Remembering Kaitlyn Trinidad
Mount students establish scholarship in memory of fallen classmate
On July 6, Mount student Kaitlyn Trinidad ’20 was returning home to New Jersey after a Fourth of July vacation when another vehicle struck her family’s car. Kaitlyn was killed instantly, along with her father and her three younger sisters. Only her mother survived.
News of the accident spread rapidly. Kaitlyn’s boyfriend, Steven Ang ’20, telephoned Stephen “Kurt” Adela ’19, who began notifying Kaitlyn’s friends. Others sent word to Campus Ministry and Student Affairs, which began coordinating grief counseling. President Charles L. Flynn, Jr. wrote a letter to share the tragic news with the College community. With each telephone call and message, the shock and horror of the terrible loss reverberated across campus, the local community, and the tri-state area.
By all accounts, Kaitlyn “Kat” Trinidad was an exceptional student who hoped to follow in the footsteps of her mother, a hospital nurse. Around campus, she exuded warmth and boundless energy as she was coming into her own as a leader and role model. When she wasn’t with friends or studying long hours for her nursing requirements, she was performing with Filiment, a dance club on campus, or running for—and winning—the elected office of treasurer of SAMAHAN, a Filipino heritage club.
“The last time I saw her was in May, at a restaurant with our friends,” said Tessa Condeza ’19, recalling how Kaitlyn could always lift her spirits or motivate her during late night study sessions at the Mount. “I’m really going to miss her positivity and love, but I feel at this moment Kaitlyn would want us to stay strong, keep going, and continue to succeed.”
And that’s exactly what the Mount community has done.
Within hours of hearing the terrible news, students had begun to mobilize. Kurt and another student drove upstate to offer support to Steven as he struggled to cope with his shock and grief. The day after the accident, some 35 students traveled to New Jersey to join hundreds of mourners for an impromptu memorial, sharing memories of Kaitlyn and her family.
“It is difficult to find the right words to describe what this loss has meant to Mount Saint Vincent,” said Dr. Gabrielle Occhiogrosso, Assistant Dean of Students. “The support our community has shown to each other through this tragedy has been remarkable, but it is really reflective of who our students are. Kaitlyn was a student who embodied everything we hope for at CMSV; she was academically focused, an emerging leader, talented, family-oriented, and had a wonderful circle of friends.”
Before her death, Kaitlyn had already made a lasting impact at the College—so much so that scores of students approached the Office of Student Activities, Leadership, and Commuter Life to ask for guidance on creating a lasting tribute to the promising, charismatic nursing student.
Several of Kaitlyn’s friends decided to start a scholarship in her name so that future students, who embody the values and dedication that Kaitlyn demonstrated, can realize the dream she was denied: becoming a nurse. With the support of President Flynn, Campus Ministry, Student Affairs, and Institutional Advancement, the Kaitlyn Trinidad Memorial Scholarship was established, and funds began pouring in. “Mount students are amazing,” said Kelli Bodrato, Dean of Students. “They felt
strongly that the scholarship should honor academic achievement. Even in their grief, they were thinking ahead, which I find extraordinary in a group of people so young. They really stepped up, sharing ideas for how to raise money and honor Kaitlyn.”
Now, students continue to lead fundraising efforts for the Kaitlyn Trinidad Memorial Scholarship—and with a goal of $100,000, the entire Mount community is helping to spread the word.
Various clubs, student organizations, athletic teams, and individuals are selling wristbands, planning a talent show, writing letters to alumnae/i, organizing fundraising events, and driving donors to an online donation page. Kaitlyn’s dance troupe, Filiment, also performed at Reunion and Homecoming Weekend, spreading the word even further.
“Kat could always make you smile,” said Danielle “Elle” Carlin ’19, a fellow member of SAMAHAN who was friends with Kaitlyn since her freshman year. Right from the start, she recalled, Kaitlyn was vivacious and encouraging—she wanted everyone around her to succeed.
Many have echoed Elle’s sentiment. In late August as students returned to campus for the start of a new semester, a memorial service was held in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. Students, faculty, and friends gathered to remember Kaitlyn and the Trinidad family, finding inspiration in her life and her commitment to others.
Caroline Bandigan ’20 recalled spending time with Kaitlyn—hours that were filled with laughter and joy. “I think that’s how we should all remember her. Someone who gave her all even when she ran on empty, who never held back a laugh, and who loved wholeheartedly without boundary.”
“Kat’s warmth and caring touched so many hearts,” said Kurt. “She had friends all over the Mount. She used to talk about bringing everyone together as a community. It’s amazing—even though she’s not here, she’s still doing that.”
About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.