Katie Hughes Award Nominees

Each year, the Trinity teachers are asked to nominate one of their Waterford/Wexford/Wicklow dancers for the prestigious Katie Hughes award. The Katie Hughes award is named after a long time Trinity Dancer. Katie was one of the hardest working dancers ever to come out of the Trinity program, but she did so with humility, poise and grace. She overcame challenge after challenge as she rose to the top of her game on the competitive side of Irish dance, all the while staying true to herself as a team player, great friend, and a leader. Here are the 2020 Katie Hughes award nominees. The winner will be announced during the Ceili on Saturday night.

Abby Boelens

My name is Abby Boelens. I am 14 years old. I am a freshman at Saint Viator High School, where I enjoy being on the junior varsity tennis team and the varsity dance team. I have been a Trinity Irish Dancer at the Palatine location since I was in first grade. My current teacher is Michaela Donohue, and I feel that I have progressed as a dancer since working with her. My favorite part of Trinity are the performances. I love getting to go to so many fun places to show others the dances we have learned and get them excited about Irish dance. I have made many life-long friends at Trinity, and I cherish all the memories I have made.

Ainsley Lohrentz

Hi! I’m Ainsley Lohrentz, and I’m delighted to be nominated for the Katie Hughes award! I’m 14, and I attend a part-time school program called Classical Consortium Academy while also being homeschooled by wonderful and loving parents.

I started dancing with Trinity at age nine. I was inspired to join Trinity by watching my cousins (also Trinity dancers) dance, and then seeing my younger sister Tess take classes with Ms. Ellen. Now our youngest sister Elsa has joined Trinity, too, and I love having two sisters who dance because we practice, perform and even choreograph dances together! We have grown closer through dance, and I love helping them with steps and spending time with them.

This year I’ve started drilling and show captaining, and I love it! I appreciate working with younger dancers - the energy they bring to every practice is fantastic. They are so enjoyable to be around, and I can’t wait to see them grow up and become the dancers who will inspire others!

When I’m not dancing, I love to face new challenges in the climbing gym, hang out with friends at youth group, and sing on our youth group and school’s worship teams, where I can praise the Lord, the one who helped me get where I am today! I have enjoyed junior coaching in Ellen Waller’s Target Training program, and volunteering at my local library, Feed My Starving Children, Bernie’s Book Bank, and at Exodus World Vision where I’ve been working with refugees.

Dancing with Trinity has helped me not only reach goals but surpass them. I’ve made lifelong friends, and take pride in dancing with a school that has a positive impact on students, highly skilled teachers, and an incredibly talented dance company. I can’t wait to keep dancing with Trinity throughout high school and see what God has in store for the rest of my time in a place that is filled with positive energy and supportive people!

Norah Porcelli

My name is Norah Porcelli and I am 13 years old. I live with my Mom, Dad and my five siblings in Downers Grove. I currently go to St. Josephs, and next year I will be attending Benet Academy high school.

Besides Irish dance, I play basketball, volleyball, and I run track, but Irish dance is my favorite. I am very honored to have been nominated for such a special award, and this is definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me!

I have been dancing at Trinity since I was three years old, and some of my happiest memories have been with my Trinity family. I love my class this year with Mrs. Kelly, and I am looking forward to starting ensemble this spring.

Maggie Underwood

My name is Maggie Underwood, and I am honored to be nominated this year for the Katie Hughes award. I am a 14 year old Freshman from Sun Prairie, WI. At my school, I enjoy being part of Choir, Forensics and Track. Outside of school for the last 11 years, I’ve loved dancing with Trinity. I joined at age 3 in the River level with some of my best friends that are still dancing with me today. I feel very lucky to have had them with me for my entire Trinity journey along with all of the great friends I’ve made through the years. I also love to hang out with and teach the little kids who make me smile even on the worst day. Performing is definitely my favorite piece of Trinity with all of my friends. Thank you to all of my amazing teachers I’ve had through the years who have always believed in me and pushed me to be better especially Miss Danielle, Miss Shannon and my current teacher, Miss Brittney. I hope I’ve made you proud.

Trinity White

My name is Trinity White. I found my passion for Irish Dance at age 4. In my 10 years dancing, Trinity has taught me so much, the most important lesson being how to overcome my shyness. While I love dancing in a group for St. Patrick’s Day, and dancing with a team at Oireachtas is one of my favorite things all year, doing a solo performance is a lot harder for me. The thought of everyone looking at me is something I struggle with. But with the help of encouraging teachers and friends, I’ve pushed myself to do things I don’t feel comfortable doing. I auditioned for and spoke on stage at Irish Fest a few years ago. I’m an assistant TPT show captain and am helping little kids. And this year, with my teacher, Kirsten’s support, I’m inspired to attend more feiseanna and reach for goals I didn’t think were possible. Thank you to all the teachers at Trinity for believing in me and supporting me through the years.

Emily Yunk

My name is Emily Yunk and it’s an honor to be nominated for the Katie Hughes award. Dancing at Trinity is the best because of all my great friends and teachers. I really love all the opportunities that are a part of this special school. This year, I really look forward to my third year in Ensemble, as well as working on my dance goals. I love performing on stage because I get to have fun bringing joy to the audience. Outside of dance, I play the violin and am on my school’s tennis team. Dance has taught me great lessons in goal setting and being tenacious. Being an assistant show captain has also helped me grow my love for dancing. Dance makes me happy and I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to be a part of Trinity for the last ten years.