Early school days still resonate in graduate’s personal, professional lives

Caption: Nicole Trainer

By Chris Rodell
Contributing Writer

LATROBE — Nicole Trainer got so much more than a solid education during her years at Christ the Divine Teacher School. She got her whole life.

It was there she met her future husband and the father of her two daughters.

In the fourth grade!

“You could say a big part of everything I have is in some way related to my years at Christ the Divine Teacher,” said Trainer, today a psychologist based in Latrobe.
Of course, she and Jeremy weren’t a couple back then. They were playing the field, which makes sense because they were still at an age when children played in fields. She said she doesn’t have firm memories of him until sixth grade.

Eventually romance replaced friendship, and today they are the parents of Riley and Willow, a third- and first-grader, respectively, at the school where their parents met.
“I guess I owe that school a lot,” she said. “It was and is a big part of my life. I wanted my children to grow up with the same kind of strong moral compass that a Catholic education instilled in me.

“They taught me early on the value of doing the right thing even when sometimes it wasn’t easy.”

She said a Catholic education bestows the principles of faith, hope and love, and that those touchstones still resonate in everything she does. The school also was pivotal, she says, in helping her develop a self-confidence so necessary to soulful contentment.

“I was in the seventh grade and I decided to run for student government,” she said.

Her platform? More dress-down days.

“And I won! I still remember the feeling of winning and the responsibility,” she said.

She recalls having some success in implementation. And today, she’s sorry: “Now, I loathe dress-down days for the way they complicate my mornings.”

She strives for the same thing Principal J. Kevin Frye does. It’s a one-word salutation he uses to conclude his e-mails, an affirmation that at times today seems preposterous.
The word is: “Peace.”

Yes, what was once groovy today seems audacious.

But there is an exuberant optimism about Frye and his school that makes one think, yes, let’s give peace a chance!

“I used to sign off all correspondence with ‘Yours in Christ.’ But our school motto is Latin for ‘Peace and Virtue,’ and I just like the simple ideal of peace between people and peace in your heart. It’s what we try and impart here into every student,” he said.

In his 11 years as principal, Frye said he is most proud of what is achieved by the students who’ve left the school.

Every spring the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce has a luncheon that honors the best students from each of the school districts in the region. He said he’s been awed by years when the best student from every district had his or her beginnings at Christ the Divine Teacher School.

“Our staff and our students never cease to amaze me with their dedication, their innovation and how they represent the best of Catholic education,” he said.

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