As part of the grade 6 culminating English and history unit on the Middle Ages, students talked about the role of the Church in the daily life of a person in medieval times. They also viewed and discussed the architecture of the churches of this time period to compare and contrast with village homes. Sixth-grade students then walked to a local church to get a first-hand view, which allowed them to tangibly place themselves in the shoes of the characters that they portrayed during their live-action Medieval Feast.
THE FRICK PITTSBURGH
Middle School students visited the Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper exhibition at The Frick Pittsburgh ahead of their annual House Games paper dress competition. Students learned paper folding techniques from artists and integrated the new methods into their own designs.
Students in grade 8 traveled to Camp Guyasuta in Sharpsburg to celebrate the beginning of their eighth-grade year. As the leaders of the Middle School, students participated in activities to promote teamwork, problem- solving, and leadership while facilitating connections among the eighth-grade class and faculty.
GETTYSBURG AND HARPERS FERRY
Grade 7 students visited Gettysburg to see in person the sights they studied in their textbooks. While there, they took a tour of the battlefield, experienced a day in the life of a Civil War soldier, and visited the Shriver House Museum. New this year, they also took a tour of the Pennsylvania Capitol as a side trip to Harrisburg. On their way home from Gettysburg, grade 7 students stopped at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to learn about geographical connections to John Brown’s Raid and the Civil War.
HEINZ HISTORY CENTER
In fifth grade, students studied fashion design in conjunction with two exhibitions happening in Pittsburgh. The class traveled to the Heinz History Center to view the Heroes & Sheroes: The Art and Influence of Ruth E. Carter In Black Cinema exhibit. Students were inspired to create outfits of their own design for their sheroe/future self.
HOMEWOOD BUSINESS CORRIDOR
For their urban redevelopment project, grade 7 students designed a to-scale dwelling that would positively impact the Homewood business corridor. To kick things off, the girls visited Thread International and the Afro-American Music Institute to learn about the community and meet key stakeholders.
To celebrate the end of the year, grade 6 students traveled to Ligonier and explored many of the local attractions including Fallingwater and Fort Ligonier. They also engaged in a team-building low-ropes challenge, a design-thinking cantilever experiment before seeing Fallingwater, and other activities planned by their advisors. This trip allowed the students more independence than they did on the grade 5 trip, and their friendship bonds were strengthened over the course of the three-day experience.
LUTHERLYN ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER
Grade 5 students visited the Lutherlyn Environmental Centerin Butler for three days in September. The trip corresponded with the E3 unit that took place at the end of the year. Students were outdoors for most of their time there, and the activities that the girls participated in included: team/group building challenges, an archaeological dig, tree identification, recognizing edible flowers/leaves, a night hike, journal writing, and water testing.
To kick off the Creative Computing II game design unit, Elaine Fath of Schell Games facilitated a workshop on game mechanics and game design. The classes dissected familiar board games to identify the objective, obstacles, rules, and interactions. Using these components, each student changed one aspect of the card game “War” to see how it changed the player experience. The class spent the rest of the trimester applying these ideas while designing and programming their own game in Scratch.
CARNEGIE SCIENCE CENTER
Grade 7 and grade 8 students attended the Future City Orientation at the Carnegie Science Center. Team members heard from guest speakers about this year’s challenge, and, as past winners, they also served on a panel for other students to ask them questions about the competition.
SEVEN SPRINGS SKI RESORT
Although there were a few bumps in scheduling, the Middle School Ski Trip was a success this year. There were great ski conditions for the students: temperatures in the low 30’s and plenty of snow. With a mix of novice and experienced skiers, students had a blast skiing, snowboarding, and tubing together.
UBER ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY GROUP
Grade 6 students took a field trip to Uber Advanced Technologies Group this winter to hear about their autonomous vehicles first-hand. In conjunction with their robotics unit in Creative Computing II, they heard from a group of female engineers about the data the cars collect, the rigorous safety testing the cars and algorithms undergo, and the unique career paths that got these engineers to Uber.
The eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C. provided opportunities for students to apply the knowledge they learned in history and English by researching landmarks and monuments and acting as tour guides. Students visited the National Holocaust Museum and the National Museum for African American History and Culture. They also visited the Smithsonian Institutions, the Newseum, and the Vietnam War, Korean War and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials.
ALLEGHENY GENERAL HOSPITAL
Upper School students viewed an open-heart surgery at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) as part of their anatomy class. 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.
CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
Upper School Computer Science students visited Carnegie Mellon University to view the Computer Science Roadshow, an interactive presentation run by female students in the School of Computer Science. Students learned how computer science is applied in different industries and then toured the School of Computer Science and Robotics Institute.
CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART
On the Friday before spring break, AP Studio Art and AP Survey of Art students traveled to the Cleveland Museum of Art. While there, they toured the collection with teachers Sara Sturdevant and Belle Moldovan before having time to tour the museum on their own.
FACEBOOK REALITY LABS
The Computer Science II and AP Computer Science Principles classes took a field trip to Facebook Reality Labs Pittsburgh which is focused on social virtual reality research. While there, students heard from Technical Program Managers Danielle Belko and Vicky Colombo and Research Scientist Stephen Lombardi about their work creating life-like VR avatars. Students experienced virtual reality demos, took a tour of their office including Mugsy and Sociopticon, their image capturing systems, and had the opportunity to ask the team questions.
Computer Science II and AP Computer Science Principles visited Google in Bakery Square to tour the offices and speak with a panel of Google employees. Students spoke with the employees about their diverse careers and asked questions about how they collaborate cross-functionally within teams and other businesses.
GUILD COMMUNITY EVENTS
This year, Upper School Guild hosted multiple off-campus community events. Members of Guild and the Ellis community went to Global Links in Greentree to aid them in packing medical supplies that were sent to resource-poor communities. They also hosted an event on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday at the Kelly-Strayhorn theater. Additionally, a group of six students traveled up to The Children’s Institute once a month for the Best Friends program where they partnered with disabled students for games and activities.
The Concepts of Physics and AP Physics classes journeyed to Kennywood in May where they traded in their theoretical work for roller coasters and bumper cars. Prior to the trip, students completed an amusement park themed review packet to get them ready to explore Kennywood through a physics lens, and help them review for their final exams.
LEAD DIVERSITY CONFERENCE
Ellis students attended a diversity conference hosted by Sewickley Academy to grow as student leaders. While there, they engaged in thoughtful conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion. Attendees also had the opportunity to watch and participate in The Defamation Experience, an interactive performance that asked the audience to serve as members of a jury.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS STUDENT DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
In the fall, six students and five faculty members traveled to Nashville to attend the People of Color Conference and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). Focused on building students’ leadership skills, Ellis girls attended workshops, participated in group breakout sessions, and listened to an array of speakers to bolster their knowledge of how to create positive change within their own communities.
PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
Latin students participated in the PA chapter of the Junior Classical League at Penn State University. Students competed for awards in categories such as academic testing, creative arts,
athletics, and spirit. Students chose which events they wanted to participate in and took time to prepare before the conference.
POWDERMILL NATURE RESERVE
Grade 9 Voice and Vision students visited Powdermill Nature Reserve to explore the woodlands and the impacts and interconnections of water-related issues.
TORONTO MINI-COURSE TRIP
This year’s mini-course trip brought Upper School students to Toronto. Led by Mr. Mercier and Ms. Sturdevant, 20 students took to Ontario’s capital and Canada’s largest city. During the first week of mini-courses, students had a crash course on Canada, including geography, history, politics, and culture. They planned some parts of the trip, such as getting from point A to point B and mapping out neighborhoods to visit. During the second week of mini’s they saw The Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales Theatre, visited the Royal Ontario Museum,the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and climbed the CN Tower.
TOUCHSTONE ARTS CENTER
Senior clay students in the Wood Fire Club traveled to Touchstone Arts Center for their final firing as Ellis students. Seniors worked through the night as they stoked a noborigama kiln, which uses wood as the only fuel during an 18-hour firing. After their hard work, the seniors explored beautifully glazed surfaces including tenmoku and celedon, which are traditional Japanese glazes requiring very high temperatures.
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH HUMAN ENGINEERING RESEARCH LABORATORIES
Grade 11 visited the University of Pittsburgh Human Engineering Research Laboratories to meet with researchers and learn about the tools and products they are creating to assist people living with disabilities and in need of medical rehabilitation.
VALERIA LUISELLI LECTURE
Upper School students traveled to the Carnegie Lecture hall to hear writer Valeria Luiselli speak about her most recent non-fiction work, Tell Me How it Ends. In it, she discusses her experiences as a translator for children fleeing Central America and seeking refuge in the U.S.