Michael Acquaah-Harrison ’21 is an outstanding student at Trinity-Pawling School.

In just one short year as a postgraduate student at Trinity-Pawling, Michael Acquaah-Harrison ’21 has found great success, in and out of the classroom. His Senior Independent Project (SIP), for instance, is just one outstanding achievement from his time in the Pride this year.

“For my Senior Independent Project, I expanded on a project I began last June before I enrolled at Trinity-Pawling,” Michael shared. “I created a fundraising campaign to build a mobile application that would provide a safety solution for people in critical incidents. After reaching the full $15,000 funding last August, I spent this school year managing the development of the application, communicating with backers, and planning advertisement campaigns in preparation for the launch.”

Eager to expand on the success of his project, Michael joined a small group of fellow seniors at Trinity-Pawling who will earn a Diploma with Distinction — specifically designed for students who choose to go above and beyond with their SIPs. The Diploma with Distinction includes a formal presentation to a panel of faculty members, as well as the larger school community.

For Michael, the most rewarding aspect of his Senior Independent Project process was that central word: independence. “I found the unique and challenging nature of the SIP to be its most rewarding quality,” he explained. “As an older student, the traditional structure of education (lecture, study, test) has become very familiar. Having the opportunity to undertake an independent project and learn to present the findings effectively and persuasively has helped me reinforce skills that I know will be paramount to future success.”

In addition to his SIP success, Michael has also excelled on the basketball court and in the college admissions process. Thus far, he has been accepted to an array of prestigious schools, including Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Hamilton, and WPI, to name a few. Once he makes his college choice, Michael plans to major in business management with a concentration in finance.

As a postgraduate student during a pandemic, Michael’s experience at Trinity-Pawling has certainly been unique, with remote and hybrid learning, shortened athletic seasons, and an obvious change in campus and community life. Nevertheless, he has chosen to focus on the silver linings. “For me, this year of COVID has highlighted the importance of living with purpose and gratitude,” he added. “We’ve had to learn firsthand that nothing is guaranteed and simple luxuries like being able to gather together and receive an education should be cherished.”

So, what is Michael’s secret to success as a student-athlete? “While time-management and good study habits are known to be important, I believe one of the secrets to success is understanding your “why”. That’s being able to articulate the reason for what you do and what motivates you to give your best every day in the classroom and on the court,” Michael concluded. “Understanding this source of motivation will enable you to find perseverance in times of stress.”

Thank you for your contributions to the Trinity-Pawling community this year, Michael! We congratulate you and the Class of 2021 on your upcoming graduation and wish you all the best in college and beyond.

by Emma Christiantelli