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23 and Trinity

Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Class of 23 collage

Meet one of Trinity’s most competitive, talented, and quirkiest classes ever

by Jeremy Gerlach

This fall, Trinity’s Class of 2023 will be the 150th class of Tigers to hit campus.

These 661 first-year students represent one of the most competitive, selective, and diverse classes in University history. What makes these standouts so special? See for yourself!

Zion Lewis at fashion shoot

Zion Lewis
San Antonio

Lewis has founded his own clothing line, PrettyBoyGothic, which he says “teeters the line between high fashion, streetwear, and grunge/underground.”

“After years of collecting various clothing, I found that prices for certain shirts rose up as high as $200 for basic streetwear. Instead of dishing out tons of money, I decided, why not make something that I knew I would always like,” Lewis says. “I consider myself a good dresser, so I figured that other people would like it as well. Now, PrettyBoyGothic is hopefully something that becomes a mainstay, and I will keep pushing until it hits that point and beyond.”

Lewis, who is also joining Trinity’s football team as a defensive back this fall, actually sells clothes out of his room in Witt-Winn. 

Hoang Ngoc Diep in front of red wall

Hoàng Ngọc Diệp
Vietnam

 Diệp is the founder of ActVoice, a women's empowerment movement challenging gender stereotypes and providing support for victims of domestic violence. Through ActVoice, she has helped bring free self-defense classes and awareness workshops to more than 200 participants in Hanoi and beyond.

“I founded ActVoice because I wanted to have a legacy of my own, and also to give back to the community with something practical and important in our day-to-day lives,” Diệp says. “And I realized that the problem of violence against women is so prominent in my country, in the people's everyday lives, but is sadly not addressed as urgently as it needs to be with practical solutions. By opening free self-defense classes, I'm giving girls and women the knowledge and the tools they need.”

Jared Clark competes in Spartan race and Triathlon

Jared Clark
Bellaire, TX

When Clark and his twin brother were both 12, his brother was shockingly diagnosed with an extremely rare fatal genetic disease called Giant Axonal Neuropathy (GAN). The disease is so rare that only an estimated 75 children worldwide have it.

Then, Clark’s little sister was also diagnosed. Since these diagnoses are so rare, there was little available medical research on any medicine to fight GAN. So, Clark decided to fight by raising money for a new clinical trial through triathlons.

“This was the only way I had to support them,” Clark says. “It became my goal to raise enough money to find this clinical trial.”

He started by becoming the youngest person in the world to complete a half-Ironman at age 12. Following that race, he convinced over 100 of his fellow athletes to help raise money for GAN research. That momentum rolled into a series of galas, more fundraising through racing, garage sales, and an annual Splash ‘N Dash race that Clark started as an Eagle Scout project.

All in all, Clark was able to raise over $200,000 through these projects. He continues to serve as an international ambassador for GAN through his racing, which has expanded to making Team USA for triathlon at the world championships for two years, as well as a spot in the 2018 Spartan Race World championship. 

“My goal while at Trinity is to encourage each of my classmates to consider racing for GAN,” Clark says. “I plan to not only bring the sport of Triathlon and Obstacle course racing to Trinity but, more importantly, I want to raise awareness for GAN and the ultra rare disease community.”

Learn more about Clark’s efforts here

Acacia Oyler dances

Acacia Oyler
Blanco, TX

Oyler is a classically trained Suzuki pianist, Cecchetti ballerina, and has also won the Jack London International creative writing award.

Music and the arts have kept Oyler on her toes almost her entire life:

“I started piano when I was tiny, and since then it has become a key aspect of my life. I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t thinking about my music or shadow-playing my latest song,” Oyler says. “For me, music presents a wonderful balance of artistry and technical challenge, which forces me to be constantly growing my musical ability and self-expression. I started ballet much later, after my little sister had her first dance class, and didn’t even become serious about my goals until I was around 14. Since then, I have fallen in love with the simultaneous mental and physical challenge which ballet presents.”

Oyler is coming to Trinity from a homeschool environment, so she says “it is going to be very exciting to be surrounded by other academically motivated people while continuing to pursue my artistic outlets!”

Yasmine Subawalla portrait

Yasmine Subawalla
Houston/India/Singapore

Subawalla, who grew up in Houston, has lived overseas for the past eight years, first in India, then Singapore.

“I knew I wanted to move back [to the U.S.] for college, and as soon as I walked onto the campus here at Trinity, I knew this was where I wanted to be,” Subawalla says. “With that being said, I’m definitely going to miss my friends and all the incredible people I’ve met. Can’t say I won’t miss all the yummy food either!”

This fall, Subawalla will be playing soccer for Trinity.

“I’ve been playing soccer for as long as I can remember, probably since the time I could walk. It’s been the one constant I’ve carried with me across countries and continents, even when I lived in places where there were no girls teams and I wasn’t allowed to play games, and it’s truly kept me on my feet and moving through some tougher times,” Subawalla says. “What I love most about soccer is the bond you build with your teammates. Scoring goals and saving shots is a lot of fun, but nothing beats building and executing a perfect play with your teammates. My favorite thing is settling into the flow and rhythm of the game as one part of well-oiled, goal-scoring machine.”

Subawalla also has an interesting quirk that helps her—literally—stand out in a crowd:

“I walk on my toes! I started doing it when I was a little kid and never quite kicked the habit,” she says. “If you see someone strolling around campus with their heels hovering above the ground, you’ll know it’s me.”