When it comes to school spirit, no one beats Holy Trinity Catholic Academy.

Parents, students and faculty of the Shelton-based Catholic school topped the competition in the News 12 Connecticut School Spirit contest, the winner of which was announced on Sept. 30. A dozen Connecticut schools were selected from among many applicants to enter the competition. Students, their families and friends were then given the opportunity to vote for the winner online. With 11,853 votes received, Holy Trinity edged out second place Western Middle School of Greenwich by more than 400 votes.

News 12 Connecticut reporter Lena Salzbank was on the Holy Trinity campus on Wednesday, Oct. 2, filming a special news segment about the competition and Holy Trinity’s victory. Salzbank interviewed parents, teachers and students and asked them what makes Holy Trinity special.

“Parents send their children to us when they are looking for smaller class sizes and more one-on-one interaction between students and teachers,” said Head of School Lisa Lanni, adding that the family atmosphere and academic rigor help to distinguish Holy Trinity. “I know all the students by name. I know their parents. This is really a special community.”

“We’re all a family here and everyone looks out for one another,” said Maya Rafalko, a student interviewed by News 12. “We’re a new school and everyone has a lot of school spirit. We were all so excited to win.”

Lanni said that voting occurred online at the News 12 website. Individuals could vote once every 20 minutes.

“The middle school in Greenwich is probably three times the size of Holy Trinity,” said Lanni, “but our kids, parents, grandparents, teachers and all of their friends really took pride in this. These kids were just so happy when we found out we had won. I’m so proud of everyone.”

Holy Trinity was formed three years ago after St. Lawrence and St. Joseph schools in Shelton and St. Jude School in Monroe were merged. Holy Trinity is located on the St. Lawrence Church campus near Huntington Center.