Trinity-Pawling student Richard Bolding’20

“Mom, I was speaking with Marquese. He goes to some place called Trinity-Pawling.” I pulled the application Marquese had given me out of my backpack.

Marquese changed my life.

Most people complete all four years of high school in four years. For me, that is just the start of how different I am from everyone. Over the course of my high school career, I attended Archbishop Stepinac, John Jay EF, Kennedy Catholic, and then Trinity-Pawling.

Attending all of these schools highly defines me. Throughout the years of school, I have struggled academically. While most students generally get A’s and B’s, I often earned B’s and C’s. Freshman year, when I started at Archbishop Stepinac, I had no idea what to expect academically — or just the high school vibe in general. As the year progressed I was ecstatic with how my grades looked. I had teachers who just loved to see me succeed. Sadly, all of that came to an end when I was told I MUST play football, when what I really desired to do was perform in the school play. Coach said “no”. My parents pulled me.

From there, I attended John Jay High School. I enjoyed being closer to home, attending school with many of my friends. I was surrounded by friends as well as distractions. It was just a fun time. That is all it was though — “fun”. When I was there, I could not concentrate. Everyday something was happening which distracted me from focusing on the classroom. By the winter, I was floundering in the large classes, but having lots of fun. With that being said, I told my mother I needed to go back to a smaller school to get the small classrooms and more 1-on-1 teaching. That is how I ended up at Kennedy Catholic.

When I got there, my fall was brutal; however, I just figured that it was because it was junior year. I had been told junior year is always brutal. As time marched on, my grades started to spiral down. I quickly realized this school was not a good fit for me at all. The way other kids learned in this school was incredible. They were able to sleep, then when the teacher picked them to answer the question they would pop awake and somehow magically know the answer! Meanwhile, there I was, raising my hand, but still not understanding what I was being taught.

At that point I just felt discouraged, and I felt like a failure in life. By winter semester, I was miserable. I would beg to stay home. One day I confided with my parents that I thought I was just plain stupid. My self-esteem had eroded away. I thought about dropping out. I was in the doldrums. I needed a school where I would be accepted and able to thrive.

That’s when Marquese told me about Trinity-Pawling.

I knew my first day that I had found a community where I could thrive. Trinity-Pawling instilled in me things that I will take with me for the rest of my years. Academically, Trinity-Pawling boosted my confidence. I was allowed to take healthy risks. I started raising my hand in class. I have never been so ecstatic to answer questions in my life! Teachers found things in me I did not know I had in myself. I discovered my talents and passion in acting. I took on bigger leadership roles. Senior year, I was voted by the faculty and my peers to the position of a Prefect. All my life I have always strived to be a leader, it’s something I have always been good at. That’s why this journey for me has been a blessing, because it taught me to embrace who I am and to continue to LEAD.

So that being said, I understand everyone is excited for graduation. We are all about to embark on a new chapter in our lives and that’s great, but don’t miss out on the opportunities Trinity-Pawling has to offer. I was able to find myself here. I discovered things I never would have tried anywhere else and for that I am forever thankful.

Most of our parents made several sacrifices to send us here and let’s not forget why. This is a place for us to not only grow as individuals, but prepare for the future with all of the life lessons T-P has instilled in us. Take a second and think about the fact that once they call our names at graduation, our high school chapter will close. We won’t be coming back here in the fall, but attending whatever college we have been accepted into at that time. I know for some of you, the thought of that is putting a smile on your face as I speak and I totally understand. College is meant to be exciting, but this really is our last few months spent together as a family.

After graduation, we’ll be going our separate ways. Some will stay in touch and some people we will never see again. The sad reality of the situation is that we have seven months left with each other. Seven months left of just being able to walk to each others dorm rooms and fool around. Seven months left of being one big family, but one thing I know for sure is that we will be brothers for life.

While we are still here, make sure you continue to strive and do great things. Be proud of what you accomplish in and out of the classroom. Don’t stop making memories, they will be something great to reflect back on in the future. Really learn from any mistakes you make here because better here than out in the real world. And lastly, take a moment to try something out of your comfort zone. You may fall in love with something that you would have never expected. With that being said, make it a great day. Thank you.

by Richard Bolding ’20