This year, the Trinity Community Investment (TCI) partnership with the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) has gained momentum, enrolling 17 first-year students, more than double the amount from last year. The TCI partnership arose out of Trinity’s institutional value of intentional inclusion and works to ensure that Trinity’s nationally ranked liberal arts education is accessible to students, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status, through financial resources and academic and social-emotional support. Before this collaboration’s creation in the fall of 2020, Trinity typically only enrolled 0–2 students from this district. Now, this partnership continues to thrive because of Trinity’s dedication to building strong relationships with SAISD students and counselors.
“We've really tried to step up our game and be valuable resources to the students and good partners to their counselors," says Sarah Yaccino, a Trinity Admissions counselor who oversees the TCI partnership. "Justin Doty, the dean of Admissions, and I made it a goal this past year to try to physically set foot on as many SAISD campuses as we could. I think that went a long way in gaining trust, building relationships, and ensuring a better understanding of the partnership."
But the partnership goes beyond visiting SAISD schools—it also opens Trinity's doors to students, their parents, and counselors from SAISD early on in the college search process. This spring, Trinity was finally able to host its inaugural TCI Leadership Day, which had been canceled last spring because of the pandemic. This visit program brings rising seniors to Trinity’s campus to learn about the college admissions process, college affordability, the Trinity student experience, and the college search in general.
“We found that many students had heard of Trinity, but had never visited campus even though we're so close by,” Yaccino says. Since this Leadership Day is held for high school juniors, it encourages continued interest in Trinity at SAISD schools. As students watch their friends and respected peers move on to Trinity, and they visit the campus themselves with the knowledge that the University can support them academically, financially, and emotionally, they naturally begin to consider Trinity as a viable option for their own path. Yaccino has enjoyed helping SAISD students realize that Trinity is meant for them.
“There are so many rewarding things about being a liaison,” Yaccino says. “I think the best one is getting to turn the page and see the transition from, ‘Okay, we worked together all year long. I was rooting for you,’ to ‘You chose Trinity, and now I get to see you thrive here!’”
“I had a fantastic experience with my Trinity counselors coming into college,” says Taylor Miner ’25, one of the first students to participate in the TCI partnership. “They were welcoming and encouraging in answering any questions or concerns I had. Figuring out my interests, classes, and how to operate in college was much easier with their support.” She is currently planning on double majoring in environmental geosciences and environmental studies.
At her regular check-ins last fall with the first round of TCI scholars, Yaccino discovered that Miner and her fellow TCI scholars hadn’t hesitated to take advantage of Trinity’s various opportunities such as undergraduate research, on-campus jobs, and studying abroad. “Just seeing them fully lean into the Trinity experience is so, so cool,” Yaccino says.
“Last school year was simply amazing,” Miner says. “I had the opportunity to study abroad in Iceland for two and a half weeks in the summer, which solidified how much I love the environment and traveling. I also made so many great friends during the school year thanks to the Summer Bridge program, and we've been a group ever since. Additionally, finding my place in my major, clubs, and campus job were all very important experiences for me, and I'm so glad I had time to explore all of those on top of doing my normal coursework.”
While Yaccino and the rest of the admissions team are ecstatic about going from enrolling 7 to 17 students from SAISD in the span of one year, they are even more excited to see how this partnership will continue to grow, further strengthening Trinity's relationship with the San Antonio community.
“This year, we saw interest, applications, and deposits from schools that we've never seen before,” Yaccino says. “We've also seen the beginnings of some pipelines where … somebody else has already blazed the trail … and will go back to their high schools and talk about their experiences. I think we're getting the wheel turning, and we’re so excited to see the impact of this investment on Trinity and the local San Antonio community.”
Editor’s Note: The photo above was taken at the inaugural TCI Leadership Day in April of 2022.