Carissa Coy, Class of 2015
Alumna Carissa Coy Returns to Trinity as an Art Teacher
In the fall, Trinity welcomed home a beloved alumna to be the long-term substitute Lower School art teacher. Miss Coy attended Trinity from second grade until she graduated in 2015. She credits her Trinity education for the educational and spiritual growth that would later prepare her for college and her future career.
“Trinity has played a huge role in my life in every way,” she said. “Academically for sure, and definitely in terms of art.”
Miss Coy acknowledges that her main art teacher, Mrs. Dayhoff, who taught her in both Lower and Upper School, was the reason she ultimately ended up pursuing art.
“Mrs. Dayhoff was the one who put it in my head that I should be applying to art school, so that was huge,” she said. “She was always so intentional about teaching the ‘why’ behind art, and she taught me so much and held all of her students to a high standard. I think she really saw art as a possibility for my future before I ever could.”
"I saw so much growth spiritually in my time at Trinity. I always had a lot of questions and here I found that they were always welcomed, and I also found really good answers… faith-wise and academically,” she reflected.
Aside from her pursuits in art, Trinity also ministered to Miss Coy on a personal and spiritual level.
“I saw so much growth spiritually in my time at Trinity. I always had a lot of questions and here I found that they were always welcomed, and I also found really good answers… faith-wise and academically,” she reflected. “My family also went through some pretty tough stuff while I was a student here, and Trinity became family to us in many ways.”
After graduating, Miss Coy went on to pursue an art degree at Virginia Commonwealth University with a concentration in Craft and Material Studies. While attending art school, she began to notice an apparent gap in conversation surrounding faith and art. She noticed that while the church certainly had a historical interest in the arts, it was seemingly uncomfortable with the contemporary art scene, and likewise, the contemporary art scene often seemed to consider church a taboo subject. But at Trinity, Miss Coy had learned that faith and art are intimately interwoven, and she wanted to help others make that connection.
“I think a lot of people who aren’t Christians wouldn’t always feel comfortable going to something labeled as a Bible study or a small group, so I wanted to create a space that was a place for open conversation,” she said. “I saw a need for open communication and also the opportunity to share the gospel. The first time we meet God in the Bible, it’s as a creator. And here I was, surrounded by art students, people who understood the innate desire to create, and I just realized that’s such a good entry point to understanding that they were made by a creative God, and that this desire they feel is a reflection of that truth.”
And thus, the “Faith and Art Series” was born, a four-week series of discussions hosted in the spring. After beginning the discussion group her Sophomore year with just a few students, by the time she graduated in 2019, over 50 students attended.
Upon graduating VCU, Miss Coy pursued her passion for glassblowing and began doing art residencies and applying for grants, which has landed her in many different places like Maine, North Carolina, and even the Czech Republic, for periods of a few months at a time. As her most recent apprenticeship in North Carolina was coming to a close, she felt unsure of what to peruse next, particularly as COVID-19 closed many opportunities to her. It was then that she received a call about an open position at Trinity.
“I spent some time praying about it and decided that I wanted to fill a need for a place that has been so good to me and my family."
“I got the news that there was this opening at Trinity that was going to start as soon as I got back home and it definitely seemed like a God thing,” she said. “I spent some time praying about it and decided that I wanted to fill a need for a place that has been so good to me and my family. I also anticipated a lot of joy in taking this role. I’ve been an art teacher before and I think kids are super inspiring to work with.”
Miss Coy confirmed that the joy she had anticipated in taking the role has not only been met since joining Trinity as a teacher, but has even been surpassed, particularly because of her experience working with students.
“As a teacher, I give an ounce of enthusiasm and, like the bread and the fish in the Bible, it gets turned into so much more in the classroom. I watch these students turn it into work that is creative and unexpected and funny and fun and beautiful, and I think that that’s such a sweet thing to be a part of,” she said.
As she prepares to move on to her next adventure this spring, Miss Coy has been grateful for the Lord’s continued providence through Trinity throughout her life.
“I’m thankful for how Trinity impacted me in the past, but I’m also thankful for it today,” she said. “I’m really grateful for the way the Lord paved the way for connections here, because even though I’m not here for very long, he made the kids so ready to learn. It’s really been a blessing. I anticipated a lot of joy coming into this, but I didn’t anticipate as much joy as this experience has brought.”