Two middle school students model resiliency and use creativity to show caring to others

The Seagull Sisters

By: Mary Brooks - Middle School Teacher


Ellie O'Brien and Payton Cotterman met in 6th grade at Palmyra-Macedon Middle School. Both students are active members in theater and music programs as well as strong students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) education program. Within IB, students are not just taught academics but include work and practice within IB traits which will help them be successful in life. Ellis and Payton model for everyone the IB traits of perseverance, resilience, and caring.


This is their story. In April 2020, at the start of the pandemic, like so many, Ellie was feeling lonely and sad to be separated from her best friend Payton. Instead of concentrating on what she could not do, she used her feelings and allowed them to inspire her to create. She wrote a song titled “After the Rain.” She put all of her feelings and frustration into the lyrics and the music she composed. 


Ellie's intention in writing the song was to bring hope to everyone. No matter how hard things get we will "See it through," and that after the rain, "the sun will shine soon." 


When the girls could be together again, they began practicing the song together with Ellie on guitar and Payton singing. They began calling themselves “The Seagull Sisters” because they had first met as they played seagulls in the middle school production of “The Little Mermaid.”


The two looked for a way to record their song to share with others. The Seagull Sisters were lucky enough to be able to join forces with Elvio Fernandes of the band Daughtry; he recorded, produced, and played keyboards for them. 


Ellie proved through her caring, resiliency, and perseverance that creativity can help change the world. 


Seagull Sisters are available on most streaming services including Spotify, iTunes,  YouTube, Tik Tok under "sounds" and Amazon Music. The song can be found by searching After The Rain, Seagull Sisters.


The girls want to share their song with others, to let everyone know that they aren't alone during these tumultuous times. 

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