Teacher appreciation profile: Ms. Trigiano, beloved English & journalism teacher


Image via The New York Times

Ms. Lisa Trigiano, fondly known as “Ms. T,” is an English teacher and journalism advisor at South Lakes who came to be a teacher after working as a corporate mediator. Now, every person Ms. T has ever taught, has sung her praises from the rooftops. Students could never understand how hard she works, and how difficult it is to do what she does every single day, especially online. Not only is she one of the best teachers many students have ever had, she is a great person. Every person has nothing but positive things to say about Ms. T as a person and a teacher. 


Assistant Editor in Chief and junior Marc Goldstein describes his relationship with Ms. T, saying, “I’m going to start this off by traveling back in time about two and a half years. There I was, a naive freshman who didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. I needed direction. I knew that one wrong move in high school could send me down a path that spiraled my life into one that I wouldn’t want. There I was, 8th period. The last class of my first two days of high school. I sat in the corner like any freshman would in a class with people who all knew each other. The lights were dim, and I remember her introducing herself to me. To be quite honest, I could not pronounce her last name for a solid month of my freshman year. It was tough for me. I was trying to find my place in the world. Everything changed, though over the course of a month.


Starting off on our annual trip to New York City, I began to forge a real bond with Ms. T. Exerting some of her maternal instincts on an introverted freshman in one of the biggest cities, I knew she actually cared about me. Not just as a student, but as a person. By the time the trip was over, I knew that not only did I have a new favorite teacher, but someone I could trust with anything. I quickly began to become more and more involved in writing for The Sentinel. It was an amazing outlet for me to simply put out my thoughts. 


More than anything, my sophomore year will be remembered by me as a year I found myself. On the first day of class, Ms. T made me the Sports Editor. To be very blatantly honest, I had no clue what to do. I just did the best job possible for the first few weeks until I got my bearings. That year, we also emerged as a real news outlet for the South Lakes community. That was entirely made possible by her. From setting up meetings, to being a positive person every single day, she really helped this small newspaper turn into a modern media outlet. 


For everything she has done, she has made me into a better person overall. Many people that knew me in my freshman year would describe me as an arrogant person who was somewhat lacking in self-awareness. While I remain imperfect, I think being a leader in this class has given me a sense of purpose. I have embraced the fact that my career goals lie in the newsroom, as I am going to be applying to college looking to be a journalist. 


This is all made possible by Ms. T. She has helped me through everything I have ever needed any sort of assistance on and more. I know that being stuck in virtual school has really been non-advantageous for her and her personal style of teaching. Her personality shines through the computer screen as well as any other teacher I have had to this point, and I think that she has done a superb job this year.”


Helen Ehrlich editor-in-chief, senior and four-year student with Ms. T spoke about her experience working with Ms. T to grow the Sentinel,  “Ms. T has shown me so much love during my four years in the program. The care she showed me and the room she gave me on the Sentinel was one of my greatest support systems at South Lakes and it has meant so much to me. It’s clear how deeply Ms. T cares for her students and the joy she gets from working with them.”


Opinion editor and junior Taylor Anderson said, “Ms T, means the world to me. I don’t know what high school would have been like without her class. When I walked into journalism, every class she would put a warm smile on my face no matter what mood I was in.” She added a message, “By the way, thanks for letting me eat lunch in your room all last year! Love and miss you, Ms. T!”


Maddy McFarlin, a senior and four-year student in the class shared, “I’ve know Ms. T since I was a freshman and she has helped me become the person that I am today. She is my favorite teacher, and I always look forward to seeing her.”


Her teaching has a lasting impact on South Lakes alumni. One of Ms. T’s former students, Sofia Landeryou, now a freshman at UNC-Wilmington details her relationship with Ms. T, “Ms.T was one the best teachers I ever had growing up. She went the extra mile as a teacher and really cared about her students. She always asked how I was and gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received. She’s an amazing teacher but an even better person. I miss seeing her everyday and can’t wait to come and visit to give her a big hug.”


Ms. T has a special meaning to each and every one of her students. If she can take one thing out of this article, it should be that she is appreciated and loved by each and every one of her students. I can sum up this entire piece with two words: thank you. Those two words do not quite do it justice, though. She has helped shape me into the person that I am today, and I know that in the remaining 1.5 years of my high school experience, I will be able to count on her to help me with my struggles, and to celebrate my accomplishments.