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Another Incredible Alumni: Uno Kakegawa, Class of 2019

The definition of success for a Trinity graduate is doing something you love and doing it well. For 2019 Trinity graduate, Uno, this could be a number of different things as she is not only a highly accomplished musician, she was also the winner of the 2019 Proxime Accessit award and a member of the 2018 YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament, assisting the Department of Communities and Social Services. It was therefore no surprise to hear of her selection as the recipient of the University of British Columbia's Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award. This award covers her tuition, accommodation, meal plans, text books, plane ticket fares and personal expenses for the duration of her four years of study. It is awarded to an outstanding international undergraduate student and is based not only on academic merit, but also on qualities such as leadership skills, contribution to community service and on recognised achievement in fields of endeavour such as performing arts, sport and so on.

It was wonderful to connect with Uno again recently, learn a little about her future plans and get some words of wisdom from this talented young woman. Enjoy!

When did you attend and graduate from Trinity?

I moved from Japan to Australia in Year 3 and Trinity was my first and only school I attended! I graduated in 2019 with an OP1 as the College’s Proxime Accessit.

Please briefly describe what have you been up to since graduating from Trinity?

After graduating from Trinity, I moved back to Japan and have been working on my overseas university applications. I was very busy during this time, adapting to Japanese culture, whilst working on 26 university applications to the USA, Canada and Singapore. As part of these applications, I was required to write many short essays (over 70 in total) and also had Skype interviews as part of the admissions process.

University in these countries commences in September so I was planning to travel to Germany to visit my German exchange student, Lynn, who I had befriended in Year 10 through Trinity’s German Exchange Program. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak I have had to cancel my trip; however, this in turn has allowed me to focus on brushing up on my Japanese and violin practise.

What do you enjoy doing outside of studying?

Outside of my studies, I enjoy listening to and playing classical music! I hope to join a classical chamber music ensemble in Canada and my university’s symphony orchestra. In my free time, I enjoy meeting up with friends, discovering new food and cute cafes, and taking lots of photos!

What are some of your fondest memories of your time at Trinity?

In Year 11, I remember performing the 3rd movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto at Assembly and receiving a standing ovation from the entire school! Although I remember being incredibly nervous, I was delighted that I was able to inspire my school community through my musical interpretation of the Mendelssohn. I also remember when I accidentally crashed the school’s printing system last year after printing 200 pages of sheet music. Big thanks to the IT Department and the Library Staff who always dealt with my excessive printing!

What do you believe makes Trinity a great school?

I believe that Trinity’s commitment to foster and understand the individual needs of each student’s is what makes Trinity stand out versus other schools. For instance, last year I had the opportunity to have an internship with a state Member of Parliament (MP) during school hours and Trinity was very accommodating with this work experience opportunity. Moreover, I think that Trinity has great connections with external organisations such as the International Women’s Day Festival and Queensland Youth Parliament, and these types of educational connections have helped me to take my passions in social justice and global affairs to a national and international level.

What has been your greatest personal achievement?

I have a few achievements I am proud of, however this full ride scholarship from UBC and my performance at Carnegie Hall (New York) in 2018 stand out as my greatest achievements!

How did your experiences at Trinity prepare you for life after school & your planned future career?

Without Trinity’s extensive extra-curricular program, I would not be the person I am today! I began to learn the violin at Trinity when I was in Year 5 (which is quite late for international standards) and, because of this opportunity, I was able to travel overseas for music, take leadership in string ensembles and receive diplomas in musical performance. Moreover, my involvement in Model United Nations Assemblies from Years 9 to 12 and my German Exchange in Year 10 inspired my interest in politics and global affairs and inspired me to be a prospective Political Science and International Relations student at UBC. The programs and opportunities Trinity afforded me set me on track to pursue these interests in greater depth, both inside and outside of school.

Do you think Trinity produces global graduates that can compete internationally?

Most definitely! This scholarship from UBC is a representation of Trinity’s ability to foster its students to compete at an international level. In fact, I recently found out that I was one of 20 UBC scholarship recipients from over 700 applicants across the world, and I feel extremely privileged to have been selected for this award. I would encourage more students from Trinity to apply to universities overseas, as I believe few students consider the prospect of an international education. We have great teachers who are experts in their fields and are more than happy to support their students’ endeavours, giving Trinity students more career options both domestically and globally!

What are your future aspirations?

My dream is to be able to work for the United Nations or any other Non-Governmental Organisation which concerns itself with human rights and international relations. I would also like to work at embassies and consulates as a Japanese representative and hope to sustain diplomatic relations with other countries. Furthermore, I will continue my musical pursuits and I hope to compete in international music competitions, perform a solo concerto with an orchestra and play chamber music!

Advice to students who aspire to succeed.

My biggest piece of advice would be to work hard, and acknowledge and appreciate everyone who helps you progress in life. Today, we tend to focuson our materialistic goals and achievements, so I always try to take time to reflect and appreciate my friends, family and mentors who have supported, forgiven and watched me grow as an individual. By regularly practising gratitude and acknowledging personal growth as a mark of success, you will be able to develop meaningful relationships with a variety of people and become a well-rounded and humble citizen of the world.


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