- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 6, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Chavonne is pulling double duty.

A mother of two grade-school boys, she began taking college courses this semester while making sure her sons stay academically focused and active in school sports.

She also is a full-time employee with a security firm, involved in the church and a single mother.

She and Trinity Washington University are a perfect fit.

“I heard it was a good school from several women who went there,” said the 29-year-old D.C. native. “My best friend graduated from Trinity years ago. So I did my research and Trinity was my first pick.”

Chavonne and Patricia McGuire are certainly on the same page.

The Roman Catholic school, now coed, was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1897 with a “great historic mission to educate women and prepare them for life,” Ms. McGuire said in a recent interview.

Today, D.C. residents make up more than half of the student population, more than any other private university or college in the nation.

That fact is no mere coincidence, either.

While Trinity always contended with other elite private women’s schools on the East Coast, such as Bryn Mawr and Wellesley, Ms. McGuire deliberately began recruiting D.C. students of color and other urban learners after she took the helm in 1989, and those recruitment efforts, as she pointed out, are paying dividends.

When education reformers and social service activists cast their sites on struggling populations east of the Anacostia River, Trinity itself was recruited to offer classes for underserved residents at The ARC on Mississippi Avenue Southeast, where Chavonne and other students are challenged not just academically but also to think and focus about where they are headed in life.

“The campus on Mississippi Avenue is definitely convenient,” said Chavonne, a black woman who is taking classes in human behavior and learning about herself as well as her interrelationships.

Trinity is teaching women to look at the big pictures of life regardless of your personal issues and your personal environment, because life happens,” she said.

Trinity empowers you. It’s a holistic educational environment with added health and social services resources.

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