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Posted Tuesday, Sep 8, 2015 

Saima Hasan ’04 has been featured in Harvard Magazine for her work developing a supplementary training program for secondary-school girls in India. With Roshni Acadamy, Saima has set out to better prepare young women for jobs or higher education and she has seen measured success. Despite setbacks and challenges, Saima has forged key partnerships and adapted her business so that she can continue to effect positive change in this region. At Castilleja, Saima served as Student Body President and is remembered as an emerging community organizer always dedicated to ensuring that students felt ownership over their school experience. Read more about Saima and Roshni Academy at Harvard Magazine.

Saima's story has been picked up by additional outlets. Watch a great video about Saima and Roshni here on TimesNow. 

 

Posted Friday, Aug 28, 2015 
Meet Julia Odelowo, our new Director of Alumnae Engagement. She's already been very busy meeting as many Alumnae and students as possible--maybe you saw her hosting a delicious breakfast reception up on the balcony during Tie Ceremony--Or maybe you've received an invitation in the mail for Reunion Weekend 2015 (September 25th and 26th.) Regardless, there may be a few things you don't yet know about our new champion of all things Casti-Alumna...





 

 

 

 

1. Julia is a fourth generation educator - her great grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Sonoma County.

2. Her first "real" job was making cotton candy at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in her hometown.
3. Her dog, Scout, is named for one of her favorite novels, To Kill A Mockingbird.

4. Julia spent a year working at a school in rural Tanzania.
5. She has visited 49/50 states...and looks forward to hosting Castilleja alumnae gatherings in several this year!  Stay tuned for dates and locations.
Posted Monday, Jun 8, 2015 

Sixty-two young women in white dresses filed into a large white tent in the middle of Castilleja School's central lawn. A small orchestra gently played "Pomp and Circumstance" as each member of the Class of 2015 entered clutching a bouquet of red roses. A stack of red diplomas awaited them on the stage. So began Castilleja School's 108th commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 6.

Friends and family listened as speakers reflected on the education and values Castilleja, an all-girls private school serving grades 6-12, imparted on the graduates.

"With the support of teachers who taught us not what to think but how to think we've learned to observe the world with a critical eye and to question the things that may seem obvious," class valedictorian Jolena Ma said. "The Class of 2015 has formed an incredible and unbreakable bond. An all-encompassing unity and sense of inclusivity."

Friendship was the theme of the day. Keynote speaker Dr. Pam Silver, who graduated from Castilleja in 1970 and is now a professor of biochemistry and systems biology at Harvard Medical School, reflected on what her high school experience meant.

"It was also about friends for life. I'm sure that all of you can point to at least one person that you will remain friends with forever," Silver said in a lighthearted, often humorous speech.

She encouraged the graduates to engage with science as college students. She brought along two examples of her work, a "bionic leaf" that looked more like a glass jar, and a large block of what she described as "cheese."

"It does not look like a leaf but this jar is capable of taking sunlight and like a leaf using it to split water and make hydrogen. The hydrogen is then used by organisms which we've engineered that live in the jar and can make fuel, drugs, or food. This is cheap and has potential for use anywhere in the world and even outer space," she said to impressed murmurs.

The "cheese" served more as a punchline. "One of my graduate students teamed up with a smell artist to make cheese from different parts of their body. So they made toenail cheese, armpit cheese, hair cheese, you get the idea. And they all smell distinct. I can still remember the lovely smell of Christina's big toe cheese."

Silver offered straightforward advice to the graduates.

"When you arrive at a college, everyone seems like a genius. But that's how you seem to them as well. Do not be intimidated, you are all geniuses in your own way. Take risks. I know everyone tells you that, but when I look back at my own success it's because of the risks I took and when I look at the disappointments it's because of the risks I didn't take," she said.

"Don't be too careerist, you won't enjoy yourselves too much and it's only college for heaven's sake. And don't follow the herd. As we often say the beauty of university life is that there really are no rules. You make the rules. And most of all, the world is your oyster. Go invent the future."

Graduates Megan Colford and Chloe Sales were selected by faculty for the Castilleja Award, which goes to the student or students who best exemplify the quality of the "Five Cs" (conscience, courtesy, character, courage and charity).

Colford described her classmates as fearless, though now they all face a new and terrifying challenge of taking full control of their lives.

"Our fearlessness does not just come from our classmates, but from our parents who always reminded us to get back up when we're down and to never ever give up," she said. "I don't view this award as a nod to my own personal achievements and abilities, but rather to the environment and family that we as a class created that has allowed all of us to thrive."

"(Castilleja is a place) where everyone is kind and caring and big-hearted," reflected Sales. "That is family. Familiar and warm. And this is what being at Castilleja feels like. It feels like coming home. What matters is that we remember each other. Though my classmates will disperse far and wide we'll remember our roots as we move on."

Head of Castilleja School Nanci Kaufmann, who was a member of the Class of 1974, recounted her reunion with some of her classmates when she turned 50, and urged the students to maintain their connections with their classmates.

"Friendships help us to live better lives. Today you graduate from Castilleja with so many gifts and all of them will matter in the future. But the greatest gift of all is the one I almost forgot to cherish for myself. So don't wait until your 50th birthday to reunite with your Castilleja connections. Grab hold of each other and don't let go," she said.

After the graduates filed out of the tent, with red roses and diplomas in hand, they gathered with family and friends.

"It's been amazing," said graduate Wings Yeung, who was surrounded by her family beaming with pride. "I think I've really learned how to work in a group and form a community, make friends and keep them."

Yeung is going to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she hopes to study electrical engineering and computer science.

Margaret Lane, Megan Colford's mother and a teacher at Castilleja, had the great privilege to witness her daughter and her classmates grow up.

"Teaching her class was a dream. They're one of the brightest and most motivated classes I've had," she said. "I've really seen them grow up. But I have to say that one of the things I've been so grateful for is that my fellow parents have been very supportive. As a group the parents of this class have been very respectful of the teachers and supportive and critical when they needed to be. It's been a really great group of people."

--By Joshua Alvarez, Palo Alto Weekly
Originally Published June 7, 2015

Posted Wednesday, Jun 3, 2015 

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon the Class of 2015 gathered at the Lockey Alumnae House for a lunch to celebrate their induction as Castilleja alumnae. Recognizing that graduation on Saturday isn't "goodbye," but rather the beginning of another phase of their relationship with the school, girls shared contact information and promised to keep in touch. Many members of the Class of 2014 returned to campus to welcome their friends to the alumnae community. In addition, four Castilleja employees were inducted as "honorary alums" to celebrate their decade of service to the school: Shannon De La Cruz (Office/Purchasing Manager), Shana Nistler (Spanish Faculty), Maggie Ely Pringle '71 (Alumnae Relations), and Jon Rockman (Science Faculty). Congratulations, everyone, and welcome to the alumnae community!

Posted Thursday, May 21, 2015 

On Founder's Day alumna Pamela Hawley '87 came to campus for an inspiring keynote about her personal journey to the nonprofit sector and her current work as founder and CEO of UniversalGiving, a social entrepreneurship nonprofit organization whose vision is to "create a world where giving and volunteering is a natural part of everyday life."

Pamela's community service began at the age of 12, and has extended into the international realm. She has worked and volunteered in microfinance in remote villages of India, crisis relief for the El Salvador earthquake, digital divide training in the Killing Fields of Cambodia, and sustainable farming in the countryside of Guatemala.

While on campus she spoke about how her Castilleja education and transformative experiences abroad helped her find her passion for a life of service. She also gave listeners a window into her current work with UniversalGiving (an award-winning, web-based nonprofit allowing people to give and volunteer with the top-performing projects and volunteer opportunities across the world) and how her time around the Circle prepared her to thrive.

Wish you'd been at the talk? Watch the video recording here!

Posted Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015 
In recent years, Castilleja's Commencement speakers have included:
  • Carol Bogart -- Human Rights Activist
  • Carol Jenkins -- Television Newscaster
  • Mona Simpson -- Author
  • Emily White '96 -- Tech Executive and an Alum

This year, Castilleja is pleased to announce that once again it will host an alum -- this time from the world of science. Pam Silver '80 is one of the founders of the Systems Biology Lab at Harvard Medical School, and is the lab's first Director. She is building cell-based machines, designing novel therapeutics, and reengineering photosynthetic bacteria to produce hydrogen and other fuels. Among Pam's most recent innovations is an artificial extracellular matrix that could become a highly effective and safe tool for regenerating bone, muscle, and other tissues. Kriti L. '15 assisted with the research in Pam's lab this past summer.

We look forward to Pam's insights as an alum and as a scientist -- she is eager to share her wisdom with our graduating seniors!

Posted Friday, Mar 13, 2015 

On Wednesday, March 11, Castilleja alumna Elizabeth Yin spoke to members of the Technovation Challenge teams. Elizabeth graduated from Castilleja in 2000, where she was an early advocate of and aficionada for technology: she participated in Gatorbotics, developed websites, and determined—with her Casti best friend—someday to develop their own company. She majored in Electrical Engineering in college, worked in the tech field in Japan, earned an MBA, worked for Google, and then reunited with Jennifer Hsieh '00 to found LaunchBit, which they just sold. While on campus Elizabeth advised the students on how to formulate a “pitch” that would elicit financial interest and support from investors, and she spoke candidly about some of the challenges she faced as a young woman in the male-dominated tech field.

Posted Monday, Dec 1, 2014 

In late November, Rachel Skokowski '11 was named as a 2015 Rhodes Scholar. As a student at Castilleja she epitomized our motto “Women Learning, Women Leading” and has continued her outstanding achievements in education and leadership since graduating.

Currently a senior at Princeton University majoring in French, she has a deep commitment to making the arts more relevant and accessible in the modern world. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, she has a superb academic record across the humanities and a commitment to forge strong connections between art museums and local communities, especially to expose underprivileged children to museums and to the beauty of art. She has curated or interned at the Morgan Library and Museum, the Princeton Art Museum and for the Santa Fe Arts Commission, and is a Behrman Undergraduate Fellow. She is also a three-season varsity cross country and varsity track athlete. Her career aspirations are to push the boundaries of art curation. Rachel will do the European Enlightenment Programme within the M.Phil. in Modern Languages at Oxford.  

For more abotu Rachel visit:

http://www.goprincetontigers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=46923&SPID=4279&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=209780440&DB_OEM_ID=10600

http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S41/68/52C70/index.xml?section=topstories

http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2014/11/24/palo-alto-stanford-students-named-rhodes-scholars

We look forward to seeing the impact she will continue to have on the world!

Posted Friday, Aug 15, 2014 

Campus has been a hub of activity all summer with two sessions of summer campers coming to Castilleja each day for singing, playing, and swimming. Laughter emanated from around the Circle as girls enjoyed sunshine and a sense of camaraderie. Whether the girls were experimenting with arts and crafts, playing hide-and-seek, or staging a carwash by Good Court, their energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Several of the counselors were Casti alumnae or long-time campers who are now on staff, leading the cheerful songs, fun classes, and big smiles. To celebrate their final day, families were invited to watch skits, see artwork, and celebrate the fun and learning that went on all summer. See you next year!

Posted Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 

On Saturday, August 16, at 7:30pm Casti alumna Sophie Delphis '06 will sing Poulenc's La Voix Humaine in San Francisco (Old First Presbyterian Church, 1751 Sacramento Street). This forty-minute, one-act opera was composed by Francis Poulenc in 1958 for a soprano and orchestra; the theme centers around a jilted woman's last phone conversation with her former lover, and is not to be missed! Tickets are $25, sold only at the door.

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Student Life
Posted 02/21/2017 08:00AM

Simone Seiver ’13, currently a senior at Yale University, has been named a Gates-Cambridge Scholar for 2017. 

Simone is among the 36 U.S. citizens who have been selected to be part of the 2017 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University of Cambridge.

These 36 individuals from 34 universities will join 54 scholars from other parts of the world who will be announced in early April. The prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship program was established in 2000 by a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge, the largest ever single donation to a university in the United Kingdom. Scholars are chosen for their outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential, and commitment to improving the lives of others, among other qualities.

Congratulations, Simone!

Read more here at Yale's news website 

 

Posted 02/15/2017 10:35AM

Castilleja's Mock Trial team, now in its second year, is seeded third entering this week's quarterfinals of the Santa Clara County Mock Trial Competition. Twenty-four teams entered the competition, and Castilleja finished the first four rounds as the 3-1 team with the highest winning percentage.  The prosecution will be back in action Thursday evening, looking for a conviction on two criminal counts: human trafficking and false imprisonment.  Senior co-captains Cate A. and Valerie H. founded the club with faculty advisor-attorney coach Ann Wagenhals.  Outside attorney coaches are Michelle Melen '01 and Rachel Thomas.


Update!: Mock Trial will be advancing to the county semifinals, competing over winter break.


Posted 02/01/2017 12:04PM

 

Today Castilleja celebrated an amazing group of student-athletes who will take their athletic talent to the collegiate level! Four student-athletes were celebrated today, and one (Natalie Tuck) signed early on November 9th. Amanda McMaster signed an official national letter of intent to compete at the Division I level, while Elizabeth, Elle, and Claire will compete at Division III universities next year. Check out all of their success at Castilleja below:

Amanda McMaster - Soccer - Rice University

2014-2015 - WBAL Co-MVP 

2015-2016 - 1st Team All-League

Position: Goalie, #1

 

      

 

Elizabeth Pang - Softball - Occidental College

2016 - Softball Sportsmanship Award

Played Tennis, Water Polo, and Basketball for Castilleja

Position: 1st base, #13

 

      

Elle Kass - Volleyball - Connecticut College

2015 - 1st Team All-League

2016 - 1st Team All-League

Position: Libero, #11

 

   

 

Claire Traum - Track and Field - Bowdoin College

2015 - Honorable Mention XC, 2nd Team All-League Track

2016 - 1st Team All-League Track, 1st Team All-League XC, State Individual Qualifier

Competes in the 400m, 800m, and Long Jump

 

   

GO GATORS!! For more photos of the event, click here. password: gators


Posted 01/30/2017 04:28PM

This past Friday, Castilleja students had the opportunity to work with professional musician Victoria Theodore. Victoria is an accomplished pianist, vocalist, songwriter, performer, and producer who has toured with Stevie Wonder and Beyoncé. In her workshop with Upper School choir, she performed and broke down songs for students, invited courageous participation, and offered sage advice that will serve students in and out of the music industry.

For pictures of Victoria workshopping with US Choir, click here. password: gators

Academics
Posted 02/17/2017 02:30PM

In 6th grade history class, students are in the midst of a immersive current events unit. After learning how to spot and evaluate fake news, Dr. Docter's classes participated in a fun challenge. To test their skills, 6th graders created content about the ancient world by reviewing their textbooks and writing "two truths and a lie". Afterwards, in a game format students had the opportunity to challenge classmates and put both their ancient history mettle and fake-news spotting skills to the test! 


Pictured, Ella H. '23 reads Junior Scholastic news magazine as part of the current events unit. 

Posted 02/10/2017 05:28PM

The 8th graders have been working on their National History Day projects since December. Each student or group picked a topic relating to the theme Stand Up in History and since then conducted research and created documentaries, papers, websites, exhibits, and even one performance. This week, on February 7th, they celebrated their amazing work and explored American History through the wide variety of projects. 

Students took presentation posters to the next level with careful attention to detail that brought history to life.

 

On National History Day, the Middle School Lobby was transformed into a museum of activism and courageous social movements throughout history.

 

Students had the opportunity to share their projects with Head of School, Nanci Kauffman. Ms. Kauffman didn't disappoint and had excellent questions and comments for the presenters.

Ms. Pang's classroom was transformed into a mini documentary film festival screening for student projects.

Here, two students deliver an excellent performance detailing the storied and turbulent history of LGBT rights in our country from Harvey Milk to Ellen Degeneres' receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom...and beyond.

Posted 02/06/2017 12:14PM

This weekend, Castilleja Middle School students participated in the MathCounts competition with 33 other schools at Google headquarters in Mountain View.  Congratulations to our MathCounts team!

Posted 01/10/2017 03:26PM

Last Friday we had even more to celebrate after the end of a successful Global Week. For a very special edition of Maker Fridays, Head of Middle School Anne CameronHA had the honor of cutting the ribbon for our new Middle School Tinkering Nook.

The creation of this new maker space on campus was made possible by a generous donation by Carol and John Giannandrea. Ms. Cameron wielded the giant ceremonial scissors, but the creation of the Nook was the result of hard work and vision from many employees around the Circle.

Mike Cummings, the Bourn Lab's Resident Engineer, led the efforts to put the Nook together with major support from Dan Chapman and everyone in maintenance, Ken Ochi, and folks from our Tech department. HUGE thanks to this team, who worked tirelessly for the weeks before winter break to put everything in place. Special thanks are also due to Angi Chau, Josée BandHA, Anne CameronHA, and Diego Fonstad for their support and close involvement in the process.  Emily Clark will be the main after-school instructor for the Nook and has been hard at work on developing projects and activities. 

Q&A with Angi Chau, Director of Bourn Idea Lab

What is it?

The Middle School Tinkering Nook is sort of a "mini Bourn Lab" stationed in the middle school, so that middle school students have even easier access to tinkering opportunities.

What kind of equipment does it feature?

Right now, we have two 3D printers—different models from the ones in the Bourn Lab because we are always looking to learn new things! There will also be a large set of littleBits for lots of fun tinkering activities with electronics. We are hoping to find out from our middle school students what they want to do in the Nook, so they can help us figure out what to stock there!

When can I use the Nook?!

 This week, the Nook will be open on Tuesday after school (3:15pm-4:30pm) as another "soft opening" for the space. Then moving forwards, it will be open two days a week after school—either Tues/Thurs or Wed/Thurs. We will send an email to announce the days once they are confirmed. 

 Since it's in the middle school, teachers will also be able to more easily integrate tinkering and making into their classes so you might see the Nook open during the school day too! 

Maker Fridays will continue to be held in the main Bourn Lab on Fridays (and Ms. Clark will be there for that too!). But there may be special occasions when we decide to move Maker Fridays to the Nook, so look out for that!

 

 

 

Posted 02/13/2017 11:28AM

Bravo to our student performers who delivered three energetic and touching performances this weekend for Arts with a Heart 2017. This year's theme was Head, Heart, Humanity: Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness and the show (produced in partnership with ArtLifting) benefitted the CHC (Children's Health Council of Palo Alto).

Nicole O. '17 is a member of the Advanced Dance Production Workshop class and a senior executive producer for Arts with a Heart. "I am so grateful to have been a part of Arts with a Heart these past six years—first a performer and now a producer. I have learned countless skills, from costuming to teaching effective leadership skills, that I know will help me even beyond our production." she shares. "Every year we support an incredible cause, and this year's theme of erasing the stigma of mental health is a particularly important issue in our immediate community, the Palo Alto community and beyond. We're dedicated to erasing the stigma of mental health, and we hope we can use the power of art to change lives," Nicole continued.

Visual and Performing Arts faculty member and Arts with a Heart Director Georgianna Shea reflects "Nothing makes me feel more confident about the future than seeing 120 young women work selflessly for such an important reason. Through their efforts, these students are helping to a erase the stigma of mental illness in the Castilleja community, the Palo Alto community and the Global community."

Posted 01/09/2017 08:00AM

Our Global Investigators will be back on Castilleja's campus Wednesday after a week-plus of learning and leading in India, China, and the Dominican Republic. Here are some photo highlights from their experiences.

 

Global Investigator Trips 2017/ Dominican Republic

A day of cooking and partnership building with The Mariposa DR Foundation.


Photo by Mark Tuschman

Exploring the Dominican Republic's natural beauty.
Global Investigator Trips 2017/ China
Leading a fun arts and crafts lesson with schoolchildren.
Snapshot from a day of learning about biofuels and enjoying a delicious meal cooked with biogas.
Global Investigator Trips 2017/ India

Meeting and getting to know our Roshni partners.
Exploring New Dehli
Posted 01/06/2017 06:10PM

Global Week 2017: Migration ended with a grand finale today. The morning began with an engaging discussion with Human Rights Watch deputy program director, Tom Porteous, and European Union Ambassador in Mexico, Andrew Standley. Throughout the late morning and early afternoon students completed and presented their various grade level projects. The whole community gathered in the afternoon to share their projects and join in inspired celebration with At the Table with Dr. King.


For more photos, visit our Facebook Page!

Posted 01/05/2017 12:05PM

"The toughest border is the one between our heads, our hearts, and our hands"- Rev. Deborah Lee at Castilleja's "Migration Beyond the Law" Global Week panel discussion.

This morning's panel was moderated by Cécile Shea and also included the voices of Victoria Tinoco, Mamy Najurama and RefugePoint's Sasha Chanoff.

Reverend Deborah Lee is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ who has worked at the intersection of faith and social justice for over 25 years. With his humanitarian organization RefugePoint, Sasha Chanoff finds lasting solutions for the world's most at risk refugees. Mamy Najurama works as a Behavioral Health Technician and escaped the Democratic Republic of Congo with her mother and six younger siblings with the help of Sasha Chanoff and Sheikha Ali. Victoria Tinoco is an Immigration Paralegal whose passion to help the undocumented community stems from her family's own journey. The panel was moderated by Cécile Shea, a former U.S. diplomat and current non-resident senior fellow in security and diplomacy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Upcoming Events
    • Friday - March 3, 2017 CAIE Pride Dance 8:00 PM to 10:00 PMDining Room, Loc: Dining Room, Please park with care
    • Saturday - March 11, 2017 SAT 7:30 AM to 1:30 PMOff Campus

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