Sisters Ellie and Savannah have just finished their freshman year of college at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU) and now proudly go by the description of sophomores. Completing the first year of college is an accomplishment for every college student. For Ellie and Savannah, their first year was a first for MVNU as well. The Perry sisters attended their freshman year with their provider, something no MVNU student has ever done before.
Ellie, Savannah, and their brother Will are triplets. When the time came to choose a college, the family searched for a school that would fit all three of their interests and needs. Before applying to MVNU, the family met with the Office of Student Success to talk about the accommodations Ellie and Savannah would need at school. “The college was very accommodating. They coordinated the classes Ellie and Savannah had in common so that they could share their provider when possible,” explained their mom, Michelle.
Once they determined MVNU was going to be a good fit for all three, the next step was managing the tuition. “We didn’t think it would be possible to send three children to MVNU,” said Michelle. Through a combination of academic and community scholarships, 82% of Savannah and Ellie’s tuition was covered. The scholarships lifted the final barrier for the Perry family allowing all three to attend MVNU.
Both Savannah and Ellie were happy to report it was a successful freshman year. Savannah achieved the Dean’s list both semesters and Ellie was published in the spring edition of the MVNU Literary Journal. Savannah is majoring in psychology and Ellie is majoring in English. We asked them both what surprised them about their first year of college. Ellie shared, “I was nervous to meet new people and I was surprised how quickly I made good friends.” Savannah shared, “People have been really nice. I wasn’t sure what it’d be like.”
While Ellie and Savannah are enjoying some time off school, they’ve signed up to take a few classes over the summer. In the fall, Ellie has applied for a job in the writing lab to help other students with academic writing. Both Savannah and Ellie are taking their commitment to school seriously.
When they graduate college, Savannah hopes to be a counselor for children and teens at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. As for Ellie, she would love to be a published writer. But, if that does not work out, she plans to manage a company’s social media account. There’s no doubt that these girls are going places!
Advice to Future Students
We asked Ellie what advice she would give to a high school student who wants to go to college. She said, “Work hard, get good grades, and apply for scholarships. It’s not just about your ACT score.”
Similarly, we asked Savannah what advice she would give to a student with a disability who would like to attend college. She said, “Show people what you can do. Don’t be discouraged by your limitations.”
What do you wish people knew about you?
Ellie shared that she wished people understood more about Asperger Syndrome. “People make assumptions that it’s like Autism. If people understood Aspergers better, people would understand why I act the way I do,” Ellie explained.
“I wish people would realize she’s [Savannah] not stupid,” Ellie shared. “People in the mall will talk to her like she’s a little kid. She’s fully capable!” Savannah agreed with Ellie wishing that more people understood just how capable she really is.
What is your favorite thing about your sister?
Savannah smiled and said, “She makes me laugh a lot. Some of the things she says are just so funny.” The girls looked at each other and giggled. Their connection and friendship is undeniable. Ellie shared, “I like that she doesn’t let her disability get her down. I admire how smart she is. She makes me laugh too.”
How has the County Board supported your family?
“Receiving support from the Board has helped our children not just survive but thrive. I truly believe it has allowed them to get where they are,” explained Michelle.