Quinn and Terry Wiggins: Spirit of Gainesville nominees
Published: Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.
I am writing to nominate Quinn and Terry Wiggins for the Spirit of Gainesville Award for Education. Quinn and Terry are the founders and administrators of Trilogy School. More importantly, they are the heart and soul of a wonderful place for children.
About Quinn and Terry Wiggins
Years in Gainesville: 40+
Spouse: Each other
Children: Christy Pirkle, Andrea Newman, Brittany Buck
It’s hard to talk about Quinn and Terry without talking about the school because it seems as if they spend their whole lives at school. They founded Trilogy School in 1993 with the belief that they could provide an environment that would teach curriculum, life skills, values and citizenship. They both truly love every child at the school and get to know each child as an individual. Learning is individualized to accommodate each child’s learning style.
Many children who have struggled in public schools academically have excelled at Trilogy. Having teachers that engage them in activities and critical thinking helps students really understand and process information more than just memorizing facts. Real-life applications are utilized as much as possible to bring the curriculum to life. Science projects, field trips and the arts are all integral parts of learning.
Some children struggle in public school because of teasing and bullying by other children. Often these children arrive at Trilogy hating school and having poor self-esteem. This was the case for my child in particular. Seeing these children blossom, make friends and gain confidence is so heart-warming to their parents. Quinn and Terry both seem to take it upon themselves to help integrate new students into the family of Trilogy. Students meet together with teachers in town meetings to help make decisions regarding the school.
Quinn works with the middle and high school students. On a typical day he will teach history, meet with kids and/or parents to troubleshoot academic or behavior issues, talk with any teen who wants advice, mentor and assist any new teachers, and meet with prospective students and parents. He always has time to give a hug. His face lights up when a former student drops by to visit. Weekends and evenings his car can be seen in the parking lot as his work goes on way beyond the school day.
Quinn truly believes in community service and teaches this on a daily basis. Students are involved in service projects both to the community and the world. They are encouraged to combine personal passions and interests with ways to help others. In high school part of the curriculum is to volunteer at non-profits and businesses so that personal interests can be explored in settings that might lead to career paths. Students are assisted in finding mentors in a career field of interest.
Terry is the lead teacher in the elementary school. Elementary students frequently learn by doing and never seem to do boring or repetitive assignments. Learning is very organic as the days are filled with fun activities and loving encouragement. Caring about others is taught by example. Caring for the environment is taught through a child’s natural love of nature.
Quinn and Terry have also opened their home to students who are in a difficult life situation. Their students have their personal cell phone numbers and are welcome to call with a wide variety of questions and problems that Quinn and Terry are happy to address.
I think of Quinn and Terry as two people who together have fulfilled a life dream of making the world a better place by education. The students they have taught are better people due to the influence of these two wonderful, loving people. The community that is Trilogy school has influenced many young lives for the better. As these children grow and enter the world I have no doubt they are and will continue to make our city and world a better place.
I can think of no one else who give more of themselves to others, and no one more worthy of the Spirit of Gainesville award.
Nominated by Jacqueline Wright