At its core, Battle of the Books is a book club for Ellis students in grades 5–8. Over the course of a few months, teams of students read three books that were picked from a selection that the girls voted on. During the months of November–March, the teams meet with Grade 5 Teacher Amy Sidari and Ellis Parent Tara McElfresh to review the book they read together as a group.
Ellis students Nora Brown and Mia Carter, both Class of 2023, entered the 25th Annual Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest at the Pittsburgh Public Theater where they performed a scene from Twelfth Night as Viola and Olivia. The scene earned them a place in the finalist showcase. Madeleine Mocker, Class of 2025, also entered through the Hope Academy with a scene from Romeo and Juliet and a monologue from Henry IV. The scene earned her a place in the finalist showcase and the monologue earned her an honorable mention.
Dory Johnson, Class of 2019, has been recognized as a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program. She is now one of 15,000 students who will be considered to be a National Merit Scholarship winner.
Ellis Middle and Upper School Strings Teacher Simon Cummings was involved in a performance of “The Old Man and the Sea” which closed this past February. Recently adapted by A.E. Hotchner, the world premiere of the play used immersive storytelling through video along with the actors and set onstage.
In November 2018, six students and five faculty members traveled to Nashville to attend the People of Color Conference and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference. In this video, attendees talk about why they went, what they learned, and in what ways they think Ellis can improve.
In honor of Black History Month, the Black Student Union at The Ellis School has compiled a list of books that honor the Black experience in America. A mix of fiction, non-fiction, young adult novels, and children’s books, there is something for everyone to expand their knowledge.
On February 11, two members of the Class of 2019, Payton Ferris and Lauren Jasper, presented to their peers in Ellis’ Upper School about their summer travels thanks to the Marcie WATERMAN Love ’56 International Travel Grant for the Global Empowerment of Women and Girls. Also in attendance were their parents, Marcie WATERMAN Love ’56, and her two daughters. Each girl gave a presentation about their experience abroad and how they are going to take what they learned and integrate it into their senior projects.
The Upper School musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee had audiences laughing, cringing, and spelling on February 8, 9, and 10. The show about middle school students participating in a regional spelling contest brought audience members back to moments from their childhood while also conveying an important message: you can create your own path.
Twelve Ellis students won 16 Scholastic Writing Awards as part of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project (WPWP). Students submitted both personal and work created in class. This year, every Ellis student that submitted work received an award. Students either received an Honorable Mention, Silver Key, or Gold Key, and one student received a nomination for the American Voices Medal.
Congratulations to the 16 Ellis students who were awarded either first, second, or third place at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Regional Competition. Students visited Duquesne University on Saturday, February 2 to present their projects in front of a panel of judges. Both Middle and Upper School students were also awarded special awards such as the STARS Special Award, the Duquesne University Award for Excellence in Chemistry, the Meghan Roe Microbiology Perseverance Award, and others.
Ellis girls in grades 7–12 are encouraged to submit their artwork to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards which is the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious arts recognition program. This year The Ellis School had 30 students take home 39 awards in the categories of Digital Art, Drawing & Illustration, Painting, Mixed Media, Ceramics & Glass, Architecture & Industrial Design, and Photography.
Actresses Hannah Cruz (Eliza) and Stephanie Umoh (Angelica) from the national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton visited Ellis to speak with Upper School students about their musical backgrounds, careers, and experiences in the wildly popular show.
Grade 6 students are fusing together computer science and visual arts in an interdisciplinary robotics project. Tasked with making robotic representations of plants and animals that they have learned about in science class, the Class of 2025 is working with papier-mâché, balloons, paints, and a variety of media in the art studio to bring their robots to physical form.
Diversity educator Rosetta Lee visited The Ellis School on January 17 and 18, 2019 to speak with families, students, board members, and faculty and staff. An Outreach Specialist at Seattle Girls’ School, Rosetta is an expert on a variety of issues, including cross-cultural communication, identity development, prejudice reduction, and coalition building, gender and sexuality diversity, facilitation skills, bullying in schools, and gender bias in the classroom.
Siobhan Vivian, New York Times bestselling author, joined Middle and Upper School English classes to teach creative writing workshops on January 7. Familiar with her books The List, Stay Sweet, and Not That Kind of Girl, Ellis students opened their laptops and notebooks with excitement, eager to hear the well-known young adult author speak about the characters, plot lines, and places they read about in her books.
Grade 11 students in the Survey of American History course are joining high schools nationwide for a multifaceted project on the women’s suffrage movement called Women Leading the Way. Inspired by a painting by Mireille Miller, Women Leading the Way is rooted in historical research on suffragists and integrates the arts, history, and English into one cumulative presentation.
The Ellis School received two overall awards at the 19th annual Future City regional competition at the Carnegie Science Center on January 19. The Middle School team was awarded “Best Computer City Design” and “Most Holistic Approach” for their city, Pierre Jaune. Ellis also received special recognition for their participation in the competition for the last 11 years.
Upper School students viewed an open-heart surgery at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) as part of their anatomy class on January 17. The class sat in a viewing area above the operating room and peered through a glass window to watch the AGH team in action as surgeons performed a thoracotomy, an operation that corrects an aortic coarctation.
Calling all campers—registration is now open for Summer Camp at The Ellis School! Whether your child is a budding artist, passionate performer, determined athlete, or curious learner, Ellis offers a wide range of immersive camps for boys and girls age 2 to grade 12.
Ellis alumna and board member Tomar Pierson-BROWN ’97 joined the Ellis community on January 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to deliver the opening remarks at Ellis’ first-ever Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Celebration. Following her remarks, students, families, faculty, and alumnae went to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty to support and participate in the “12th Annual East Liberty Celebrates MLK Day” event.
Karen Boyer, School Counselor, speaks to why Ellis prioritizes students’ mental, social, and emotional health. From practicing mindfulness to encouraging students to ask for help, strategies and tools are implemented across divisions to foster self-respect and self-worth.
Why do Lower School students gather once a week to learn in community with each other? Ann Martino, Head of Lower School, shares why Ellis believes in the importance of weekly assemblies and this dedicated time to share, work, and collaborate together as a group.
The Lower School performed the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr. for families, fellow students, faculty, and staff ahead of Winter Break. Grade 4 students led the production, taking audiences on a raucous and riveting ride from start to finish.