Whether it’s on the volleyball court or in the classroom, Pinkerton senior Ella Dandrade seems to have an unwritten rule of thumb.
Whatever it takes ... to be successful.
On the volleyball court, that means playing club volleyball year-round, playing beach volleyball tournaments throughout the summer with partner Amanda Wentmore from WPI and putting her heart and soul into the success of the Astros in the fall.
A standout setter and second team All-State player on last year’s 13-7 Pinkerton squad, Dandrade is the team’s leader in kills and digs this year as an outside hitter. A two-year captain, who has the Astros soaring with a 9-1 record, she was a libero as a freshman before playing outside hitter as a sophomore. She’s also played in the middle for her club team.
“Ella is an incredible volleyball player and person,” said Pinkerton coach Todd Royce. “She has been a two-year varsity captain and a four-year starter. Ella has played every position for Pinkerton in her four-year career.
“She is a returning all-state setter and, for the better of the team, she moved to be an outside hitter in her senior season. That explains the type of person that Ella is. She puts the team ahead of everything else.”
Said Dandrade, who is from Auburn: “Setter is my primary position and my favorite thing is setting but I like all the positions. There is a good feeling when you’re at the net and you pound the ball for a point — every position is important.
“That’s what I like about volleyball. Of all the sports, I think it’s the most team oriented. You have to trust your teammates and work together. I also like that it’s so fast paced.”
In the classroom, Dandrade puts her trust in herself, feeling that if she puts in the work, the results will speak for themselves, and that has certainly been the case.
With a weighted GPA of 4.4, Dandrade is ranked 12th in her class of nearly 800 students. She is taking three AP classes (psychology, calculus and English) this fall and she scored a 1,450 on her SATs. She averages three to three and a half hours of homework a night.
Explaining her drive for excellence, Dandrade says: “I think it was the way I was raised. My parents definitely set the standard but they backed off and left it to me. I’m very competitive and I like to challenge myself. I also like to surround myself with people who like to challenge themselves.”
Although she specializes in volleyball, don’t think for a moment that Dandrade has much free time when the fall season is over. That’s when she turns more of her attention to club volleyball while focusing more on community service as a four-year member of the Pinkerton student council.
On the student council, Dandrade is chairman of three committees and active in planning events from pep rallies to service at the elementary and middle schools in the area. In a large school like Pinkerton, there are plenty of activities to plan.
“If I were to prioritize, academics come first and then it’s clubs and athletics,” she said.
Having made her mark at Pinkerton, Dandrade is weighing her options for college, planning on a major in bio-medical engineering or pharmacy. “I’m not sure yet what type of school I want but I know I want to go to a large school.”
Which, after the mark she’s made on the largest high school in New Hampshire, only makes sense.
Coaches and ADs should send Moynihan nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book — Anything by Agatha Christie
TV show — Modern Family
Food — Apples
Music — Mixture
Teacher — Mr. Rolfe Voltaire
Sports team — Patriots for pros, Clemson for college
Vacation spot — Tour around Europe