Freshman on Fire: Inside the Life of Dedicated Dub Ella Sipe


Dennis Racket

STEM Showcase: Freshman Ella Sipe stands impressively in front of her State-qualifying Science Fair Project.

The average freshman has just entered the high school arena, and spends his or her days adjusting to introductory classes and expanding all-important social agendas. But know this: Ella Sipe is not your average freshman. The passionate student is gifted on athletic and academic fronts and has her eyes set on pursuing a STEM degree at the highly competitive United States Naval Academy. 

Sipe is a girl of many talents, including competitive swimming and a pursuit of science and technology, among others. She is a leading swimmer on the NAHS girls swim team, one of two to attend the GHSA state meet, and competes with club team Swim Atlanta year-round. Her athletic career continues into the spring, when she takes on competitors as a member of the JV tennis team. Outside of the competitive sphere, Sipe holds a weekend job at her local swimming pool, and is a state-wide mentor for GEM, a girls-empowerment movement that aims to keep middle school students active. “Being so involved in sports has connected me to some of my best friends and has helped me maintain balance while sharpening my mind in ways that I previously hadn’t thought possible,” said Sipe. 

Sipe excels in the sciences, showcasing her talents in STEM at science and technology fairs across the state. The dedicated Dub has pursued research that improves communication for patients with ALS since seventh grade and has applied her investigations to make various products, including a low-tech eye gaze communication board and a Brain-Computer Interface technology that allows patients with speech impairment disabilities to communicate. Sipe’s three consecutive projects advanced to the Georgia State Science Fair in Athens, where she showcased her freshman year project and received the Fourth Honors Award. She combines her interests in technology and science through the APS Tech Fair, where she created a stop motion video that answers commonly asked questions for diagnosed patients and their family members. The project won first place at the 2021 APS fair, and second at the state level. “It makes me excited to think about my work one day impacting real ALS patients, which motivates me to pursue the sciences long-term.” said Sipe.

With dreams to attend the Naval Academy after graduation, Sipe knows that her leadership skills must shine throughout her high school career. The focused student sets herself up for success by participating in an array of clubs and activities, including a spot on the Debate team, a leadership position in SGA, and as an honorary Orchestra Council Member. “It’s nice to walk through the hallways and say I know lots of different people because I met them through the activities I am in,” she said. “As a freshman, connecting to the NAHS community is important to me

Sipe stays busy outside of the 11 stories by interacting with her community. She is an active member of her Church Leadership Committee at Northside Methodist Church, where she encourages youth to participate in Sunday school activities. She has been a member of the Girl Scouts since elementary school, and recently sold 5,000 boxes of cookies for her troop, placing her as the #1 seller in the district. Whether you know her or not, it is obvious that Sipe is a stand-out student, academically and athletically. That’s freshman on fire: dedicated Dub Ella Sipe.