Caroline Higgins, Class of 2016
Cinderella Returns: Alumna Takes Teaching Job at Trinity
It’s 2016, and a class of Trinity Lower School students stare in awe and disbelief as a real-life princess in a gown runs into their classroom. “Hello, my name is Cinderella,” she says addressing the class. “Does anyone have the time? I’m in a terrible hurry!”
She glances up at the clock. “Is it midnight already? Oh dear, I really must go!”
Despite the students’ protestations, she runs out of the room, leaving behind only a glass slipper. No more than a few moments later, the students gasp as a dashing prince enters the room. “Have you seen a beautiful girl named Cinderella?” he asks, his eyes filled with concern and determination.
The classroom erupts with excited shouts. “She was just here!” “She went that way!” “She left her shoe behind!”
The prince wastes no time. He takes the shoe and runs out of the classroom to find his true love, and the children are enchanted.
This was just one of the skits that then-Upper-School-senior Caroline Higgins and her costar James Gilchrist did to advertise Trinity’s spring play, Cinderella.
“We did a lot of marketing leading up to the show. James and I would go to the Lower School classrooms and do little skits,” Miss Higgins said. “After that, these little kids that I didn’t even know would see me during the day and say ‘look, it’s Cinderella!’ So, I think for that reason I became a little bit of a Trinity celebrity.”
Miss Higgins’ celebrity hasn’t faded. Now, over four years later, Miss Higgins is back at Trinity after graduating from George Mason University in December, and the hallways are buzzing with news about Cinderella coming home to Trinity. Only this time, she’s playing a new role – a long-term substitute for chorus teacher Mrs. Koth. She is teaching fifth and sixth grade Choir, Honors Ensemble in the mornings before school, and is assisting with the Advanced Choir.
“Right now, I’m very much enjoying the Lower School students,” she said. “So far it’s just been a real joy to teach them. It’s been really great just learning how to be that teacher figure in front of different age groups, and I think it’s something that I’m learning more about and growing in, so it’s been exciting.”
At George Mason, Miss Higgins majored in music education with a vocal emphasis and obtained a teaching certificate. Yet, she got her start in music long before she went to college. She was in choir throughout her time at Trinity (Grades 9-12), was a section leader for almost that entire time, and was a co-president for Chorus. By the time she was a senior at Trinity, Miss Higgins knew that she wanted to be a music major in college. With this in mind, her choir teacher Mrs. Koth gave Miss Higgins the opportunity for some real-life experience teaching choir while she was still a student herself.
“I was in the Upper School chorus but, instead of a study hall, I did that internship with Mrs. Koth and would come help with her Intermediate Chorus class,” Miss Higgins said. “I was able to experience what it would be like to be a chorus teacher, and I think that in a different environment than Trinity, I probably wouldn’t have had an opportunity like that.”
Upon graduating, Trinity was the first place she applied. Though there wasn’t a teaching position available at the time of Miss Higgins application, Mrs. Koth knew that she’d need a long-term sub in the second semester and reached out to Miss Higgins, convinced she’d be just the right fit. Miss Higgins couldn’t resist coming back to Trinity.
“[Trinity] was always such a positive environment, and I knew that I wanted to be in a place where I’m going to be encouraged and lifted up,” she said. “I think that can happen in public school as well depending on who you’re surrounded by, but there was a certainty about it here. I know a lot of the faculty, and I know how they treat their students. It was a known variable because it was just so positive and nice [as a student] that I knew I would enjoy it.”
After Mrs. Koth returns from her leave of absence at the end of January, Miss Higgins will transition into a teacher’s assistant position through May.