Four Titan alumni find common threads through over four decades of Trinity history
Chapel on the morning of Monday, October 22 was set aside for “Trinity Through the Ages,” a series of reflections on the growth and evolution of the school by four alumni: Bob Patterson ’83, Ward Goode ’77, Catherine Goode ’81 and Ellie Donahue Boyd ’04.
The consummate history teacher, Patterson, began by invoking the words of writer James Baldwin, one of the 20th century’s most unshrinking social critics: “Know whence you came. The past is an inheritance, a gift, and a burden. It cannot be shirked. You carry it everywhere. There’s nothing for it but to get to know it.”
Patterson described how in 1971 attempts to form the city’s first independent high school south of the James River coincided with a time when the city, and much of Virginia, was struggling to realize the worthy ambitions of racial integration of schools.
“The 100 families that gathered to discuss the viability of a independent school south of the river wanted quality teachers, academic rigor, a Christian environment and an administration led by Robert Goodman, Jr. that did not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnicity or socioeconomic status,” stated Patterson. “In 1972 Richmond that was a big dream, but it has become reality.”
Alumni siblings Ward Good ’77 and Catherine Good ’81 recalled the early days of Trinity, as traditions budded and tribulations bonded the earliest Titans to each other.
“We had our first football practices in a neighbor’s front yard because the field wasn’t ready yet,” recalled older brother Ward Good, “the school always operated on a shoestring budget, but despite the initial lack of resources, there were a lot of great teachers and I got a great education here.”
Younger sister Catherine remarked how much the arts program has flourished, contrasting today’s state-of-the art Perkinson Arts Center with her memories of a single classroom devoted to both art and music.
“There is a bond you develop here, and I want you all to enjoy that and make the memories that will sustain and enrich the Trinity experience in the ages to come,” she said. “Remember and appreciate the passion of those people who founded this place and gave you the opportunity to go here and have experiences beyond your wildest belief.”
Ellie Donahue Boyd ’04 emphasized the common threads of passionate teachers, determined coaches, caring mentors that have been a hallmark of Trinity through the ages.
“You may be practicing and playing in fancier facilities with new and improved equipment and uniforms, learning lessons in updated classrooms with newer books and far more advanced technology, but the mission remains the same,” she said. ”Trinity is not just a school trying to help each of you become the best version of yourself; it’s much bigger than that. It’s a community and a network made up of students, faculty, alumni, parents, grandparents and neighbors. Many of whom have dedicated their time, talent and treasure to transform Trinity and provide YOU with an incredible experience. Are you taking full advantage of what Trinity has to offer?”
Boyd then asked students to look ahead to their own future pathways as Trinity alumni and consider what kind of alumni they will be. “Will you stay connected? Come back and visit? Work here? Share your story at chapel many years from now? Send your children here? Or will you graduate and never look back? Regardless, you are a part of this school’s story,” she said. “My charge to each of you is to appreciate what Trinity is today, strive to understand what it was in the past and be a part of its bright future.”