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Posted Wednesday, Mar 25, 2015 

Last week Castilleja was honored to have the Real Vocal String Quartet (RVSQ) do a three-day residency at Castilleja. RVSQ’s surprisingly broad repertoire embraces the diverse influences of all four players, from classical, jazz, and rock, to songs and styles from West Africa, Brazil, and rural America. Yet while four distinct voices can be heard, in seven years of performing together the Quartet has achieved a true group sound.

While on campus the Bay Area quartet collaborated with students in arts classes on a wide variety of tunes and techniques. Students worked on improvisation and composition skills, and learned the key components of being a collaborative chamber musician.

One highlight included a workshop with the Upper School Choir on Regina Spektor's haunting tune Machine, which the group will sing at the upcoming Spring Concert. RVSQ also performed for all the 6th and 7th grade music classes, and worked on musical improv games with the students in smaller groups: the students had to create compositions on the spot, something RVSQ calls a "Now." This was so popular with the Middle Schoolers that they are continuing to create and perform their own "Nows" at the beginning of each class! As a grand finale, RVSQ treated Castilleja to a mini-concert Wednesday afternoon, which met with a standing ovation from students and adults alike.

Stay tuned (pun intended!) for details on the Spring Concert (May 21) and future opportunities to see students showcase what they learned from these master musicians!

Posted Friday, Mar 20, 2015 

Three cheers for Commuting Superstar #3: Vince Dailey, Assistant Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. Vince rides his bike to school and manages traffic around our community! We don't know what we would do without him!

Posted Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 

The Castilleja community welcomed twenty-two Italian students and their chaperones from February 27-March 8. They were here as part of an exchange that has continued for fourteen years. Last year, Castilleja students traveled to Fano, Italy for a week-long home stay; this year, the same students came here and were hosted by their Casti partners. As part of their stay, the Italian students shadowed at Castilleja two days and participated in a history presentation on World War II, enjoyed sitting on the Circle taking in the beautiful weather, and formed a large and noisy fan base for Casti softball games. They also spent a day sightseeing in San Francisco and another day in Monterey visiting the aquarium. The most memorable moments, however, were those spent with the Castilleja girls and their families. Some reflections from the families:

"I have loved having the Fano students here. Oddly, I think it's been even more exciting/beneficial to the younger siblings. Since they didn't go to Fano, everything is new and interesting and they lead lots of dinner-table discussions. Kid questions also remind me of things I would never ask." Heather, Mother of McKenna B. '16

"We loved having our Italian exchange student, Elena. She was delightful and it was fun comparing notes on the differences in our cultures such as what we think of as pizza: 'pineapple on pizza? It is good, but it is not pizza!' But, more important was our commonalities such as the high value of friendship, the camaraderie between the students, and the great excitement at visiting new places and meeting new people. Most of all, we were amazed at how easy it was to have our student here; she really became a part of our family." Najma, Mother of Sara B. '17

"It was so nice to see things through a new set of eyes -- the eyes of our Italian daughters and sons. There were new things for us to discover even in things we thought were familiar, such as the town of Santa Cruz and the university campus that we've known for nearly two decades. And it was just as much fun for me to explore Google's campus for the first time with the group." Raja, Father of Tara T. '16

"We are honored to have shared such a amazing experience with the students. We've made a connection that will last a lifetime. We now have two new members of our family." The Wilkerson Family

~Article written by Signora Richardson

Posted Monday, Mar 16, 2015 

Today at break students were treated to a special performance by Yale's premier a Cappella group, Something Extra. Established in 1977, the all-female group flew across the country to enjoy a spring tour in San Francisco. According to their website, "Something Extra's powerful soloists, polished harmonies, and irresistible charm distinguish it as Yale University's premiere all-women's A Cappella group. Something Extra performs a dynamic repertoire of pop, jazz, indie rock, folk, and spirituals. The group has toured throughout North America, Europe, and the Caribbean, performing at venues from the White House and U.S. embassies to the set of "Jeopardy!" With a 37-year legacy of exciting music and lasting friendships, Something Extra is proud to maintain a tradition of musical excellence, community, and adventure."

Posted Monday, Mar 16, 2015 

Many Casti students enjoy Adam Rex's novel The True Meaning of Smekday, featuring aliens called the "Boov." The movie Home, based on the book, is coming out on March 27th. To get ready, Casti students are creating a "Boovish" dictionary: they are imagining that their names are words in Boovish, and recording the English meanings.

In fact, they are starting to build sentences using their new Boovish vocabulary:

"I grace for joy when you wear your tevah megans with lishans!" (Translation: "I jump for joy when you wear your colorful boots with buttons!")

"Linnea! That kaavya is too charlotte and anika!" (Translation: "Danger, get out of here! That broccoli is too moist and slimy!")

Stay tuned for Boovish coming to a conversation near you!

Posted Monday, Mar 9, 2015 

It would be truly criminal to miss this show! Kat P. '15's extraordinary production of Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart inaugurates The Studio Theater this Friday night! This Pulitzer Prize-winning tragicomedy about love and sisterhood stars Allison Z. '16, Gabby O. '16, Jillian L. '16, Karly Q. '16, Kenzie M. '17, Meg J. '16, Sophie P. '16, Valerie H. '17, and Yasmine R. '17 and runs two hours with one intermission. Get your tickets for the Friday show at 7:30pm and Saturday shows at 2pm and 7:30pm here. See you at the show!

Posted Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015 

Our team of 16 students, participated once again in the Berkeley MUN Conference. Representing Costa Rica and Croatia, delegates spent the weekend debating topics ranging from maritime piracy to peacekeeping to self determination to drones. Casti took home four research awards and are looking forward to the next conference.  Check out the slideshow:

Posted Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015 

Consider yourself invited to Oliver!, the Middle School Musical. Travel back to Dickensian London for the story of a poor workhouse boy and a gang of thieves, complete with robbery, trickery, song, dance, love, and murder! Performances are March 6 and 7 at 7:30pm and March 8 at 2:00pm. Tickets are available here. See you at the show!

Posted Monday, Feb 23, 2015 

By Rosie C. '16

After lugging an electric piano across the Circle and stuffing it into the trunk of a car, Music for the Community members Yael, Kaitlin, Hannah, and Rosie arrived at Stanford Mall. We set up in the Center Pavilion at the doorstep of Tiffany’s and across from Macy’s – quite a lucky location! At this performance, we collected donations for the Music in the Schools Foundation, which provides music education for under-resourced children in East Palo Alto.

We joined forces with Woodside Priory’s music club, so we had two times the musicians and two times the repertoire. The program began with a violin duet, and shifted back and forth between modern and classical pieces (including Frozen, Bruno Mars, and violin/flute duets). It was extremely gratifying to see every and all kinds of faces in the audience: older couples, moms with their children, and girls dancing around until they excitedly ran up and put their donations in our open violin cases. Seeing their smiles made the performance all the more worthwhile.

Since we've been blessed with a great musical education both outside and inside of school, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the community and share our love of music with others who are less fortunate. After a jam-packed hour of singing and playing, we raised $234 for Music in the Schools Foundation!

Posted Friday, Feb 13, 2015 

Many members of the Castilleja community participated in "Blind Date with a Book" last year. This year, the library is sending folks out on more dates -- but with a twist. Each brown bag on the library shelf has two books in it -- a pair of star-crossed lovers that didn't know they were meant to be until our librarians plucked them out of separate spots in the library and put them together.

Supplies are dwindling, so stop in soon to check a book out. The teasers on the bags -- multicolored dots with word clouds and keywords -- also give an idea of which books might be waiting inside. Look for those labeled 9+ or 10+ for Upper School and adult-interest titles.

Also, watch this fantastic video made by Devon M. '16 celebrating the event!

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Student Life
Posted 11/29/2016 12:00PM

Grandparents and Special Friends Day

Before leaving for Thanksgiving Break, the Castilleja Community welcomed grandparents and special friends to visit the school and attend classes with their students. The afternoon reception began with student speeches and performances from both Upper and Middle Schoolers. After greeting their grandfriends on the Circle, students brought them to their next class and were excited to share the Castilleja experience with their guest. Click the photograph or link below to access an album with pictures from the day!* 

*Individual shots of students with grandfriends will be available from Lifetouch at a later date

Posted 11/14/2016 08:00AM

This past weekend, Castilleja Upper School students put on a stellar performance of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods accompanied by a live student musical ensemble. Bravo!


Posted 11/02/2016 08:00AM

Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's renown musical fantasia is a profound examination of Fairy Tales, The Power of Myth, and Mythic Archetypes and is a delight for ages 10 and older. Into the Woods features modern twists on a host of well-loved characters -- from the Witch, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood, to Cinderella, her Prince, and Jack and the Beanstalk. Tickets available here for Fri., Nov. 11th at 7:30, Sat., Nov. 12th at 7:30, or Sun., Nov. 13th at 2pm.

Lawrence Tree by Georgia O'Keefe

Posted 09/27/2016 03:06PM

Visit the photo galleries linked below to see and download all the photos from a week full of spirited festivities! (The password is gators)

Pep Rally and Gator Gathering

(includes JV and Varsity Waterpolo and JV Volleyball)

Spirit Week


Posted 12/02/2016 09:52AM

Seventh Grade Science Battles Lego Robots in the Bourn Lab

After studying about how DNA is a code of biological instructions, students programmed Lego Robots to compete in a challenge for survival in the Bourn Lab. This challenge also builds on their learning experiences related to the summer reading book, "Secret Coders" by Gene Yang. Pairs of 7th graders learned to code and direct a robot through several mini-challenges to learn various techniques, then wrote a final program for battle. The final day of this project groups dueled each other to put their programs to the test.


Posted 11/15/2016 11:34AM

Jolie Kemp '17 was awarded the best delegate award at Stanford Model UN Conference.  Jolie represented Saxby Chambliss (R – Georgia) in the 111th Senate, which was one of the historical committees at the conference.  The best delegate award, as the name implies, is awarded to the delegate whom the chair feels is both an active participant and represents her role with great fidelity throughout the weekend.

Jolie was one of the seven members of the Castilleja Model UN club who participated in the Stanford Model UN Conference.  This conference has a mix of both UN committees, crisis committees, and historical committees.  Our students represented Pakistan in the UN committees dealing with issues such as small arms trade, Syrian refugees, and maritime claims in the South China Sea.  We also had delegates on historical and crisis committees addressing the 111th senate, Alexander the Great’s War Cabinet, and the Philippine Revolution.   

Posted 11/10/2016 08:00AM

The entire 9th grade Core Arts class visited SFMoMA and the San Francisco Opera last Thursday as part of their arts program. Students were involved in docent led tours around the modern art section of the museum before experiencing the wonders of Madam Butterfly.

Posted 11/02/2016 09:12AM

The Class of 2021 had the honor of placing a ceremonial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. A military family in attendance remarked on how moving it was to see our students demonstrate such profound respect. The 8th graders returned Friday from their week of learning in DC.

For more pictures from the weeklong trip, click here!


Posted 10/19/2016 08:00AM
In honor of the International Day of the Girl, GLI ACE Org hosted activities at break to educate the community about issues facing girls globally and raising fund to benefit girls.  The ACE org hosted various activities to bolster awareness and funds to donate.Among other activities, they handed out flyers conveying information about girls' education issues and also gave out lollipops (dubbed by some as 'girls' fortune cookies') that had factoids or quotations about girls such as 
"There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free and educated woman, and there is no more inspiring role model than a man who respects and cherishes women and champions their leadership."- Angelina Jolie

Globally, 16 million girls between the ages of 6 and 11 will never attend school compared to 8 million boys (World Bank).
The club also made hair ties and sold them with a raffle ticket for a chance to win a make-up case.  All funds raised wee contributed to support girls' education around the world. To connect with other GLI events nationally, the club contributed to a #solidaritywithgirls with photos to an instagram feed.  
Posted 10/17/2016 03:00PM

The Castilleja community welcomed Pulitzer Prize winning poet, author, and educator Tracy K. Smith as this year’s Arrillaga Family Speaker. Tracy K. Smith is the author of three award winning books of poetry: The Body’s Question, which received the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, Duende, recipient of the 2006 James Laughlin Award, and Life on Mars, 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner.  Most recently, she wrote the memoir Ordinary Light (The New York Times Book Review): "a quietly potent memoir that explores coming-of-age and the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, faith, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter."

A Princeton professor, Tracy K. Smith didn’t simply recite her work for an audience of Castilleja students, she illustrated the difference between her poetry and prose by sharing different passages about her father, a Hubble Telescope Engineer, a few from from Ordinary Light (written in prose) and others from Life on Mars (written in verse). By doing so, Smith demonstrated what she attempts to accomplish with each of these two related yet distinct writing styles and shared the nuance of storytelling that can be explored. Answering questions from Castilleja students, she was warm, candid, and genuine in her description of her journey as a writer and artist. Describing a time a mentor didn’t believe in her, Smith was honest about the effect the experience had on her. Yet, she also described the necessity for writers and others to cultivate both the critical and confident inner voices, asserting that we need both (at different times in the process) to succeed. After the assembly, girls lined up to meet Tracy, share their appreciation, and ask more of their many questions for her.


Posted 10/05/2016 08:00AM

The ACE Center hosted the annual Noche de Sólo Español to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and our Spanish speaking community within Castilleja. Those who attended the event were treated to a fascinating presentation on the significance of Day of the Dead in Mexico and introduced to local and global partnerships in predominately Spanishspeaking communities. The night started off with a welcome from ACE Center Director, Stacey Kertsman as she introduced the new global partnership Castilleja has with theMariposa Foundation in the Dominican Republic. This evening was a great opportunity to see how Spanish culture permeates all aspects of the Castilleja Community. 

¡Gracias a todos los que organizaron y contribuyeron a este evento inolvidable! Thank you to those who organized and contributed to this unforgettable event!


Click on the photo below to view a gallery of photos from the night!


Posted 09/28/2016 08:00AM

The Green Team hosted a group of Casti volunteers for the California Coastal Cleanup Day at Bedwell Bayfront Park. This annual state-wide event allows anyone to contribute to coastal preservation and data collection. This year, 18,314 people volunteered worldwide to collect 52,493 pounds of trash from our beaches. The Green team enjoyed walking along the beautiful waterfront, knowing that they contributed to the global effort to protect coastal landscapes.


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