The school was once an all-boys military academy frequented by former president Ulysses S. Grant. Today, Trinity is a modern public school housing approximately 1,279 students in grades 9–12 on a campus style setting.
Trinity Hall, the historic core of the campus, dates back to 1857, when it was built as a private home. The building was purchased in 1879, and turned into the Trinity Hall Military Academy, with dormitories added for 35 students. The building was sold in 1925 to establish a public high school. The building has been expanded and renamed, but the core of the 150-year-old original structure remains.
Trinity High School offers 13 Advanced Placement classes and four languages. Spanish, French, German, and Mandarin Chinese. These language courses include classes from level one to level five honors. There are elective and core subjects in the areas of arts, music, business, English, science, history, mathematics, social studies, and journalism.
In 2011, Trinity Senior High School declined to 'Warning' AYP status due to lagging mathematics achievement. The math achievement fell below the State AYP goal of 67% for Math and below the statewide 11th grade achievement level of 60% on grade level. In 2010, the school achieved AYP status.
In 2011, the 11th grade ranked 40th among 122 western Pennsylvania school district 11th grades, for academic achievement as measured by five years of the PSSAs.
11th Grade Reading
2011 – 70% on grade level, (13% below basic). State – 69.1% of 11th graders are on grade level.
2011 – 40% on grade level (14% below basic). State – 40% of 11th graders were on grade level. .
2010 – 44% (12% below basic). State – 39%
2009 – 43% (13% below basic). State – 40%
2008 – 48% (7% below basic). State – 39%
According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, 18% of Trinity Senior High School graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges. Less than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.
The high school offers the Pennsylvania Dual Enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offers a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books. Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions. The Pennsylvania College Credit Transfer System reported in 2009, that students saved nearly $35.4 million by having their transferred credits count towards a degree under the new system. In 2010, the district received $17,753.00 in a state grant to be used assist students with tuition, fees and books.
The Trinity Area School District School Board has determined that students must earn 22 credits to graduate.
By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district. At Trinity High School the graduation project includes: community service, school visitation, job shadowing and a written paper.
By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2015 and 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students’ Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.
Activities and athletics
Trinity High School offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities and sports. Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, cross-country, track, wrestling, volleyball, golf, rifle, lacrosse, ice hockey, swimming, softball, tennis, and cheerleading are available at Trinity. They are in the WPIAL AAA and AAAA divisions for their sports. The ice hockey teams compete in the PIHL Open Division.
Eligibility to participate in all extracurriculars and athletics is set by Trinity School Board policies.
By Pennsylvania law, all K-12 students in the district, including those who attend a private nonpublic school, cyber charter school, charter school and those homeschooled, are eligible to participate in the extracurricular programs including all athletics. They must meet the same eligibility rules as the students enrolled in the district's schools.
In 2010, an investigation was conducted into the uncontrolled spending of the Trinity High School athletics coaches. The report called for various changes to assure appropriate, student focused, spending.
A number of clubs and societies are sponsored by the high school. Notable extracurricular activities include:
The Marching Band has a proud history. Beginning in 1984, it was 250 members strong and was nationally ranked with the MBA (Marching Bands of America), not to mention the Pennsylvania Federation of Bands. This marching force was continuously ranked in the Top 25 marching bands in the country and from that date until they stopped competing in the national arena in 1989. The band has attended many Bands of America (MBA) Regional festivals and placed in the Top 10 bands 14 times. Trinity's marching band has also won 9 consecutive PIMBA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Marching Band Association) championships.
The American Music Conference has named Trinity one of the Top 100 Communities for Music Education .
The Forensics Team, a member of the National Forensic League, has the 2001 National Champion in Expository, Justin C. Welch, to its record, two state champions, Elizabeth C. Dye and Justin C. Welch, and has had numerous individuals qualify to the National Tournament and PHSSL State Tournament every year. Two of the last three Policy Debate Teams have advanced to either the Top 32 or Sweet 16 Rounds of the National Public Policy Forum sponsored by the Bickel and Brewer Law Firm in New York City and New York University. The team also has members who compete in the American Legion Oratory Contest annually with one state champion who placed 4th nationally in 2008.
The Mock Trial Team has competed in numerous local tournaments and has placed regionally and nationally. It remains one of the largest programs in the state, fielding three teams in the state competition, which only four other teams in the state were able to do. In 2009, the two teams placed 2nd and 3rd respectively at the annual University of Pittsburgh Tournament and won the 2008 National Mock Trial Competition in Boston. A number of outstanding attorneys and witnesses awards have been earned by the team over the years too. Trinity defeated Ringgold High School in 2011 to capture the District Championship (Ringgold defeated Trinity for the same title the previous year).
The Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science Team has several individuals go to the state tournament every year.
The Odyssey of the Mind program is one of the best in the state. It has had three teams qualify to the World Tournament and many teams have reached to the state championship. The 2009 team placed 3rd in the World Finals.
The Academic WorldQuest Team is consistently a top competitor at the Western Pennsylvania Regional Tournament, ranking in the top 15 among 50 teams every year. In 2003, the team won 1st place and competed in the National Tournament in Washington, D.C..
The Hiller, the school's monthly newspaper, has earned numerous accolades for many years.
The Academic League program is strong in Western Pennsylvania. The varsity team has gone undefeated a number of times and has competed in regional and statewide competitions.
Dennis E. Wisnosky, Chief Architect and Chief Technical Officer of the US Department of Defense Business Mission Area (BMA) within the Office of Business Transformation. One of the creators and initiators of the Integrated Definition (IDEFs) language.