An Ellis student since grade 3, Ally Hassoun, Class of 2018, is Student Council president, a member of the tennis and track and field teams, and an avid Pittsburgh Penguins fan. When she’s not studying, cheering on the Pens, or at practice, Ally volunteers at her church in Nevillewood and works with their Sunday and Vacation Bible School programs. Next fall, Ally will move her schooling from the East End to Downtown and study pharmacy at Duquesne University.
Anna Genter, Class of 2018, has been a student at The Ellis School since the fourth grade. A member of the lacrosse and soccer teams, Anna juggles her time between athletics practices and games, school work, and volunteer work at The Center for Hope, a nonprofit where she helps run an after-school program for underprivileged children. Upon her graduation from Ellis, Anna will move to New York and attend Syracuse University where she will study sports management.
Ashley Priore, Class of 2018, joined the Ellis community as an Upper School student in grade 9 and has since shared her love of chess with dozens of Ellis girls through self-taught chess classes and the formation of The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute. Ashley is also co-president of Student Diversity League and a member of Guild, Newspaper, and the Creative Writing Club at Ellis. After she receives her diploma this June, Ashley will study English and pre-med at the University of Pittsburgh.
Leela Cañuelas-Puri, Class of 2018, joined the Ellis community as a freshman in high school and has since: danced on stage in the Upper School musical; sang the National Anthem with the Glee Club at PNC Park; and been an active member of Newspaper and the Gender Sexuality Alliance. Outside of Ellis, Leela is a volunteer at the Big Idea Bookstore and the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill. Post-graduation, Leela will move to Rhode Island to attend Brown University and study engineering.
Lemlem Gamble, Class of 2018, has spent the last four years suiting up in green and white as a member of the soccer, lacrosse, basketball, and cross country teams. In addition to athletics, Lemlem is a member of Sisterhood and the Jewish Student Union clubs, and had a starring role in this year’s Upper School musical, Chicago, where she delighted audiences as Mama Morton. After graduation, Lemlem plans to study engineering at Washington and Jefferson University.
Lila Balistrieri, Class of 2018, joined the Ellis Upper School community in tenth grade and can still remember the outpouring of love that greeted her on her first day. Excited to discover her own passions outside the classroom, Lila soon found herself to be an active member of her class as she performed in dramatic and comedic plays, acted as a Student Council representative, and founded the Ellis Self Defense Club. Next year, Lila will study microbiology and epidemiology at the University of Rochester where she has been named a Handler Scholar.
Marcella Gerszten, Class of 2018, joined the Ellis community in the Lower School as a grade 3 student. During her time at Ellis, Marcella has shown her athleticism on the tennis court and has volunteered with special needs children at The Friendship Circle in Squirrel Hill. An avid traveler who has already traveled to fifty different countries, Marcella will study international business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, this fall.
Marisa Busquets, Class of 2018, joined the Ellis community for her senior year and was welcomed into the Ellis fold immediately upon her arrival. During her time at Ellis, Marisa tapped into her creative side and tried her hand at ceramics—making, creating, and throwing alongside her classmates in the studio and at Raku, the annual clay firing celebration at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. After graduation, Marisa will attend Wake Forest University in North Carolina where she plans to study psychology and Spanish.
Meg Wolfe, Class of 2018, will graduate from The Ellis School alongside twelve girls she’s gone to school with everyday since kindergarten. From class trips in Middle School to Color Wars in Upper School, during her time at Ellis, Meg has rowed with the crew team, been a member of Brain Bee and the Gender Sexuality Alliance, and shown her creativity and artistry in the ceramics studio. Next year, Meg will continue her education in the Steel City and attend the University of Pittsburgh.
Megumi Kivuva, Class of 2018, joined the Ellis community in ninth grade and has since been an active member of Sisterhood, Student Council, and the Ellis Athletic Association. During her time in the Upper School, Megumi performed on stage in musicals, ran track and field, and sang in the Glee Club. As the 2017 recipient of the Marcie WATERMAN Love ’56 International Travel Grant for the Global Empowerment of Women and Girls, Megumi traveled to Nicaragua and Cuba the summer before her senior year to explore the connection between art and social change. Next year, Megumi will attend Bard College in New York where she will work towards becoming an engineer.
From the Lower School musical to Kilt Deconstruction Day, Natasha Kossovsky, Class of 2018, has been an Ellis girl since kindergarten. After thirteen years in the signature plaid, Natasha is preparing to hang up her kilt and head East to attend the University of Pennsylvania. The co-president of the Model UN club and an active researcher at the Casos Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, Natasha will study Korean and computer science in the fall.
Noa Reiter, Class of 2018, put on the Ellis kilt for the first time as a grade 9 student. During her four years in the Upper School, Noa has been an active member and co-president of the Model UN club and is also this year’s senior class president. Next year, Noa will head to the greater Boston area to attend Brandeis University where she plans to study politics and government.
Olivia Simon, Class of 2018, is one of thirteen students in her class who has spent her entire educational experience—kindergarten through grade 12—at The Ellis School. During her time at Ellis, Olivia has chronicled campus life as the co-editor of the Yearbook, played on the field hockey and lacrosse teams, and performed in the Upper School musical. Next year, Olivia will trade in her green and white for blue and grey as a film major at Ithaca College in New York.
Pei Pei Barth Wu, Class of 2018, joined the Ellis community in ninth grade. At Ellis, Pei Pei is an active member of Student Diversity League, the Debate Club, and the Asian Student Union. Outside of Ellis, Pei Pei is an intern at the Mattress Factory and Pittsburgh Filmmakers and involved in the Pittsburgh Student Activism Coalition. In the fall, Pei Pei will leave the changing seasons on the East Coast to study at Pomona College in sunny Claremont, California.
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.
Ten years of service learning at The Ellis School inspired Erin Delaney to roll up her sleeves and combat hunger in Pittsburgh for her culminating senior project. Determined to reduce food waste and educate her peers, Erin partnered with the 412 Food Rescue to redirect leftover food from the Ellis cafeteria and transport it to those in need in the local community. But her commitment and dedication to helping others doesn’t stop there. She also serves as President of the Peer Tutoring Club where she has helped students with their studies for the last four years. Set to attend the College of Wooster in the fall, Erin shares more about her fight to end hunger and her passion for music.
Ellis senior Jordyn Tomlin traveled to Nepal over the 2016 summer as the awardee of the Marcie WATERMAN Love ’56 International Travel Grant for the Global Empowerment of Women and Girls. Inspired by the documentary Girl Rising in eighth grade, Jordyn’s passion for working with girls was realized in Nepal where she worked to improve access to education in rural areas. Not only did she see firsthand the obstacles girls face in Nepal, she brought that knowledge back to Ellis to empower her classmates and educate them on global issues. This fall, Jordyn will attend Columbia University where she plans to study Music and Anthropology and hopefully have the chance to travel abroad again.
Ellis senior Miranda Jones has spent her entire academic career walking the breezeway and passing Arbuthnot as she made her way from the Lower School playground to the Middle School hallways, and finally to the senior lounge in the Upper School. An Ellis lifer, Miranda has grown up at Ellis (quite literally, her mother works in the IT department and was previously the Upper School Assistant) and transformed into an impressive potter, an admirer of the Spanish culture, and a fierce competitor on the soccer and lacrosse field. This fall, Miranda will attend Albright College where she’ll continue to lace up her cleats on the lacrosse field, but she’ll trade in her Ellis green and white for Albright’s red and black.
Taylor Robinson has seized every opportunity available to her during her four years at The Ellis School. She’s Vice President of the Student Diversity League, a Cum Laude Society member, and a stand-out Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science winner, to only name a few. With an impressive list of academic achievements under her belt and lofty goals for her future, Taylor is set to attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall as a Stamps Scholar where she'll work towards her dream of becoming a doctor. With plans to merge her love of science and communications, Taylor shares how Ellis prepared her for her next chapter.
Luka Pierce, Class of 2017, has her entire future ahead of her as a graduating senior, but one thing she’s already checked off her to-do list is a trip across the world. Last summer, Luka traveled to India as part of the Experiment in International Living summer abroad program thanks to a heads-up from her Ellis college counselor. From a homestay with an Indian family in a village in the foothills of the Himalayas, to seeing the Taj Mahal in person, to experiencing an entirely new culture with her peers, Luka’s study abroad experience was the trip of a lifetime. As she prepares for graduation and her next chapter, Luka reflects on her time abroad and her experience at Ellis.