events with one another to encourage intrahouse unity and pride. The house that earns the most points over the course of the school year receives the distinction of having the cup displayed in its honor, as well as other incentives and distinctions.

The establishment of the house system also included changes to the student government. Prior to the development of the house system, Trinity’s student government consisted of two freshman, sophomore, and junior class representatives, along with the five senior class officers. Following the adoption of the house system, student government grew to ninety students, comprised of sixty underclassmen representatives and thirty house captains. Collectively these students form a vibrant and responsive student government.

Zoeller served as Activities Director for two years until becoming Trinity’s principal at the start of the 2004-05 school year. Joe Henning H’06 and Jennifer Browning H’06 assumed the roles of House System Director and Activities Director, respectively. Under the leadership of Henning and Browning, advising groups were added to the house system in 2006. During this advising time, house members in mixed-grade levels met with adult advisors throughout the week with the goal of communicating house events, building community amongst the students, and providing opportunities for adult mentoring.

In the 2008-09 school year, Browning was appointed as an Academic Dean in the Academic Services Office. Henning shifted to the role of Activities Director and Matt Manning ’86 became the new House System Director. The school year was also marked by a significant change to the student government’s leadership roles. House Captains now had three specific positions: Executive Captain, Spirit Captain, and Service Captain. The executive captain assists the House System Director in planning student government meetings and house events. Spirit Captains serve as ex-officio members of the Pep Club and were responsible for planning and executing spirit related events throughout the year. The Service Captain works with the service committee and service-related clubs to facilitate community service activities during the year.

With the goal of making the House Cup competition more competitive, the House system introduced a new plan for determining the House Cup champion during the 2009-10 school year. The house system shifted from the year-long house point system, to dividing the school year into four separate playoff qualifying spots – 1st quarter, Pride Week, 2nd quarter, and 3rd quarter. The winners of each of these separate competitions earned a spot in the 4th quarter House Cup playoffs. This change raised interest in the House Cup competition because points started anew each quarter and more houses had the opportunity to win the House Cup.

In 2011-12 Henning became a fulltime Dean of Students in the Student Affairs Office and James Torra H’12 became the new Activities Director. During the 2012-13 school year, Trinity moved to block scheduling and advising periods became more academic in nature. These changes to advising time increased opportunities for peer-to-peer tutoring, upperclassman mentoring, and academic counseling within advising periods. An unexpected benefit was increased participation in student government meetings and some house contests as those were able to be held during advising as opposed to being held after school. During the following school year, Torra shifted roles into the Admissions Office and Manning assumed the dual role of serving as both House System Director and Activities Director.

The following two school years were highlighted by changes to the House Cup playoff competition. In the 2014-15 school year, the house executive presentations were added to the playoff competition. The presentations, delivered by Executive House Captains to a group of Trinity stakeholders, provide the four playoff houses an opportunity to state their houses’ case for winning the House Cup. The presentations cover the following facets of the House System: success at marquee events and contests, service to the community, academics, discipline, school spirit, advancing Trinity’s mission and integrating House patrons into life at Trinity. In 2015-16, a fifth wild-card house was added to the House Cup playoff competition. In addition to the houses that already earn a spot in the playoffs by accruing the most points in each quarter of the school year, the wild-card house can secure its spot in the tournament and compete in the playoffs as well.

During the 2017-18 school year, Manning transitioned to his new role as college counselor and senior class moderator. Adam Klein was named as the new House and Activities Director, and Mr. Chad Waggoner H’20 was named as the new student government moderator. Klein’s first three years were marked by a concerted effort to offer a variety of competitions that would appeal to a greater number of students (e.g. breakout competition, makerspace challenge, egg drop contest, Rube Goldberg contest, Advising trivia challenges, dodgeball tournament). An effort was also made to hold all house competitions during advising time to make it easier for students to participate in the contests.

During the 2020-21 school year, house system leaders met to begin drafting a house system constitution. The group focused on revising the house system’s point distribution system, creating job descriptions for House Captains and underclassmen representatives, and revising the job description and responsibilities for the head of houses, house directors, advisors, and mentors.

At the start of the 2021-22 school year, Klein announced changes to the Trinity House System’s point structure. Under the new system, opportunities to earn house points were evenly distributed between three pillars: Brotherhood, Faith, and Character. The adoption of the three-pillar system placed an equal emphasis on Brotherhood – friendly competition between the houses; Faith – Christian service; and Character – academic achievement, character development, and leadership development.​ Traditionally, the house system focused on the importance of house competitions and marquees. Winning the House Cup now requires houses to be successful in all three House Pillars. ​Restructuring the house system this way better aligns the overall goals of the House System with the mission of Trinity. ​

Student Life during the first two decades of the twenty-first century has also benefitted by generous offering of clubs and activities at Trinity High School. Trinity has consistently offered over 50 clubs for its students to choose from. Club and activity offerings have varied from Academic clubs such as Future Problem Solving Team and Math Team; Fine Arts activities like The Axiom Literary Magazine and Book Club, Special Interest clubs such as the Ski and Snowboarding Club and Chess Club; and Just for Fun clubs like Film Club and Video Game Club. Trinity has also offered a host of intramural sports such as basketball, bowling, table tennis, and volleyball for students to participate in throughout the school year. In addition, activities like Trinity Theatre, the ECHO newspaper and Shamrock yearbook, and Trinity Jazz Band, Trinity Singers and Handbell Choir are also available as classes, thus earning students academic credit. Many of Trinity’s clubs and activities are also competitive in nature. The Governor’s Cup Teams, Quick Recall, KYA and Kentucky United Nations Assembly, and Speech and Debate Teams have all been very successful, garnering a multitude of awards and recognitions at the state, regional, and national levels. Moreover, Trinity’s extracurricular activities have played an important role in its students’ overall development by providing them with a greater sense of belonging​, providing them opportunities to learn new or hone old skills​, and even prepare them for future careers.

ATHLETICS by Mr. Rob Saxton H’15

 The first twenty years of the 21st century were filled with impactful coaches and staff members, championship-level achievements, upgrades and additions to athletics facilities, and a refocus on values for coaches and student-athletes that tied directly to the school’s mission of forming men of faith and men of character.

As the calendar turned to a new century, Dennis Lampley H’92, Trinity Director of Athletics (2000 – 2014), oversaw the hiring of Head Football Coach Bob Beatty H’03 (2000) and Head Basketball Coach Mike Szabo H’16 (2001). In the years since, each of these coaches has made, and continues to make, a legendary impact in their respective sports:

  • Bob Beatty (Head Football Coach)- fifteen state championships, victories in 85% of games played against top-flight regional competition, two-time Kentucky High School Football Coach of the Year, USA Today National Coach of the Year (2017), induction into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame (2018). The football team was ranked number one in the country by several national polls after the 2011 season.

  • Mike Szabo (Head Basketball Coach)- a number of history making firsts: Regional championship (2004), LIT championship (2005), KOB Championship (2010), two state championships (2012, 2019), two-time Kentucky High School Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.

In 2014, Trinity CFO Rob Saxton H’15 transitioned to serve as Director of Athletics. Soon after, Saxton hired Rick Arnold ’86 as Head Baseball Coach and Scott Holzknecht ’97 as Head Track Coach and Head Cross Country Coach. Each of these new coaches made an immediate impact on their respective programs:

  • Rick Arnold (Head Baseball Coach)- upgraded regular season schedule, moved Trinity baseball to a top five state ranking year in and year out, two-time regional champions, 2019 state semifinalist, and 2021 State Champion, the first in school history.

  • Scott Holzknecht (Head Track Coach and Head Cross Country Coach)- integrated year round training for distance runners on both Cross Country and Track teams, upgraded regular season meet schedule, Cross Country state runners-up 2016 and 2017, Cross Country state champions 2018 and 2019, Track and Field state runner-up 2017, Track and Field state champions 2018.

Other major achievements by coaches and staff members during this 20-year span:

  • Dennis Lampley H’92 — retired after 45 years as a Trinity faculty member, coach and Director of Athletics. Inducted into the Trinity Hall of Fame. Steinhauser Gym floor named in his honor.

  • Eddie Rudolph H’95 — retired from coaching wrestling and named to the Kentucky Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame.

  • Pete Schroeder H’16 — (Head Lacrosse Coach) established Trinity as a regional lacrosse power, developed a highly respected program that includes annual roster numbers of 70-plus student-athletes, six state championships; remained as Head Coach after sixteen seasons.

During this same 20-year timeframe, the Trinity High School Administration and the Trinity High School Foundation were investing in and executing significant upgrades and additions to Trinity Athletics facilities:

  • 2000 — Shamrock Hall was constructed to serve as a 16,500 square foot multipurpose indoor facility with a basketball court, classrooms, coaches’ offices and locker rooms.

  • 2005 — Marshall Stadium opened with stadium style seating, suites and press boxes and the first local high school with an artificial turf playing surface. It will serve many, many years as a state of the art home to PE classes, intramurals, football, lacrosse and soccer.

  • 2009 — Steinhauser Gym saw its 40-year-old court replaced by a new hardwood court built for high end performance and designed to display a Boston Square parquet pattern.

  • 2012/2019 — The lobby of Steinhauser Gym was reimaged and upgraded to showcase the schools 1st (2012) and 2nd (2019) boys basketball state championships.

  • 2013 — A replacement artificial turf was installed in Marshall Stadium, this time upgraded with a compression pad beneath the surface in an effort to prevent injuries and concussions.

  • 2015 — The Marshall Center weight room was completely renovated after its first 16 years of frequent usage. The upgraded space included new flooring and new multi-use weight stations.

  • 2019– A unique 50-year partnership was established between Trinity, the City of St Matthews and the St. Matthews Little League. The partnership resulted in the construction of a new, $3 million state-of-the-art baseball stadium, featuring LED stadium lighting, an all artificial turf playing surface, college level seating and press box amenities and a clubhouse for Trinity teams. Trinity Stadium opened in March 2019.

  • 2020 – The locker rooms in the R.W. Marshall Sports Center were renovated. Plans were made for an upgrade to Marshall Stadium while a new flooring was installed in 2021 in Shamrock Hall.

Beyond people and facilities, Trinity added a faith and character element to its Athletics Department in 2015, when Saxton named Trinity faculty member and former baseball coach Steven Tompkins ’81 to a new role as Director of Sports Ministry. Coach Tompkins had been able to partner with an outside organization called SportsLeader to bring weekly, monthly and recurring programming and services to Trinity sports teams, coaches and student-athletes related to faith and character formation. A wonderful by-product of the Trinity Sports Ministry efforts was a stretch of five consecutive years (2014 – 2018) where Trinity High School was recognized by the KHSAA for Outstanding Sportsmanship, a five-year streak that placed Trinity in the top 5% of all Kentucky high schools. Mr. Tompkins died after a long battle with cancer in 2020 and was succeeded by long-time teacher and coach Gary Owens ’88.

Fundraising by Mr. Tim Culver ’82

Recognizing that keeping Trinity accessible to the widest range of families from a financial standpoint was critical, the Trinity High School Foundation saw tremendous growth in fundraising.

In 2000, the foundation’s endowment stood at $1.9 million. A goal of $25 million by July 2020 was established. Growth of the endowment was made possible through the creation of reunion-tied alumni class scholarships, a tradition started by the Class of 1977. The desire to support Trinity in this fashion grew and many class scholarships were developed as a means to help maintain Trinity legacies with first consideration for tuition assistance being given to sons, grandsons and nephews whose families had a demonstrated need. Additionally, a number of merit, honorary and memorial funds were being developed as a way to honor loved ones and iconic Trinity teachers.

In 2001, there were approximately 25 endowed and merit scholarships and recipients; by the end of 2019, that number had grown to 115 scholarships with more than 200 recipients and more always in development. Meanwhile, financial aid increased from $300,000 in 2002 to $3.35 million in 2019.

Along the way, there was an $11 million capital campaign that started in 2002 with a focus on endowment growth, property acquisition along Sherrin Avenue and construction of Marshall Stadium. The latter became a reality when the late R.W. “Buck” Marshall called with a generous donation at a time when the school was facing a looming construction deadline that potentially would delay the project. Shortly after his death, the family decided to honor his memory with another substantial gift to name the stadium.

In 2007, the governing board initiated efforts to restructure the staff by growing the team from a full time director, whose focus was major gifts, to include a director and assistant director of the annual fund, as well as an administrative assistant whose offices were established on the first floor of Flaget Hall (known as the “priest house” to generations of alumni).

The annual fund was re-branded from the Rev. Kevin Caster Annual Fund Appeal to the Trinity Annual Fund (to honor the memory of Fr. Kevin, a special society was established in his name to recognize first-time donors). A need for more “boots on the ground” to help recruit volunteers and grow contributions led to the creation of a campaign committee comprised primarily of alumni who serve as decade chairs and class captains. Parent representatives also were a vital component. Those actions saw donations to the Trinity Annual Fund grow substantially.

Other initiatives during this period included some public-private partnerships for baseball and tennis. This led to conversations with Metro Parks and the City of Louisville, where two fields at Thurman-Hutchins Park became the home of Trinity baseball for 15 years. Chris Mather ’86 and his father, Innes, agreed to partner with Trinity at their newly-built facility, Top Gun Tennis Academy, off Old Henry Road, leading to an indoor-outdoor facility for the Shamrocks.

The Trinity High School Foundation oversaw numerous smaller capital campaigns that resulted in campus improvements, including Founders’ Plaza, St. Patrick Place, an expansions of the Campus Store and the Communication Arts Center. Most importantly, the Foundation carefully oversaw the growth of the endowment through prudent investments and acquisition of numerous planned gifts.

ADVANCEMENT by Mr. Joe Porter ’78

Alumni Relations

Trinity has had the good fortune and good sense to have an Alumni Director position for many years. The Alumni Association began in 1958 upon the graduation of Trinity’s second senior class.

The Leader, Trinity’s quarterly newsmagazine, is held in high esteem by alumni, who pay close attention to its contents. Though times have changed, Trinity remains committed to producing and mailing The Leader to all alumni. It has remained a high quality piece over time, earning several Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awards.

A series of Class Reunions are planned and held for each anniversary class in five-year increments. These events, supported by the school but planned by alumni committees, are as varied as the class years, with some held on-campus, and others hosting off-site gatherings. These events are important, providing Trinity with updated contact information, and critical moments to remain connected to alumni. In fact, since 1991, every class that was supposed to have a five-year anniversary reunion has had one!

In the early ’90s, an Alumni Board of Directors, one of the school’s three boards, took on the task of overseeing Alumni events. Many alumni who initially entered this leadership service to the school later became School and Foundation board members. In the 2010 decade, the Alumni Board initiated a Strategic Planning effort. Like the school, which has undergone three-year strategic planning for decades, the Alumni effort now has a dynamic structure to support and guide their work going forward.


Trinity has long kept constituents apprised with myriad communication efforts. But long gone are the days of mimeographed copies of “Parent News” carried home by students.

Since 2000, the school has continued to build on a well-earned reputation for technological innovation that began in the late ’80s: the first school to connect to the internet; the first to have a website; the first to hire a webmaster; the first to place grades and other important student/parent tools online; and many other efforts.

Today, nearly all the school’s communications are online. News is divided into categories and placed on the website, showcasing a dizzying array of talent and achievement. Important parent and student documents are now read and signed online. A bi-weekly “T-Blast” email kept parents, students, and several thousand alumni and friends informed.


The venerable “benefit dinner,” begun in 1969, has undergone numerous imaginings. Now known as “CelebraTion,” the spring event brings together multiple constituents to support student activities, athletics and financial aid programs. The event is 99 percent volunteer-driven, with committed past-chair parents like Debbie Miranda H’00, Karen Brown H’01, Laura Clements H’08, Gretchen Furlong H’18 and many others. Though it has been held off-site in the past, the event moved back to campus in 2017, and takes place in the Convocation Hall of the Communication Arts Center that was renovated earlier that year.

Through generous corporate sponsorships, auction items and both new and longtime patrons, the event had netted the school nearly $2 million since 2010, helping to lower tuition and support myriad student programs.

come celebrate with us on march 10, 2018!


In 1999, current school president Dr. Rob Mullen ’77 recruited David Power ’89 and his company, Power Creative (now just Power), to create marketing materials for CelebraTion. Their creative talents lent a high degree of class (and fun) to the event, with elaborate invitations and first-class brochures. By 2001, Power had become responsible for marketing to prospective families as well, helping the school to communicate with a rapidly growing enrollment. This effort has produced multiple successful and award-winning initiatives.

Additionally, Trinity employed marketing research with the help of Trinity parent Paul Schulte H’92 and his company, Horizon Insight, for more than three decades. As former vice president for advancement Joey Porter ’78 remarked, “We were smart enough to know we weren’t smart enough.” This research, conducted from time to time, has helped school leaders navigate Louisville’s changing landscape.

As we reached the year 2020, the school was poised to continue to be one of the strongest academic brands in the region for years to come.


During the first two decades of the 21st century, the school’s three volunteer boards, i.e. School, Foundation, and Alumni, provided excellent stewardship. The boards are self-sustaining, populating each with individuals committed to the school’s mission. Their leadership is done within the context of the 1993 Sponsorship Agreement with the Archdiocese of Louisville. The School maintained excellent relationships with the Archbishop, sharing extensive information about the school. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz H’15, and Archbishop Thomas Kelly H’01 before him, regularly celebrated Mass at school and attended graduation.

Alumni have served as chair of the School Board since 2000, namely Chris Tompkins ’78, David Troutman ’85, Dan Fuller ’71, Patrick Potter ’89, Ed Schoenbaechler ’69, Bob Hawkins ’69, and Bob Reh ’69. The Foundation transitioned to term limits for chairs of its committees. Long-standing board members Charles Leis H’01, Phil Stuecker ’70, Charles Kane ’61 and Clair Patenaude H’07 remained solid contributors to the board’s work. Joe Landenwich ’83 succeeded Leis and Stuecker as chair in the latter years of the decades. The Alumni Board was served by strong chairs which included Sean McGuire ’84, David Rothgerber ’90, Scott Scinta ’77, John King ’80, Patrick Potter, Joey Klausing ’97, Chad Hennessey ’94 and Zach Berry ’05.

A significant task of the School Board is to sustain the rigorous strategic planning process that was first begun in 1992. Since that time the School has adopted 10 triennial plans, all built upon the 10 Pillar framework devised by then-President Peter Flaig H’00 in 1995. Three long-range Vision Statements have been crafted with heavy input from all stakeholder groups, namely parents, students, alumni, community members, staff and faculty. These plans are responsible for keeping the School’s mission relevant for today’s students’ needs.

An important role of the boards is to approve policy statements. During the first 20 years of the century, the boards adopted policies regarding enrollment, tuition, financial aid, investing, investment spending, and employee benefits.

The president-principal model of administration has been used the past twenty years with Robert Mullen ’77 succeeding Peter Flaig in October 2000 after Flaig’s retirement in June of that year. During the two decades since Mullen’s selection, the senior leadership of the school saw low turnover. Dr. Dan Zoeller H’07 followed Dave Winkler H’04 as principal in 2004 and has served since that time. Rob Saxton H’15 succeeded Jack Sorg upon his retirement as head of finance and administration. He was followed by Larry Castagno ’78 when Saxton took over as director of athletics when Dennis Lampley H’92 retired. James Torra H’12 took over as vice president of advancement from Joe Porter ’78 who served in that role for 16 years until Porter moved to launching the school’s digital media efforts.

The School operated with balanced budgets each year with the aim of a small contingency for unexpected expenditures. The school’s president would present a proposed budget to the School’s Resource Management Committee in spring of each year for the next school year based upon enrollment projections. Following the actual first-day enrollment, the budget would be adjusted. Annually the School and Foundation’s separate books would be audited by an independent firm. For each year of the century, the audits were returned with clean opinions and very few suggestions for changed accounting approaches.


The campus renewal effort that has been called a renaissance began on October 31, 1999, with the grand opening of the R. W. Marshall Sports Center. Since that time we have embarked on a riveting transformation of the campus that was once described by prospective students as “prison-like.”

All told, the campus has seen more than $40 million in property acquisition, new buildings and renovation of existing spaces during the past 20 years. This includes

  • the construction of four buildings (R.W. Marshall Sports Center, Shamrock Hall, Floersh Hall extension and Duerr Hall),

  • building two stadiums (Marshall Stadium for football, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, intramurals, activities and Trinity Stadium for baseball as part of the largest public-private venture ever accomplished by the City of St. Matthews),

  • remodeling the Chapel, library-media center, faculty and staff lounge and dining room, technology center, Auditorium, main gym, and Communication Arts Center,

  • building a modern cafeteria and TV studio,

  • moving the entrance to the school,

  • adding four science labs and numerous computer labs,

  • planting 100 trees,

  • air conditioning every space,

  • renovating every other space on campus,

  • loading every classroom with modern technology,

  • creating new locations for Academic Services, Student Affairs, Facility Operations, College and Career Counseling Services, Alumni Relations, Athletic Office, Trinity High School Foundation, and Advancement offices,

  • adding courtyards, including one devoted to the Blessed Mother, and parking,

  • expanding the campus with property acquisitions,

  • modernizing the HVAC, lighting and security systems,

  • and heightening our Catholic identity through art and environment, for example, with a three-story mural and a unique bronze sculpture with both honoring the Blessed Trinity, along with a courtyard dedicated to the Blessed Mother with a statue and kneeler.

We received awards for the campus design, campus upkeep, our focus on environment green initiatives and additional handicap accessibility.

Long-time employee and head of facilities Joe Demling ’68 died after a long-time battle with cancer. He was succeeded by Bill Hogg H’15 who came to Trinity with experience in construction management and facility oversight.

These projects were driven by successful fund raising. The school has no debt. Tuition is not used to finance these projects. We have relied on the generosity of our supporters.

Currently the Trinity High School Foundation is working on more property acquisitions and the construction of two more buildings. When this phase of projects is completed, most of the master plan created in 1992 will have been accomplished.