Celebrating our Class of 2023

Celebrating our Class of 2023

Picture of Nicola King

BY: Nicola King
13 December 2023

Earlier this year we launched our Trinity Hall of Fame, where we can recognise and celebrate candidates for their fantastic achievements within Trinity’s range of arts qualifications. Teachers, family members, and others can nominate students who have shown excellence in one of the following categories:

  • Overcoming challenges - qualification success despite difficult circumstances or barriers to access
  • Creativity - originality, inventiveness, taking a creative approach to their qualification
  • Achievement – outstanding or high achievement in their qualification results
  • Personal Development - personal learning or skills development via their exam/qualification

In this blog we are going to spotlight just a few of our ‘Class of 2023’

Overcoming Challenges- Greta McMillan Silver Arts Award

Greta does not have use of her body and communicates and does all her creative work using an Eyegaze system. Greta is an accomplished multi arts performer and creator but has experienced challenges in being awarded qualifications through the school examination system as the flexibility is not there to accommodate her needs.

Greta has put an incredible number of hours into her Arts Award as she needs to type out and select words from a grid to make herself understood. She worked to create new communication grids for each section of the award to tease out her thoughts in new and creative ways, and to develop her arts and leadership skills. She completed a large number of high-quality projects resulting in a number of collaborative performances both within Drake Music Scotland and with other organisations, including placements within professional organisations. The film Greta included in her Silver Arts Award portfolio also won an award.

Overcoming challenges- Tomas Trindade Vos, Rock & Pop Drums Grade 1

Tomas Vos started losing his hearing at age of 3 and by the age of 5 he was almost completely deaf. Fortunately, Tomas qualified for Cochlear Implants, which allowed him to continue enjoying music, much like any hearing person.

Cochlear implants are not normal hearing, and it does provide additional challenges to learning an instrument. The drums provide additional sensory feedback, which makes it a great instrument for people with hearing difficulties.

Further inspired by the movie The Sound of Metal, about a drummer losing his hearing and getting cochlear implants Tomas passed his Grade 1 Drums exam in 2023 with a Merit. He has wide taste in music covering everything from Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran, Eminem to Rage Against the Machine. We are exceptionally proud of Tomas pursuing his love of music with such dedication and joy.


Creativity- Edie Kumar, Classical & Jazz Piano Grade 2

Edie composed exam pieces for both her Grade 1 and Grade 2 exams, demonstrating high degrees of creativity and willingness to experiment, as well as an openness to learning about composition techniques. Her Grade 2 composition called 'Orchids' was written in 5 time to represent the typical shape of an orchid flower and she used some unusual harmonies to represent the exotic nature of this rare flower. Edie's Grade 1 piece was called 'Snowdrops' and she wrote the words and music for this piece (in tandem) and composed the music using the pentatonic scale which we'd been experimenting with at the time in our piano lessons. Edie performed her 'Snowdrops' piece to her school in a recent musical assembly and it was very well received.

Creativity- Samiya Houston, Silver Arts Award

Samiya is 20 years old and is partially sighted with a condition called Ocular Motor Dyspraxia. Samiya has also been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome since a young age. During her Silver Arts Award Samiya took the initiative to develop her theatre and arts events reviewing skills by creating an online blog. As a result of her excellently written reviews, Samiya has been offered opportunities by a Welsh theatre company and other arts organisations to review their plays and their use of audio description within the plays.


Personal Development- Harriet Papworth ATCL Performing (Speech and Drama)

Harriet was 16 years old when she began to study the ATCL Diploma Performing (Speech and Drama) which is younger than usual for a qualification of this level. She worked tremendously hard to practically and theoretically explore a range of challenging texts, genres, and styles and she fully embraced this all with enthusiasm and a conscientious attitude. Some of these texts included ‘The Wasp’ and ‘Camille’, which referenced very mature content, characterisation and hard hitting topics.

She clearly expressed her versatility and sensitivity as a young actor, she conducted lots of independent study and research to prepare for the Impromptu Talk and Reflection Questions and she deservingly achieved a Distinction, which is outstanding for an 18-year-old student when undertaking this highly ambitious course.

Personal Development- Santosh Nathaniel Deepak, Classical and Jazz Violin Grade 1

Santosh decided to take up the Violin in addition to his Piano at the age of 7. This was a big decision for him at the time. He was inspired to be part of a string orchestra when he saw the SFE Birmingham string ensemble play at a concert. We, as parents, weren't sure he would be able to manage both instruments at such a young age.

However, Santosh, worked and practised with single minded determination, soon found he had a natural aptitude for the instrument and thoroughly enjoyed his music. Within 6 months of picking up the instrument, he was successful in his Grade 1 exams and passed with a Distinction! He has since auditioned for, and been accepted, to play in the Services For Education Junior strings ensemble, which for him is a dream come true!!


Achievement- Joe Manning, Rock & Pop Drums Grade 8

Joe fell in love with drumming at an early age – when he went to a party aged 3 and had the opportunity to play on a snare drum. From this point on, he was determined that he wanted to learn to play the drums as soon as he was old enough to have lessons. Joe has now progressed past Grade 8 with his Trinity Rock and Pop awards for drum kit – where he received a Merit. 

He has played with a variety of bands – playing both the drum kit and marching snare which has diversified his abilities and enables him to hone his technique in a variety of genres. Playing with a selection of contemporary bands has increased Joe’s confidence to perform, and he is proficient at both reading drum tab and improvising to write original compositions. Joe currently plays with an ‘American Style Marching Band’ which compete in the UK and the band won the Championship Class National finals of the British Youth Band Association competitions. He recently won the ‘Drum Member of the Year 2022’ award for his commitment to the band and his dedication to learning the music.

Achievement- Haley Wong, Classical and Jazz Harp FTCL

Haley achieved her LTCL qualification when she was 11 years old before achieving her FTCL at the age of 15, when she was also busy preparing for her A-levels. Much of the preparation for her FTCL exam happened online during covid, and she only saw her teacher twice in person before the exam.

Haley has since participated in various high-level professional competitions and performances, including delivering a solo recital at Sheldonian Theatre alongside Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra in 2022, winning the 2nd runner-up of Camac Competition London 2021, 1st runner-up of International Instrumentalist from Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod 2022, and the top prize (U35 Orchestral Instrumentalist) from Oxford Music Festival 2023.


Congratulations to all of the wonderful and talented students being recognised for their achievements!

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