Ella Čolić


With the Balkans being a small tourist destination, not many people know of its rich yet tumultuous history. The traumas of the Bosnian War (1991-1995) can be seen surfacing through many personal stories, including the war letters written by my father, Denis Čolić, and my aunt, Amela Modrić.

Only being fifteen and eleven years old at the time, Trees Without Roots provides a deeper insight of their refugee journey, as well as an overall narrative of other refugees coming from a dual-religious background. As this trauma transcends through generations, these letters give a glimpse into the reality of war, torn families, and the struggle for survival.


& other inspirations

Ella Čolić is a Notre Dame San Jose High School alumni (Class of 2020) and a current student at Occidental College. Although her literary credentials are not extensive, her young age and interest provides a new outlook into the historical world of her family and culture. Her curiosity for the past and a strive for a better future is what pushes her to be an upstander. Inspired by her Justice Immersion trip to Tanzania and living with the Maasai community as well as other forms of social justice activism, Ella plans to pursue a career into reconstructive surgery, focusing on the humanitarian aspect of the medical field.

I am half Muslim and half Orthodox, but I am much more than that. After spending almost 2 years familiarizing myself with my past, I have finally realized that I am no longer a tree without roots.”