2020 Senior Spotlight

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

Each week throughout June, we'll be featuring our incredible seniors. From their advice to younger dancers, to their favorite Trinity memories, these dancers exemplify Trinity's spirit and strength.

Join us as we celebrate their accomplishments and encourage them as they begin the next part of their journeys!

Cailyn Trant

One of my biggest Irish Dance accomplishments is winning the World Championships on a choreography team! This moment was so special to me because I was able to share this experience with my incredible teammates. Solo wise, just this past February, I placed 35th at the All Irelands!!

When I think about my Trinity Experience, the memories that immediately come to mind are the amazing weeks that I spent with Trinity Ensemble on international festival trips. My favorite story is running around castle grounds playing hide-and-seek into the early hours of the morning with my best friends and the talented performers from other countries I had the privilege to get to know.

The most rewarding experience I have had with Trinity is seeing the children I have been lucky enough to teach and watch grow up, accomplish their biggest dreams. Whether it's learning a new step, placing at a feis, or recalling at the Oireachtas, seeing their eyes filled with tears of joy and the biggest smiles across their faces, makes me so proud and all of our hard work worthwhile.

My advice for younger dancers is to take advantage of every experience you can and don't be afraid to try something new! It may seem scary to step out on stage in front of an audience but there are so many people believing in you and cheering you on. I love the saying "Dance like you've never danced before" because one day you will dance on stage for the last time in your career, and the most gratifying feeling is knowing that you left it all out there. Trinity allows so many incredible opportunities for their dancers and if I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I'd do it in a heartbeat!!

I plan on attending the University of Kentucky in the fall to study Exercise Science/ kinesiology!

Nina Johnson

A few of my biggest dance accomplishments have been going to the 2014 World Championships with my team and placing first, traveling to Hawaii with the company for a corporate show, and going over seas to Europe for three summers to dance festivals with Ensemble!

One of the best experiences I have had with Trinity was traveling to Belgium to 2016. It was my first Ensemble trip and everybody made me feel so welcomed and I met so many new friends because of that trip! It was really the trip of a lifetime!

My advice for younger Trinity dancers is to always remember that you are dancing because it is what makes you happy and it is what you love to do so never take anything too seriously! Make new friends and new memories because the people in Trinity will always be your forever family!

I will be attending UW-Madison in the fall and will be majoring in Psychology.

Bridget Tobin

Performing on a NAIDC stage was my favorite accomplishment at Trinity.

Trips were always my favorite part of trinity and on my trip to Italy we got to go to our guides house for the festivals family day. We met his parents and his dad told us Michael Flatley was his best friend in college and the best man at his wedding! He showed us their wedding pictures and sent videos of us dancing to Michael!

To younger dancers - take every single opportunity.

I am not 100% yet but right now I plan to go to DePaul University in the fall.

Sadie Bunting

I completed all 12 grade exams and qualified for Nationals for four years.

My favorite part of the entire Trinity experience is teaching. I started drilling as soon as I was allowed to and have been leading my own classes for the past two years. Through teaching I have been able to meet some of the most amazing kids and build lasting relationships with each child in my class. Teaching has taught me to be a better person and leader and has given me endless skills to carry with me for the rest of my life. Teaching has become one of the most important parts of my life and I hope that I will be able to pursue that passion in some capacity for the rest of my life.

I also loved attending international festivals overseas with my best friends. Trinity provides the amazing opportunity to experience cultures and bond with dancers from all over the world through the shared love of dance. On the international trips I attended, I learned dances and songs from multiple countries, enriched the friendships I already had with other Trinity dancers and explored places I had never even heard of.

Become a driller!!! The experiences I had as a Trinity driller were life changing and unmatched by any after school activities or extracurriculars. They also made me a better dancer, competitor and performer.

I know dancers hear it all the time, but practice is the only way to reach your Irish dance goals. While I achieved most of the goals that I set for myself—they would have come sooner and easier if I had realized the value of practice, hard work and dedication a little sooner! There is no way that what you learned in class will stay in your body and help make you a better dancer unless you practice and build muscle memory.

I will be majoring in User Experience Design and minoring in American Sign Language at Purdue University.

Erin Marshall

Being able to attend an international festival in France. My favorite experience in Irish dance is a tie between being able to compete a four hand with my three best friends in dance and my St. Patrick's day crew last year. Back when the four hand class just started me and my three best friends- Gabby, Bryn, and Morgan- all decided to do it because many of them had stopped competing and wanted to go to a feis. We were the oldest kids there and the only group in our age division but we had a blast(and got 1st place).

As for my St. Patrick's Day crew, last year a group of amazing young dancers allowed me to be their friend and I had the best time with them. From making up secret handshakes together to doing coloring books it was my favorite show season mainly because they were in it. I was so sad I couldn't do it again this year, but I know that they will all grow up to be beautiful dancers and I can't wait to come back from college and see them at Irish fest.

Have fun and try everything. Even if you don't succeed at first, achieving your goal after hardships makes it even more rewarding.

I plan on attending the Savannah College of Art and design to major in industrial design with a focus in computer aided design. It has been my dream to pursue a career in CAD ever since I joined my high school's robotics team when I was a freshmen and now I get to go to a school with a beach 10 minutes away!! Two dreams in one!

Emily Barker

Winning worlds on the U12 Dawn and recalling at nationals 2017 when at the Oireachtas earlier that year I didn't even recall. Oireachtas 2018 I got 29th which was the best I had ever done at oireachtas.

My favorite memory is from our trip to France in 2018 when we would have our jam seshes late at night and just sing songs with the band and the blue masseys. I also will never forget how much the people from the festival loved our performances and how nice all the people were.

One thing I learned from experience is that not everything you want to achieve will happen right away, in fact it might take a couple years, but even so you can achieve your goals if you keep perservering and working hard towards what you want to do.

I will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and I plan to either study graphic design or media and cinema studies. I also hope to travel abroad.

Macnessa Fidlin

I loved competing with my Dawn team at Oireachtas and preforming such an iconic Trinity number. Another accomplishment that I loved was preforming at Irish Fest and getting to have my friends and family see me do what I love!

My favorite Trinity experience was getting to meet other dancers from different countries on trip and getting to learn more about their culture and see a new country!

Make sure to practice, even when you don't feel like it! Also, get to know the people in your class, because they could turn into lifelong friends!

I'm majoring in bio-chem while on a pre-dental track at Marquette University!

Rylie Collins

I have been fortunate enough to be cast on three different Ensemble Euro trips. I have also competed at the Oireachtas for two years as a soloist and for seven years as a team dancer, and I competed at the North American Nationals as a soloist this past summer. I have also been lucky enough to perform with Scythian and Gaelic Storm.

One of my favorite opportunities was from my Ensemble trip to Germany last summer. I befriended a girl at the festival, and got to teach her everything from a section of the Dawn to the Cha-Cha Slide!

If you keep working, everything will come to you at the right time. If you need any help, ask your teachers! Also, in addition to practicing your steps, work towards getting your body stronger through strength training and conditioning so you are able to make the corrections your teachers give you.

My plan is to get a bachelors in cognitive science, and minor in something more closely connected to the arts, such as film or graphic design. I would love to become either a cognitive science researcher and work to improve the education system, or pursue a career in healthcare.

Jayson Chrapla

To this day, my competing in the world competition remains one of my most prized achievements. Creating the men's solo number with my Ryan, Ryan Peter, and Zac Ortlieb during Iowa Irish fest was super fun, and we absolutely killed it onstage.

To younger dancers: You won't get told the same note over and over if you just fix it and keep it fixed.

I will be pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Molly Owens

I have competed at the Mid-America Oireachtas every year since I was a u10 for both solos and teams. I have also been lucky enough to spend my summers traveling to Canada, France, and Germany as part of the Trinity Ensemble.

I've had so many incredible memories during my time at Trinity- from carpools to class and competitions with my friends, to Camp Lake weekend, and hanging out at the top of a castle tower in Germany with all my friends from other countries, I am so lucky to have so many incredible stories to share.

My best advice to younger dancers would probably be the same advice I was given from my teachers when I was little. HAVE FUN! There is truly no other place like Trinity and there are so many wonderful opportunities you are going to have as a Trinity Irish Dancer that no other dance school has. So - work hard, listen to your teachers, support your friends, and enjoy every second of it.

I am going to be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business in the fall.

Morgan McNamara

I loved being able to help the younger dancers on and off the stage. I want those dancers to know: don’t take any moments of Irish Dance for granted.

I'm going to study Biochemistry at University of Minnesota.

Olivia Schwarm

I'm proud of winning both dances at my first feis ever, winning competitions throughout the years, getting casted for an international festival. Also having leadership roles such as an Assistant and Head show captain, driller and Katie Hughes Award nominee have shaped me into the person I am today. But above those accomplishments, meeting the best mentors, families, friends and spreading the joy of irish dance to audiences is way bigger than any trophy, medal or award.

My Trinity experience has been nothing but amazing, but one weekend in particular that I will never forget was dancing with bands at LaCrosse Irish Fest summer of 2018. During this weekend, I made priceless memories with my Madison Ensemble friends, got to share what we love doing most, and got to talk with the best of the best Irish bands out there. We danced with Gaelic Storm, We Banjo 3, JigJam and Cuig. On top of these awesome performances, we drove from LaCrosse to Milwaukee on Saturday for our Intensive weekend for Milwaukee Irish Fest. My friends and I danced with the bands Friday night, drove to practice on Saturday, back with the bands that night, and another amazing day on Sunday. It was such an unforgettable time to take a road trip together, run around LaCrosse, and meet amazing people! We talked to many audience members and taught many little kids the Jig. In just three short days, we danced countless hours, stayed up late, laughed with each other and created some memories I'll never forget.

Some of the best memories you will create come from the littlest things. Your dance journey will go by quick, so cherish every moment. Become close with your dance friends, because I have met some of my best and lifelong friends through Trinity. Know your goals and strive for them, you can do anything you put your mind to. However, the memories you create, the audiences you impact and the people you make smile, are the things that matter most.

I will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to major in elementary education. I'm also committed to run women's cross country.

Shea Dooley

Early morning practices and carpools make up some of my favorite memories at Trinity. Younger dancers - keep going! Do anything you can to get involved so you don’t miss any life experiences!

I will be going to UW La-Crosse to study therapeutic recreation or sports science.

No response - Olivia Fergus-Brummer, Stuart Patton-Van Buskirk