Humans of Harker: A force to be reckoned with

Ellis Goldman strives to be a trailblazer for others, while staying positive and accepting

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Sally Zhu

“I’m trying to do the things that others haven’t been able to do and take advantage of these opportunities. I [hope to] prove that … deviations from the norm aren’t incorrect and they shouldn’t be immediately rejected just because they’re different. One thing you have to know about me is that I’ve had so many people who’ve said I couldn’t do it, and here I am … I did the impossible,” Ellis Goldman (12) said.

“Try to be better today than you were yesterday.” “The only wrong question is the question that’s not asked.” “I stopped waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel and lit it up myself.” “I’m coming for everything they said I couldn’t have.”

These are some of Ellis Goldman’s (12) favorite quotes that she holds close to heart. Each one speaks to an aspect of her personality or her life, whether it is her positivity and accountability, outspokenness or perseverance. 

At school, Ellis is well known for being the only girl on the baseball team. She’s played baseball since she was 5 years old, and she’s played as the starting second baseman on the Harker varsity team for three years. Even Ellis was judged for her passion in her early life, she has always accepted baseball as a unique and beautiful part of her. 

“Being a female baseball player has become part of who I am and how a lot of other people and my friends see me. This is a path I chose for myself and something that I really embraced over the years,” Ellis said. 

Through her experiences from deviating from the norm and being a trailblazer in the field of baseball for women, Ellis has become much more perseverant to stick to her goals and her dreams, regardless of others’ opinions. Her individual circumstances have helped build her up over the years instead of bringing her down — she plays her best on the baseball field to show everyone watching that she is capable of accomplishing what others said she couldn’t. 

“It feels a lot of the times that I’m on one side of the world and everyone else is on the other because I’m choosing a path that so few people have chosen before,” Ellis said. “It’s definitely a huge mental impact as well because often times, my mind is convincing me that this path less taken is the wrong path, but it’s definitely made me tougher in every kind of aspect in my life.” 

Ellis continues to stay on the “path less taken” because she wants future generations of women who want to play baseball to have an easier time than she did. As a trailblazer, Ellis perseveres through struggles so that others who follow in her path don’t have to. She hopes that one day, what she has done will yield greater change. 

“I’m trying to do the things that others haven’t been able to do and take advantage of these opportunities. I [hope to] prove that … deviations from the norm aren’t incorrect and they shouldn’t be immediately rejected just because they’re different. One thing you have to know about me is that I’ve had so many people who’ve said I couldn’t do it, and here I am … I did the impossible,” Ellis said.

Playing baseball has also helped Ellis develop a personal belief in herself. Ellis’s four years participating in the Speech and Debate program has also allowed her to build up her own confidence and become more outspoken. Upper school speech and debate teacher Scott Odekirk, who has known Ellis for four years, has seen Ellis’s confidence and perseverance grow during her high school years. 

“She has this confidence about her that is so clear when you interact with her. There’s something motivating her that’s powerful and joyful, and she believes in it,” Odekirk said. 

In addition to just being a student in the program, Ellis brings a bright spirit to the upper school speech team. Many around her have noticed that Ellis is always smiling and with a welcoming attitude, a trait she tries to embody. She believes that it’s important to always try and be her best. 

“My motto is to be better today than you were yesterday. Just being one percent better at whatever I was doing the previous day, and always trying to better myself and present myself in a way where I’m proud and satisfied,” Ellis said. 

Close friend Emma Andrews (12), who is in Ellis’s advisory, also values the effort Ellis puts into her life and her friendships. 

“She just strives to be the best that she can be, and I really admire that. She really puts in the time to become close with people and gain that relationship with trust and loyalty,” Emma said. “And I think it’s worked out pretty great for her.” 

Another important aspect of Ellis’s life is her ability to always keep an open mind. After being presented with many biases and unfair opportunities in baseball, she doesn’t want to put others through the same judgement. Meona Khetrapal (12), who has been friends with Ellis since they met on the basketball team freshman year, loves spending time with Ellis because she knows she would never be judged by her. 

“[When I’m with her, I feel] so happy, and I can be myself … She’ll never judge anything you say, and she’ll understand. And she’ll put herself in your position, so I just feel really free when I’m with her,” Meona said. 

Another reason that Ellis doesn’t judge other people is because one can never know what is happening in other people’s lives. Ellis believes that everyone experiences their own personal struggles that should be respected. 

“We’re all individuals in one really big story, and we each have our own journeys that bring us together and tie us together in some point, and neglecting our individual stories takes away from the overall story,” Ellis said. “I think acknowledging that even if people are showing themselves as one way, there’s always someone going through something, and [we have] to always be cognizant of what other people are going through.” 

In her high school years, Ellis has also discovered a passion for music because it is a break from the rest of her busy life with sports and academics. She often attends concerts with her friends and sister, and listening to music brings her into her creative space. 

“I’m really able to lose myself in the music and lose myself in what I’m doing and enter this world where there’s no responsibilities, and it’s just me listening to this music that’s surrounding me,” Ellis said. “It lets me let go of everything else and just teaches me to go with the flow.”

Odekirk believes that whatever path Ellis chooses in life will be the right decision and encourages her to never stop believing in her dreams in the future. 

“Ellis, never stop being passionate about your dreams. Even as you get older, don’t lose the idea that you make your own reality,” Odekirk said.