On Friday, June 11, our community celebrated retiring head of school Mary Sciarrillo on her last school day at Trinity Hall. From heartfelt speeches to a surprise flash mob, her last day with our students was filled with stories, songs, and reminders of the legacy she is leaving at Trinity Hall.
The celebration began with student council leaders presenting Mrs. Sciarrillo with gifts representing their councils. Rev. Anthony M. Carotenuto presided over the closing Mass that followed. After Mass, students, parents, alumnae, faculty, and board members shared remarks before Mrs. Sciarrillo delivered her farewell address. Following are just some excerpts from their speeches:
- Grace McEvoy '21, co-editor-in-chief of the 2020-21 yearbook, themed "Make Your Mark:" "We are forever grateful for your commitment and your example. You made your mark on Trinity Hall, and we are proud to dedicate the 2021 Royal Record to you."
- Charlotte Walsh '21: "[Mrs. Sciarrillo] showed us that our voice, our opinions, and our presence matter through the way in which she led both in and out of [our] community meetings...As you embark on your well-deserved retirement, we students of Trinity Hall will continue to live by your famous motto: 'Let go, and Let God.'"
- Grace Molloy '17: "Mrs. Sciarrillo has always treated all of us like family. She has welcomed us in and supported us every step of the way. Her presence at Trinity was a huge factor in the sense of community that is ever present here, and that is one of the things I am most grateful for."
- Beth Koerwer P'17: "In [Trinity Hall's] early days, it was hard to keep track of all the hats Mary wore: head of school, receptionist, architect, and too many more to mention. But she changed hats as easily as she wore them. Whatever needed to be done, Mary did it. Even though she was juggling hats, she never lost her firm hold on the vision and mission of Trinity Hall, and she never took her eye off the best interest of its students, our daughters."
- Melissa Fairchild, Spanish teacher: "Mary, you have created a world here that is unlike any other. There is a vibe that exudes love and learning, and hope and strength. On graduation day our founders complimented you for the culture you started and maintained. You have had a way of connecting and developing a shared understanding here. You have built a family. It will have a lasting impact."
- Sean Clifford, co-founder and trustee: "Thank you, Mary, for your stewardship of Trinity Hall, but also for being my friend. Your contributions to Trinity Hall will never be forgotten and you have made a lasting impression on the future of education in our community. From a vision, you created an institution and, more importantly, a wonderful culture of community, which is knitted with the threads of the school’s core values of respect, perseverance, faith, and leadership."
- Victoria Gmelich, co-founder and board chair: "I think the biggest thing we can learn from Mary Sciarrillo is...she took a leap of faith...and look at what she's done. If you [students] could learn from that: even when you think it's not your wheelhouse and you think you can do something, take a risk. You can always do something else if you fail, but you could have created the best all-girls school in New Jersey."
"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve as founding head of Trinity Hall. I thank [our founders] and the founding board for entrusting me. You gifted me with an opportunity filled with challenges, and together we have created a place where girls learn best and grow into young women," said Mrs. Sciarrillo. "I feel very blessed and so loved. What's most important to know is what we created does have a legacy. You all got the messages."
Mrs. Sciarrillo leaves a lasting mark on Trinity Hall's culture and a legacy for future students and on campus. As announced by Miriam Tort, vice chair of the board of trustees, contributions to "Mary's Fund for the Girls: Now and Forever," a new financial aid and endowment fund that honors Mrs. Sciarrillo's 30-year career, have surpassed $410,000. In addition, Mairead Clifford, co-founder and trustee, announced plans to construct "Mary's Garden," a space on campus where students will be able to reflect, spend quiet time, pray, study, and laugh together.
The assembly concluded with all in attendance sending Mrs. Sciarrillo off in Trinity Hall style and tradition -- an honor guard ending with orange congratulatory signs lining the path to her bridge walk. A celebratory BBQ followed during which Monarchs successfully surprised Mrs. Sciarrillo by joining in the Jerusalema Dance Challenge (a viral dance routine that spread around the world in 2020). The celebration ended with cakes -- eight of them! -- featuring Mrs. Sciarrillo's favorite quotes, including "Let go, let God."