Yael Perlman, Class of 2018, is straying from tradition next year. Instead of moving into her dorm room, she’s moving to Jerusalem for a gap year where she’ll participate in a travel-based program called Midreshet Torah V Avodah. A student at Ellis since grade 9, Yael is a member of the cross country and swim teams, the Jewish Student Union, the Feminist Student Union, the Student Diversity League, and the Ellis newspaper. After her gap year, Yael plans to study history at Brandeis University.
What is your best Ellis memory?
I can’t pinpoint one exactly. This year, it was when Meg announced she decided to go the University of Pittsburgh. She was the first person from our class to commit to college and everyone was cheering when she told us. That moment just encapsulated Ellis—we all cheer for, support, and celebrate each other.
What is special about your experience at an all-girls school like Ellis?
I think at other schools it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, but at Ellis, everyone cares about you and is here to support you. My teachers and classmates have instilled a lot of confidence in me. Everybody here values your voice and what you have to say. All of my teachers at Ellis have set me up for success and pushed me towards independence.
What is your favorite Ellis tradition?
Snack! Because it’s really nice to have time everyday to chat with your friends over a cookie! But in all seriousness, I think that designated time each day to unwind shows how much Ellis values community. I also love the enthusiasm during faculty vs. student games—it’s so much fun to see everyone go all out and get really into it.
What will you miss most about Ellis when you graduate?
The teachers and my friends. Ellis has such a warm, welcoming environment and I know in college there will be far more people and that won’t always feel like the case. Ellis is my second home, I feel so comfortable here.
How do you spend your free time?
I like to run, read, and hang out with friends. Ever since I took art history classes with Ms. Sturdevant, I’ve really enjoyed going to museums. My favorite museums in Pittsburgh are the Mattress Factory and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Inquisitive. Friendly. Outgoing.
What is the last book you read?
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
If you had to write a graduation speech about what has been meaningful about your Ellis experience, what would you choose to write about?
I would write about how the environment at Ellis makes girls into confident young women. When I went to a coed school, sometimes I wouldn’t speak out because I was afraid of what people would think about me or the boys would talk over me. I’ve since realized that what I say matters and that people care about what I have to say. Everyone here supports you and pushes you down your own path to help you succeed.
How has your Ellis education prepared you for your next chapter?
Ellis has given me the confidence to explore and try new things. At Ellis, I’ve become more independent and grown my leadership skills through all of the clubs I’m involved in, because of that I’ve learned how to bring my own creativity and ideas to the table.
How would you describe the Class of 2018?
Unique, hungry, and loud. But honestly, I think that could apply to any class at Ellis. I was listening to the graduation speeches from last year and thinking how different all of the classes are, but how we all share those same qualities of an Ellis girl. All of the classes have that outgoing, friendly, loud personality that makes up a class of really unique girls.