Jill Ellis at PRS (POV Brainard)

In “The Story of My Story” series, PRS student journalists share the experiences they have, and the lessons they learn, while creating the stories they publish.


photo by Mykelle Brainard ('23)

Mykelle Brainard, Ashay Kalthia, Hannah Tyson & Nolan Agresti (clockwise from bottom) before Jill Ellis event at PRS Main Gym.

It was a cold, rainy day and the Journalism class had been preparing for Jill Ellis to come to Pacific Ridge and do an interview with our team of student journalists in front of the whole high school student body. We all had good vibes going into the event, not only because the 2x FIFA World Cup winning coach, founding president of the San Diego Wave and all-around legend in women’s sports was coming, but because Nolan Agresti (’23) had come through and brought us matching shirts and hoodies with the PRS Journalism logo for The Egg student newspaper.

So there I was, in the attendance office asking why someone had moved the cones in the parking spot that was reserved for Jill Ellis and Betsy Stephenson. Once that issue was figured out, I was standing right next to the parking spot to prevent anyone else from parking there. While standing there–in the cold rain, in my slick-back ponytail, baggy jeans and The Egg t-shirt–I saw my fellow interviewer Hannah Tison (’23) coming towards me and, at the same time, we saw Jill Ellis pull into her parking spot.

Ms. Ellis and Ms. Stephenson got out of the car and I introduced myself and gave them a hug, then we headed over to the Athletic Center conference room to introduce my fellow journalists to Ms. Ellis and Ms. Stephenson. We sat down around the conference table, with Jill Ellis at the head of the table, and we all started chatting and getting to know each other, asking questions about life, the NCAA, the San Diego Wave, her experience as a college athlete, and more. She was very delightful to talk to.

At 10:55 AM we made our way downstairs to make sure that everything was in order and ready to go in the Main Gym, where we were staging the event. Nolan, Ashay, Hannah, Ms. Ellis, and I were all in a circle preparing to go onstage and shaking off the nerves before we went in front of the whole high school. No matter how many times you have spoken in front of a large crowd, there is always a bit of nervousness when you first start, but then you go into autopilot. Ashay and I were the first to walk on and introduce ourselves, then we introduced our co-interviewers, Nolan and Hannah, who then introduced Jill Ellis. 

Jill Ellis sat down and we started asking questions, rotating through our planned sequence of who asks what questions. I started to get embarrassed handing Nolan the microphone due to my sweaty hands, but Nolan later said that he was sweaty too, making me feel better about it. Jill Ellis answered all of our questions with grace, confidence and professionalism. It was truly a marvel seeing her answer such a variety of questions with so much wisdom and ease. After the interview was done, her daughter Lily met us down on the gym floor to take a picture with her mom and the PRS Journalism team, then we made our way back up to the conference room to ask some final questions and say our thank yous and goodbyes to our amazing guest.

To read the main story about Jill Ellis at PRS, click here.

To read about the experiences of other PRS student journalists when staging the Jill Ellis event, click on the following links for reflections by Gwen Laats, Nolan Agresti and Evan Buchholtz.