Ellis girls wear many hats. They’re serious students. They’re committed athletes. They’re determined club presidents, creative artists, passionate allies—the list goes on. And while each Ellis student wears her own unique combination of hats, those in the Future City elective add a few more unconventional ones to the list: makeshift city planner; sustainability strategist; water filtration expert; software engineer; design researcher. For these students, hard hats aren’t included—but perhaps they should be.
In October 2019, a new first happened. Fifty years after the all-male Apollo 11 crew landed on the moon, two female astronauts, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, performed NASA’s first-ever spacewalk conducted entirely by women. It was the 221st spacewalk completed in support of the space station, but the only all-female one. While it was a huge milestone for NASA—it’s fair to say Ellis girls in the second grade can’t quite comprehend why it took so long.
Thirty Ellis students have been recognized with regional Scholastic Writing Awards, winning thirty-three different awards in the critical essay, novel, personal essay & memoir, sci-fi/fantasy, flash fiction, and poetry categories. In addition to a Gold Key award, Eleanor Barth Wu, Class of 2022, has also been nominated for the American Voices medal for her critical essay, “Cancel Culture and the Twitter Mob.”
Nine Ellis students were awarded either first or second place at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Regional Competition held on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at Duquesne University. In addition to first and second place finishes, Eleanor Barth Wu won two additional awards of merit: the American Chemical Society Dr. James Manner Award and the Duane Keenan Award in Biochemistry.
Thirty Ellis students have been recognized with regional Scholastic Art Awards, winning thirty-six different awards in the clay, photography, drawing, digital photography, and mixed media categories. The incredible creativity and attention to detail students’ displayed in their submitted works are a testament to their hard work in the studio, as well as a nod to the impassioned artists leading our own Visual Arts Department.
Ellis’ Middle School Future City Team took first place at the 21st Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition on Saturday, January 18. The team won special awards for Best Essay and Best Management of Water Resources and took first place overall. The team will advance to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., next month and will compete against over 40 teams from all over the country as well as from Canada and China. This win marks the sixth time Ellis has won the regional competition in twelve years of competing.
Ellis alumna Abby WILSON ’98 believes there is a need for a physical place for women to gather in Pittsburgh. As an Ellis graduate, she is well-versed in how powerful these spaces can be and is eager to find somewhere adult women can connect across careers, life experiences, and communities. A place where they can gather, share ideas, support each other, and form strong personal and professional networks.
Ari Brazier, a play-driven community organizer and educator, visited Ellis to speak about the importance of play and the power it has to bring people from different communities, cultures, and circumstances together. Using hand-clapping games as an example, Ari modeled to Ellis girls how something so simple can relieve stress, help people communicate across language barriers, and promote cooperation.
It is hard to believe that it is 2020! I was an Ellis sophomore when we hit 2000 and could not have imagined all that was to come in the next 20 years, nor the value of my time at Ellis. When I speak with Ellis alumnae a recurring theme is the importance of the foundation that Ellis created which allowed them to flourish in their lives beyond the School.
Natalie Jasper, Class of 2021, reached a major milestone on Monday, January 20 as she scored her 1,000th career point as a member of the Ellis Varsity Basketball Team. Natalie’s 1,000th point came in the form of a free throw and was just one of 21 points she scored in the Tigers’ win over Brentwood High School. To celebrate her accomplishment, Head Varsity Basketball Coach Dan LaGamba and Athletic Director Shayla Scott shared their thoughts on Natalie as a player and student-athlete.
Residents of Pittsburgh sometimes talk about January as one of the least exciting times to live here. For those of us fortunate to spend our time at The Ellis School, January is absolutely an exciting time. We’ve recently returned from Winter Break, still cheered by the great joy and pride of watching our Lower School girls give an outstanding performance of Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr. for their annual musical.
Two Ellis soccer players earned postseason honors in recognition of their excellence on the field this season. Juniors Miranda Lightner and Dalia Milch were awarded spots on the 2019 WPIAL All-Section team in honor of their hard work, commitment, leadership, and athleticism. In celebration of these accolades, Head Varsity Soccer Coach Tim Howard shared his perspective on this year’s All-Section athletes.
You might not have realized it when you were younger, but every time you explored a local creek, played Capture the Flag with neighbors, or caught fireflies on a sticky summer night—it wasn’t just all fun and games. Those outdoor activities were actually boosting your brain power, building character, and strengthening your growing body (skinned knees and all).
The learning that occurs while studying abroad can be difficult to replicate in a traditional school setting. A rock-climbing wall can’t compare to scaling the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, and learning about the British monarchy is brought to life in a completely new way when visiting the Tower of London in person. Adventures like these are truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities—and ones that Ellis students who have participated in our International Exchange Program have been lucky enough to encounter.