August 28, 2008

So Much More Than Just a School

It may be a cliche to say that school days are the best of our lives, but for me and my time at Trinity this has certainly been the case.

I have had experiences that I will never forget, I learned valuable lessons that will surely guide me through life, and I made friends I will always remain close to.

While it seems inevitable that a child will feel a bond to a school that they have spent some time at, I feel that the family environment which Trinity promotes offers closeness between pupils and their teachers and each other that is an irreplaceably unique quality that grants each pupil a sense of belonging.

I started my time at Trinity with a year in the Prep School.

At the age of 10, joining a new school seemed rather a daunting task, especially because everyone had been there for years and thus had already established close friendship groups.

Yet within a matter of days it became clear to me that the feeling of being an 'outsider' would be short-lived and sure enough I had no problems fitting in.

The happy, friendly and relaxed feel of the Prep School, when combined with the committed and caring staff, provides the ideal atmosphere for pupils to flourish and offers opportunities that many would not have at another school.

Although I was only in the Prep School for a year, I felt as if I belonged there, and even now the teachers still say hello to me and are keen to find out how I am getting on.

Although a year in the preparatory department meant that I already had a group of friends when I moved up into the senior school, the induction period of year seven provided an easy opportunity for everyone to get to know each other.

After a weekend at Skern Lodge it was impossible to tell whether anyone had known each other a matter of days or years.

Trinity offers opportunities that many children would not get at other schools, always encouraging them to achieve higher than even they realise their potential is.

I started my Trinity experience as a shy 10-year-old, never dreaming of becoming the out-going and happy 18-year-old that I am today.

Reminiscing of my time at the school brings a smile to my face as I seem to have had nothing but good times here.

From pranks we used to play in lessons, to spending break and lunch times at the Tuck Shop, often we never appreciate the smaller things in life until they pass us by.

One of the best things about Trinity is undoubtedly the friendly atmosphere; the way that all the teachers know each individual student makes everyone feel valued, and being able to walk round the school and recognising everyone promotes a sense of familiarity.

The only draw-back I can think of for such a well-connected 'bubble' of a school is that it makes leaving one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do - oh, and the fact that gossip flies round in about 30 seconds.

Trinity seems to strike an ideal balance between traditionalism and modernity. While it holds the more traditional - and annoying - values of a conventional school uniform, a compulsory chapel attendance, the archaic 6-inch rule and a make-up ban, it recognises the importance of progression which is evident in the modern methods of teaching, and the constantly developing facilities.

As a sporty person, I have reaped the benefits of such a dedicated PE department who realise the importance of games playing and team work in character building.

From netball tours to sports days, the opportunities that the school offers in sport inspires even the least active pupils to participate.

Although I claimed to hate it at the time, I actually feel sad that I will never again run in a cross country competition or take part in the always embarrassing Inter-House swimming gala.

The encouragement I have received from the sports teachers at Trinity is accountable for many of my successes, both sporting and otherwise, as they taught me to develop the attitude of never giving up.

For a relatively small school, Trinity offers trips that rival those of many larger schools and colleges.

From ski trips in Italy, France and Switzerland to English trips up to the Bront house in the Yorkshire moors and from the 'Dartmoor Challenge' to the History trip at the French Battlefields, the diverse range of both educational and recreational trips promises to offer something to everyone.

For me, each of these trips proved the importance of gaining not only an academic education at school, but an enjoyable social life as well-a combination which Trinity certainly promotes.

It is the teachers at Trinity that contribute to its promise of being 'so much more than just a school'.

Their enthusiasm and passion for the subjects they teach make it almost impossible to fail and inspire even the least concerned pupils to take an interest.

The small classes - at A-level some classes only have 1 or 2 pupils - provide an ideal learning environment, especially when I compare them to my primary school classes of 34 to 40.

The close-knit Sixth Form community and the exciting social events it offers makes it a wonder that any of us get any work done!

The Sixth Form is a community in itself and with the bestowement of positions of responsibilities when combined with the committed academic staff and the social events on offer, by the end of Year 13 the majority of pupils turn out as well-balanced adults with the potential for success.

Due to the Head of Sixth form's wild party animal streak recent Sixth Form events have included a Gangsters and Molls Disco, numerous discos under the pretence of the need for 'Sixth Form integration', the annual Prefect Dinner, a ball on a boat, a student mentor dinner, Pub Quiz and of course the Sixth Form Leavers' Ball.

It is true to say that the Sixth Form really is a family and it is over the past two years that I have enjoyed my time at Trinity the most.

Although leaving Trinity is one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do, I know that the eight years I have spent here have made me the most prepared that I possibly could be for later life.

The connection that the pupils feel to the school is unique to Trinity.

I know that for many years to come I will always be at heart a "Trinitonian" and will never forget the school that has given me so much.

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