Trinity celebrates centennial with new street sign

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By NONA TEPPER

Staff Reporter

At least they can't call it "Prison on Division" anymore, joked Mia Rizzi, a student at Trinity High School in River Forest, on renaming Division Street "Trinity Way," in honor of the high school's 100th year residing on the 7500 block of Division Street.

Rizzi, 17, shivering in a sweatshirt and skirt, joined about 450 of her classmates outside on Nov. 1 to celebrate the new street name, the centennial, and Founder's Day, the all-girl Catholic school's annual celebration of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, who founded the Sinsinawa Dominican sisterhood in the 1800s. Trinity is still a Sinsinawa-sponsored school. Rizzi was one of 15 nominees in Trinity's Founder's Day essay contest, the theme focusing on what Mazzuchelli would think of Trinity today.

"He would think, 'Danggggg, these women are cool, smart individuals,'" Rizzi said, as a Beyonce song looped in the background.

Rizzi can partially credit Rick Gillis, a member of Trinity's board of directors, for the new "Trinity Way" signs. Donned in a navy "Fathers' Club" hat, Gillis said that in this day and age, any Catholic all-girls high school that has survived 100 years should be celebrated.

"There's a lot of declining enrollment. The bottom line is it costs money to go to school here instead of a free public school," he said.

Sister Michelle Germanson, longtime president of Trinity, said she remembers Trinity's student population was at least twice its present size in the 1960s when she attended the school. She said she credits Trinity's International Baccaleurate academic program, athletics, and a culture that focuses on empowering women with keeping the school in business for 100 years.

"We want the best for our girls," Germanson said.

Trinity is currently interviewing candidates to replace Germanson as president. Its board has narrowed the search to eight candidates; spokeswoman Patti Williams said she didn't know any details about who was being considered, but that Trinity would make a decision by October of 2018. After that, Germanson will stay on at Trinity as president emeritus, and direct alumni relations for the school.

Trinity also recently unveiled plans for a new Leadership Center building. Over the past two years, the school has been raising funds with the goal of reaching $8 million. Since Trinity has yet to achieve 80 percent of their goal, Williamson said the school was still in its "silent phase" about what the Leadership Academy will be used for, its expected square footage, when the building will be built, and how much it will cost.

At a centennial event, Nov. 5, Germanson said the two-story center would be located in the back of the school and connect Trinity's education, fine arts and athletic wings, making all of them handicap accessible. A courtyard will separate the Leadership Center from the current building.

"We have no small plans," she said.

CONTACT: ntepper@wjinc.com

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