October 14, 2019

A Passion for Arts and Sciences

Elisheva Zisblatt, 18
High School: YULA Girls
College: Harvard University

When YULA Girls High School valedictorian Elisheva Zisblatt takes the stage at her June 13 graduation, she plans to talk about the powerhouse women in her family and how they value education.

“My mom and my grandmother [are my] biggest inspiration,” Zisblatt, who lives in the La Brea area, told the Journal. “My mom is an Orthodox mom, who raised four kids. She is a lawyer who’s kept the same job for 20-plus years.”

The oldest girl in her family, Zisblatt is a role model not only to her two younger sisters, but also fellow students. One of the top performers in her Model UN (United Nations) class, she recently received the award for best delegate. As captain of her school’s Moot Beit Din program, Zisblatt leads a team of students as it solves modern-day cases using Torah law. She also started her school’s Women in Science club, and has taken every AP course offered as well as the school’s most advanced courses in both general and Judaic studies. She is the only student in the senior class to receive a National Merit commendation.

Outside the classroom, Zisblatt has been on the school’s varsity volleyball team since freshman year and been captain for the past two years. She serves on the youth board for ETTA — a Jewish special-needs organization — and tutors youth after school for Chai Lifeline’s iSHINE and Big Sister programs.

“I’m definitely most proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone in high school.” 

“I’m definitely most proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone in high school,” Zisblatt said. “Even the choices of where I’m going after high school are things I really did not expect I would choose. I’ve done a lot of public speaking − totally not my thing. I worked hard at things I never thought I would.”

At YULA, she said, “we’re really taught to be outspoken for what we’re interested in and for what we all stand for. Being at an all-girl school was a huge benefit. Every leadership position is going to a girl. There’s never any fear to start a club or do anything.”

Zisblatt will spend a gap year studying at Michlalah Yerushalayim in Israel before attending Harvard University in 2020. The seminary program she’ll attend in Jerusalem technically is part of an Israeli college, Zisblatt said. All the courses on campus are Judaic studies. “It’s definitely a little academic and a little intense. It’s very exciting to me,” she said.

Zisblatt loves science and plans to study either chemistry or biology, with a minor in art. She draws and does oil paintings as part of her AP art program. “I’m a very technical, linear thinker, and I found that my artwork reflects that,” she said. “My AP art portfolio is the ‘Mechanics of Flight.’ It’s very scientific.”

Her advice to students is: “Don’t just do things for college or because you’re pressured to do them. When it comes to choosing classes, especially things that you do in your free time, really only do things that make you happy.”

Keep on reading about our 2019 Outstanding Seniors here.