The Class of '25 is Ready to Thrive
Meet 11 students from one of Trinity’s largest and strongest classes ever
Monday, September 13, 2021
a collage shows 11 polaroids and a "Class of 2025" pennant

As the second largest class in Trinity’s history, the Class of 2025 is made up of more than 665 first-years who are already making their mark on campus. This year, the incoming class also has a record number of Early Decision students as well as an academic profile higher than previous years. Furthermore, thanks to a new community partnership with the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), Trinity saw a record eight new Tigers from San Antonio ISD schools this year, up from just a handful of students in years past. 

These students represent one of Trinity’s most diverse and competitive classes ever. Hear from 11 first-years about what makes them so special, their plans to get involved on campus, and why they chose Trinity.

Liam Brinks portrait

During quarantine, Brinks took his passions for games to the next level by creating Total Drama Quarantine, an online game based on the animated reality show, Total Drama Island.

“Total Drama Quarantine wasn't the first online game I hosted, but I can pretty confidently say it was the best,” Brinks says. “I brought together more than 24 people who lived across the country, then I created and put together games and competitions that could be done online, over Snapchat or Zoom calls.” Brinks says the game helped people grow bonds and gain an informal support system in a time of isolation. “All in all it lasted around two months and was incredibly helpful at being a distraction from everything that was going on at the time.”

At Trinity, Brinks hopes to continue taking on challenges as well as forming close relationships with his peers and professors. “I'm also really looking forward to getting involved with theater and trying out new activities that I didn't experience during my time in high school. I still don't fully know what I want to do after college yet, but I feel like Trinity is a place to help me discover that.”

Claire Carpenter portrait

At the beginning of quarantine, Carpenter started a social media-based art company that has now accumulated more than 50,000 followers.

“I started posting my artwork through various social media platforms just as something to do in my spare time (which we all had a lot of during that time), and eventually it turned into a way for people to commission me as an artist for their personal projects!” she says. Carpenter especially loves the opportunity to connect with people and help them create the images in their heads onto paper or digital mediums. “It became a way to express myself and my creativity while still being able to be productive and build a business for myself.”

Carpenter is excited about making connections with the Trinity community, finding a sense of belonging, and building lasting bonds. “When I visited campus,” she explains, “I was immediately greeted by my counselor, Ms. Knipp, whom I’d already been in communication with while trying to decide if Trinity was the right place for me. Trinity felt safe, it felt welcoming, and I fell in love.”

Audrey Deering portrait

Deering has trained her dog, Moby, to be a therapy dog. “I got Moby when he was just three months old back in 2016,” she says. “At the time, I was really struggling with depression and social anxiety, and Moby became this little ray of light that parted my storm clouds.”

Deering took Moby to training classes until her instructor suggested that they attempt to become a therapy team, which she was able to do through Therapy Animals of San Antonio. “Nowadays, we mostly volunteer at retirement homes or assisted living facilities, just because they enjoy Moby so much,” she says. “It’s been really hard being unable to visit most of our locations due to COVID-19, and it’s been even harder worrying about the residents we used to visit, but I can’t wait to get back to them as soon as it’s safe.”

Looking forward to getting involved on campus, Deering says she hopes to participate in as many extracurriculars as she can. With a love of volunteering and an excitement about Greek life, her eagerness to connect with a larger community is propelling her into her first year as a Tiger.

Sadie Eidson portrait

Eidson is the youngest columnist for the Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post, where she had the opportunity to be the voice of her generation in a very small town.

With neighbors all over the age of 50, Eidson says it was hard to find kids her age in Fredericksburg. “As I got older, I found that the lopsided demographics caused confusion, and even some prejudice, surrounding people my age—specifically teenagers,” Eidson explains. “To combat this issue, I reached out to the editor of our local newspaper about writing a monthly column in the Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post educating the citizens of my town about my generation, specifically our opinions, our wonders, and our fears about the world we’re growing up in.” Eidson has written about Gen Z slang, their relationship with technology, and “the immense weight of our future that has been placed on our shoulders.” 

Eidson first heard about Trinity in 2019 from a friend during a visit to her local farmers’ market. After attending one of the Admitted Tiger Days, she became sure that Trinity was the place for her. “Almost as soon as I stepped on campus, I knew that I wanted to be here. I fell head over heels in love with the CSI building and the Bell Center. The numerous exchange student trips and research opportunities, as well as the short distance to downtown, sold it for me.”

During her time at Trinity, she plans to continue developing her writing skills in classes and through the Trinitonian. Eidson is also interested in exploring the environmental studies major, the women’s soccer team, and campus life in general.

Roland LaBonté portrait

In high school, LaBonté developed his own clothing brand, Braunbär. Recently, he began creating and producing his own music. 

When he was in fourth grade, LaBonté heard the owner of a local music store playing the Star Wars theme on the cello and immediately fell in love with the sound. His passion for music has expanded from classical to styles that mesh different music genres. He also plays the electric cello in summer rock-bands and now creates his own music!

His other interest, entrepreneurship, led him to develop Braunbär in order to provide consumers with high quality clothing at a more reasonable price. At Trinity, LaBonté is looking forward to blending business and music studies so he can develop the tools necessary to move into a career where he can build brands, create genre-bending music, and open doors for entrepreneurs and musicians seeking to share their voices and products. “I paused my work on Braunbär to finish a record I am making, but plan to reboot things once the music is ready for release,” he says. “I have found that music and fashion are complementary, and hope to be able to focus on both at Trinity.”

Cora Lewis portrait

Having a mechanical engineer as a father and a mini maker space in her garage, Lewis is no stranger to experimental design and creative projects. During high school, she built a robotic arm and won a science Olympiad competition by building a plane out of rubber bands.

Lewis was involved in her high school’s Science Olympiad club, where she competed in events to solve problems through engineering. “One of my favorite parts of the club was the community, where I was able to work through specific problems with a partner to find the simplest solution,” she says. “This carried across for many of the events I competed in, such as ‘Wright Stuff,’ where the goal was to build a rubber band-powered plane that could fly for the longest period of time, or ‘Boomilever,’ where we worked to build the lightest tower that could hold the most weight.” Lewis medaled in both of these events at online nationals during her senior year. 

Wanting a summer project in 2019, Lewis began designing a robotic hand as a way to learn how to use Solidworks and Fusion 360. “I think I learned a lot, even if the way I made the models was not the most streamlined,” she says. “In the end, it was one of my favorite summer projects, especially the first moments when I saw my design work with a servo motor in place.”

With interests ranging from graphic design to computer programming, Lewis explains that she saw how Trinity would allow her to pursue different paths while receiving a great education. She is most eager to explore Trinity’s engineering department, internship opportunities, and many extracurriculars. She also plans to study abroad in her sophomore or junior year to experience different types of education in other countries.

Imaan Moosa portrait

Alongside her team of STEM students, Moosa developed a self-sanitizing door handle that generates wind energy from the opening and closing of doors and uses UV rays to kill off bacteria.

“Initially, the invention was inspired by flu season and the common cold, but as the months developed and COVID-19 became increasingly worse, we realized that it could have real-world applications,” Moosa explains. “At first, we started as a group of kids with a passion for the sciences, and we entered various competitions and volunteered at STEM events that would put that passion to work—but we wanted to go further.” Moosa says that the team’s mentor, a former NASA engineer, played a crucial role in helping them do so. During the months that she worked on the design and patent, Moosa had to enter a completely different world and mindset, one that taught her how to use her brain in more creative ways and what it means to truly think outside the box. “Being an inventor can mean so many different things, but for me it’s a way to change the world in the most positive way possible,” she says.

During her time at Trinity, Moosa is looking forward to exploring her intellectual pursuits in a home alongside like-minded peers who also carry a love for learning. “Trinity is the most welcoming campus I have ever been to, and everyone was extremely kind when I first visited,” she remarks. Imaan is also excited to be a resident in Trinity’s HOPE Hall living community, where students develop a special sense of community with their classmates through service learning and volunteering in San Antonio.

Mary Tish Phillips portrait

Ever since Phillips got scouted for modeling when she was just 13 years old, she has been able to travel the world, from New York to Europe and Asia. She says modeling full-time has exposed her to many different cultures and perspectives and allowed her to learn more about herself.

“[Modeling] exposed me to many different cultures, which made me more open to different perspectives and taught me a lot about myself,” she says. “Of course I will no longer be able to model full-time, but I will definitely keep modeling during school breaks.”

“After having to be away from Texas for a few years to focus on my modeling career, I wanted to return to Texas for college,” Phillips says. Trinity’s small size and academic challenges attracted her to the University as well as the great experience her brother, Trip Phillips ’20, had. Phillips plans to major in computer science and looks forward to exploring research opportunities, Greek life, and student council.

Alexis Radhakrishnan portrait

For Radhakrishnan, music is a form of communication. Having created an EP and a program that celebrates the power of music and writing, she’s excited for all Trinity has to offer in music, creative writing, and social change.

“Growing up, I struggled to share my thoughts and emotions with others,” Radhakrishnan says. “After learning to play the ukulele in junior high, I started writing music. I realized that music could combat the disconnect between my voice and my head and help me communicate better. By performing songs I've written, I can share everything I've left unsaid.” For a creative writing class, Radhakrishnan produced her EP, Sunflower, which she describes as an enjoyable and surreal experience.

After discovering music as a form of self-expression, Radhakrishnan became passionate about helping others find constructive and artistic ways to express themselves. Working alongside another local nonprofit, On the Move Art Studio, she taught weekly ukulele and writing classes at a public school and started a program called Creating Works in Progress, which aims to share the benefits of creative writing and music to youth as a form of release, self-expression, and healing.

Radhakrishnan says she chose Trinity because of the opportunities to explore all of her academic and extracurricular interests. She is looking forward to continuing her diving career and learning about music and education in order to improve her program.

Levolea Wallace portrait

Born in Houston, Texas, Wallace moved to San Antonio when she was 8 years old. Having graduated from high school as valedictorian, she is attending Trinity as the first Trinity Tower Scholar from the San Antonio ISD.

“Earning the scholarship is a blessing and means a great deal to me to have even been considered to compete for it,” Wallace says. “When my acceptance letter came in attached with the Murchison Scholarship, Trinity immediately rocketed to the top of my list because it helped me the most financially—coming from a low-income background, I needed that.” After that, she was invited to compete for the Trinity Tower scholarship, which she went on to earn. “A set goal for me was to always attend college for free, and the scholarship was a big leap into that direction. While being the first in my district to earn the Trinity Tower scholarship, I know I will not be the last!”

While financial aid was a top priority for Wallace in choosing a college to attend, she is excited to begin her journey as a Tiger for many reasons, including the University’s supportive environment. “I also wanted to attend an open-minded community that would make me feel at home—Trinity is just that and more!”

Katherine Whittle portrait

Starting in January 2020, Whittle co-founded and co-chaired her district’s Sustainability Task Force with the superintendent of schools. Before that, she interned for the Dover Recycling Committee, which led her to advocate for the implementation of appropriate prescription bottle disposal for the whole city.

Whittle says the Sustainability Task Force was a “unique group in that it joined students, staff, and community members in environmental advocacy.” Her role as chair of the Education Subcommittee required her to assess how to incorporate sustainability lessons into existing curricula, compile educational media, and create a virtual career exploration series. She led their meetings, created the website, and provided guidance and oversight.

During her time with the Dover Recycling Committee, Whittle assessed the fallout of China’s 2018 “National Sword” policy, which drastically reduced the ability to export plastic scrap to China. Her research allowed Dover to keep the existing material collection open, and they were able to avoid incremental costs. The following year, she returned to create a pill bottle recycling program. “These specially-made bottles do not have the same melting points as other plastics and must be handled separately,” Whittle explains. “While most are being made into buckets, some are being sent to Matthew 25: Ministries for reuse in third world countries.”

Whittle is also a Youth Leader in Climate Justice (YLCJ) for Mass Audubon and a member of their Climate Leadership Network, which involved assessments of the climate resiliency of Massachusetts towns. After identifying a disparity in environmental education, her YLCJ group chose to develop curricula that would be made public information and distributed to school districts. “I focused on marine fisheries and was invited to present my bycatch (accidental catch) lesson to my school’s 6th grade class of 160 students over two days,” Whittle says. At the Mass Audubon Youth Spring 2021 Climate Showcase, her project received the “Best Climate Education Plan Award,” and the curriculum is currently undergoing Audubon branding.

Whittle is excited about Trinity’s interdisciplinary academics, proximity to nonprofit organizations, and smaller class size and accessibility to professors. She plans to continue on the environmental studies path and says she is “looking forward to joining Eco Allies, making new friends, and playing some tennis.”

 

Madeline Freeman '23 helps tell Trinity's story as a publications management and writing intern for Trinity University Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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