Related: Academics, Celebration

Voices of Trinity: Graduates with Pride and Perseverance!


hat-1Congratulations to all students who are graduated at the 2017 Trinity Winter Graduation!  This is a remarkable moment in your lives, and we are so proud of your achievements!  I invited students to send me short summaries of their journeys through higher education and their Trinity days, and I’m pleased to share these stories below.  If you would like to contribute your story, send a paragraph to and I will add it to this blog, or just add your story in the comments section at the bottom.

Erica Baker, School of Education, M.Ed from the Educating for Change:

I moved to the D.C. area in Summer 2014 to be in an alternative teaching program. After spending a few months in the program, I realized I was extremely unhappy. The program was not meeting my needs on addressing the diversity in schools, and the adversity our students face in this nation and abroad. I did some research and found Trinity’s Educating for Change program. The courses offered were exactly what I was looking for to become a change agent in education. I have learned so much in my two years of being at Trinity.  Trinity has provided me with a sound education, and life-long friendships and mentors! This degree is my second Master’s degree, and I am so grateful for the experience! I have turned my capstone research into a book about culturally relevant pedagogy. It will be released this year. And, I will be using what I learned at Trinity in an online platform to discuss issues in education and our society. I thank Trinity for guiding my path as a change agent!

Jashell Harris, College of Arts & Sciences, BA in Sociology, Minor in Early Childhood Education

The journey to receiving my Degree was not the easiest, however, I will say that it is a journey that has allowed me to grow and learn myself. There were times where I wanted to give up because of failed courses, or the stress has become that unbearable, but I was more determined than anything to stay in school and become the first person in my family to graduate college; moreover, to set the foundation for my future family. I have nieces and nephews who look up to me, and I’m doing my best to make sure that I set a great example. And make them proud. Upon entering Trinity, I had no idea what to expect, but the welcoming faculty and advisors made me feel right at home. I feel that Trinity was the best decision I could have ever made in pursuing this degree.


Saleema Hazelwood, School of Professional Studies, BA in Human Relations: 

I dropped out of college 20 years ago because I was young and Naïve and I wanted to conquer the world and explore and see what other opportunity was out there beside wasting time going to school, but living the fast life only got me in trouble and later on in life I realized I had to get my life together. I went Back to Montgomery college and then I applied to Trinity Washington University, I had my doubts because I did not think I was good enough to be accepted and that’s because I didn’t know my worth but God proved me wrong that I was stronger and smarter than what I thought of myself. My acceptance letter was the best thing that ever happen to me but I think my mom was my biggest inspiration because she prayed every day that I would find my way and get my life together and I did unfortunately on April 17th 2015 my mom passed away, when she got sick and went in the hospital it was during finals, I can remember going to visit her every day at the hospital, working full time, going to class at nights, and studying for finals, yes it was hard but I never gave up because I knew that was not my mother would have wanted and I’m  graduating on Friday. I persevered through the hard times, I could have giving up but I didn’t, I persevered and if no one else is proud of me I am proud of me and my accomplishment.

Nina Newton, School of Education, MAT in Early Childhood Education:

This was probably one of the hardest events in my life I have ever completed. Before coming to Trinity, I had not been in school since graduating from undergrad 22 years ago. I was clear about not returning to school, and thought I knew what I wanted to do. Well, after several years working with children, the financial community, customer service, and teaching dance, I believe I came to a crossroads and felt stuck about what I REALLY wanted to do with my life. Deep reflection and soul searching led me to teaching young children, and I moved to the DMV area to be closer to family, and to pursue teaching in a non-traditional way. This led me to serve as an educational aide in DC Public Schools, and enrolling into Trinity’s teaching program, all while beginning my first year as a Kindergarten teacher! This was not an easy task, and I would not recommend a first year teacher doing this-But I did what I had to do, and here I am! I have overcome this huge goal, and with amazing grades! I am beyond ecstatic and so blessed to share this accomplishment with my family and friends who have encouraged me along the way! Thank you family, friends, classmates, professors, my Drew Elementary family, and other Trinity employees that have helped me see this day! For those with dreams on a shelf, dust them off and make them your reality, it is possible!


Christina J. Moody (CJ Moody), School of Professional Studies, BA in Communication:

My success at Trinity Washington University can be attributed to my faith in God. Famous words by Langston Hughes in his Mother to Son poem, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stairs,” describes my life journey. With every success came some form of setback; which would make most people just quit but the constant support and encouraging talks with my mother to my constant prayers to God concerning my life journey kept me pushing forward. I had no understanding of His path because life tragedies, trials, and tribulations came knocking on my front door with their luggage. They moved into my home as a permitted resident but I didn’t allow their presents to stop me from accomplishing my goals. I found the will to be the best me that I could be and input it into everything I do. … God directed me to an institute that provided me an educational environment that was small in class size, intriguing professors with a teaching style that kept me interested and a group of classmates with diverse backgrounds that brought something different to the discussions. God gave me the passion to write; which made my second job, not a job. It was my outlet for me to accept my feelings on certain situations, fuel my creativity and formed into a great story…. When the time comes for me to tell the world how I became the woman I am; Trinity Washington University is a part of that journey….

Vanessa Wilder, College of Arts & Science, BA Sociology: 

After 15 years, I have decided to take the initiative to complete my academic journey. Back in 1996, I attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore fresh out of Pottstown Senior High School. I invested a lot of time and energy being involved in the dual degree Sociology/Social Work program there. Although I did not complete my education there in Princess Anne, MD, I continued to explore and advance my intellect in this vast revolving cycle of life. Through many influential trials and tribulations I wound up here in Washington DC during 2001. It is because of my cousin, Kimberly Reddick whom had just graduated from Howard University at the time, I made the decision to move to Washington DC. Ms. Kimberly Reddick has recently just graduated from Trinity University under their prestigious Masters Program with primary focus on curriculum & instruction and specialty education for change, just last Spring 2016! All these years, I have worked diligently in retail, sales, floral design, medical administration, the list can go on and on.   In 2006, I gave birth to not only a beautiful, but an amazingly intelligent  daughter, Nevaeh. I am proud of myself to lead the way as an example for her future decisions and academic successes. She is watching me every step of the way. Thank you for the education and experience here at Trinity Washington University. I will be forever grateful.


Anonymous, College of Arts & Sciences, BA Political Science:

Before coming to Trinity, I had already been to two colleges. I was not motivated, and I never thought I would graduate. When I found Trinity during the summer of 2014, I was completely blown away. One of my dreams as a girl growing up was to play college soccer, and I was determined to get accepted to Trinity, and I was determined to make that soccer team. I have gone from a person who though she would never graduate and fulfill her dreams, and I have become a person who fulfilled her dreams. I played on the Trinity soccer team for three seasons, and I made friends and sisters that will last me a lifetime. I became a person who is graduating today, with a degree in political science, as a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society. With amazing guidance from the most amazing professors, I am here today to graduate. I am proud of myself and all of my peers that are here with me today. Thank you.

Erika W. Taylor, College of Arts & Sciences, BA Human Relations:

I could start by saying all the things I’ve been through to get here today, but I think everyone could agree, this journey has not been easy and with all I’ve been through, today makes all of it worth it. But I will say that every hardship and every challenge that has been thrown at me, made me the strong trinity woman I am today. With the knowledge I’ve gained here at Trinity and the support I’ve received from the staff, I am confident my future will be bright.


Amy Langley, School of Professional Studies, BA in Communication:

I started Trinity in 1996. I enrolled in the Weekend College program with aspirations of obtaining my Communication degree. I was currently working for Discovery Communications in their Marketing department and the Weekend College program allowed me the opportunity to work and go to school on the weekends.  At the age of 26, I was on my way to fulfilling a dream and then life happened. After what seemed at the time to be insurmountable obstacles, I was forced to withdraw from school. I didn’t return until 2014, when looking at my then four year old twins, I decided that I wanted to be an example of what it meant to persevere. I had been laid off of my job of 13 years at Discovery due to downsizing and restructuring and had time on my hands.  I came back and never looked back. I had a goal and took each class determined to obtain no less than an “B+” in each. Not only did I reach my goal but I was finally able, after twenty years, to say that, “I did it!” I finished and I finished strong!

Karen Jones, School of Professional Studies, BA in Human Relations:

I possess the ingredients from which legends are born …
Economic, family, professional, community hardships … but I was never forlorn!
Now…47 years of age… 2 adult daughters, 4 grand-queens and ..2 WHOLE-decades later
I am certain that I am here to be the example for ALL of their dreams and to ensure that their dreams will be greater!
My village is strong and they make me stand up taller, speak higher and walk straighter …
Yes, I started, stopped and began this journey again…sharing knowledge,  resources and love as a means to grow, push forward but never give in …
Determined that no matter what, I would see this journey through to the end …
Full-time job, sometimes 2, family losses… some days challenges stretched from end to end …
But here I stand, TODAY, in the winner’s circle… Ready to begin again!
I will continue to shine my light, in spite of ALL that life may bring …

student-1 student-2 student-3

Chantel Thompson, School of Professional Studies, BA in Early Childhood Education:

Have you ever heard of the story about the Rose that Grew from the Concrete? Well in case you have not, from this poem we are taught to admire the rose’s damaged pedals and its tenacity for striving in the face of adversity; appreciating the perseverance of someone who is unwilling to give up even when giving up is the only feasible option. Well, these are my damaged pedals and they have blossomed. These past few years at Trinity have not been the easiest by far.  The road to this moment has been filled with upset, setbacks, confusion and frustration for every missed engagement, every four hour lecture I sat through, every moment I sweated anticipating grades and every all-nighter I had to pull studying to bring me to this moment filled with joy, acceptance and a sense of pride. A sense of pride not only knowing I did something worth mentioning but I set a great example for others to follow, especially my son. From my story I want my son to learn that there is no story without struggle and anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Sabrina Holmes, School of Professional Studies, BS in Criminal Justice:

My journey to obtain my degree started at Prince Georges Community College, next I transferred to University of Maryland University College, and Trinity in 2012.  There have been plenty of times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and give up.  However; I have people looking up to me (both family and friends).  Most importantly, I have 2 daughters ages 6 and 13; the motto in our household is “Keep trying, and don’t give up”.  In the words of Dory from the movie finding Nemo “Keep on swimming, Keep on swimming”.  During my time at Trinity, I’ve purchase my 1st home (it was an emotional rollercoaster at times), and obtained a job within the Criminal Justice Field.  This moment is important in my life today because I was able to overcome a plethora of obstacles, and still come out on top.  My mother inspired me to be the woman, and mother I am today; and through hard work and perseverance I’ve shown my mom anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it.  My mother had to drop out of college to raise my sister and I, her major was also Criminal Justice.  My testimony inspired my mother to attend college in August 2017.  This moment is important in the future because I’ve inspired others to accomplish their dreams.  My oldest daughter will begin high school next year, and she is already discussing college plans, and her major.  Thank you for the opportunity to attend an outstanding school.

Kindra Nicol, College of Arts and Science, BA in Business Administration

I feel like the journey to get my degree went by so fast- I can remember being so excited about freshman orientation and now I am ready to receive my degree. Although, it seems like it was a short journey there were a lot of bumps along the way and these experiences have made me become the Trinity woman and graduate I have aspired to be. Before I came to Trinity, I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do.  Attending Trinity provided a roadmap to ensure that I can achieve my personal and professional goals moving forward.  This moment solidifies not only the hard work that I have put into getting my degree but me finding my voice to become an advocate as a social entrepreneur. I challenged myself through this journey; everything I said that I couldn’t do or thought was impossible – I did it. At Trinity I have discovered more than my strength but my passion and hunger to achieve higher goals. This moment is a goal that I have finally attained to prepared me for the next journey in my life.

pat-and-ginaThanks to our fabulous speaker Gina Adams, Vice President of Fedex!

Congratulations to all graduates!


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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: