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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 05/11/2017 04:04PM

This April, members of CAIE (Community Alliance for Identity and Expression) enjoyed part of their Spring Break with a field trip to San Francisco. They visited the GLBT History Museum, explored the rainbow-covered neighborhood of Castro Street, learned more about Harvey Milk, and even got the chance to venture into his old camera shop, which is now a Human Rights Campaign store.

Watch this video to get a glimpse of their day, and don’t forget to celebrate Harvey Milk Day this May 22! Posters of historical LGBT figures will be displayed around campus, and milkshakes will be sold:)

 


Posted 05/08/2017 12:00PM
Castilleja's film program with Mr. Mead had great representation at film festivals this spring! Several students entered contests with documentary projects that ranged in topic from the impact of pollution to Castilleja's partnership with Kisaruni School in Kenya. Both Grace F. '17 and Emelia A. '19 were nominated as finalists in the festivals they entered. 
Lauren T. '19, who entered the Girls Impact the World Film Festival, shares the following reflection:

"It was a super cool experience to be able to be immersed in the process of interviewing and piecing together footage in a documentary format. My favorite part was probably getting the opportunity to meet so many new people and hear their stories during the interviewing process. I feel like I was able to learn about some of the nuances of interviewing that are only possible to learn when you are given the freedom to experiment and do it yourself. I have a new respect for documentarians who are able to piece together a story that is completely dictated by the raw interviews and footage of the world around them."
Congratulations to all of our amazing Casti filmmakers! If you made a film and weren't featured here, let us know a little bit about your film and the contest that you entered so you can be added to the list!












Clear the Air Film Festival

Emelia A. '19 was nominated as a finalist in the Clear the Air Film Festival for her film on trash pollution and it's effect on our beaches and wildlife. Emelia is currently in Film 2. 



Girls Impact the World Film Festival

Grace F. '17 (pictured) was one of three finalists in the "Let Girls Learn" category in the Girls Impact the World Film Festival for her documentary called "The Kisaruni Learners." Grace was originally introduced to the Film Festival by Mr. Mead through his Film Class. 
Lauren T. '19 also submitted a film to the Girls Impact the World film festival. Her film about how women view menstruation was a contestant in the honest beauty category. Lauren is currently in Film 2.

Sacred Heart Film Festival
Emi Sears '19 submitted a non-narrative film on the effects of pollution on seabirds to the Sacred Heart Film Festival. Emi is currently in Film 2.

Posted 05/01/2017 03:00PM

On Friday we celebrated Founder's Day and jumped into our end of year celebration season. The senior class quilt and ovals were revealed as students shared their reflections in three resonating senior speeches that were led by some excellent eighth grade introductions! For more photos from the day, click here.

 

Posted 03/20/2017 05:25PM
Gatorbotics had a very exciting few days at the San Francisco Regional this weekend! 
Team Captain Katherine G. '17 provides the following recap: 

"We went to two practice matches on Friday and struggled with communications issues (our drivers kept losing connection with our robot). These struggles continued through our first three matches on Saturday. Basically, if we bumped into anything or accelerated, we would lose communication. It turned out (after hours of frustrating troubleshooting) to be a loose nut on the main breaker--Whoops!

After that fix, we crushed it every match. We also had a particularly successful climber (we were definitely one of the fastest climbers at the event). Big shout-out to the drive team for some really epic matches! We ended up being one of the best gear-delivery robots out there. Sunday morning we had our last three matches which were generally similar in quality.

Heading into the elimination matches, we were a first-round pick by the fifth alliance captain! We won our first quarterfinal match with three rotors and three climbs but lost the next two matches after some bad luck with penalties on both robots and pilots. Overall it was a really successful competition! 

Being a first-round pick is huge for us (I’m not sure when it last happened). I think it’s safe to say that Airagon is one of the best robots this team has built after we demonstrated such consistent quality in matches (which is a result of great driving and great design)!"

Next week, Gatorbotics head's to the Sacramento Regional. Check out more pictures and follow the team throughout the Spring competition circuit on their Facebook page.
Academics
Posted 05/18/2017 08:00AM

Beloved retired Castilleja teacher Peggy McKee was a guest lecturer in 6th grade History this week. Mrs. McKee was Dr. Docter 's history teacher when she was a student at Castileja. Dr. Docter invited Mrs. McKee to speak with the 6th grade history classes about African art. Here, some period 3 students pose with a Chiwara headcrest mask which was worn during an agricultural celebration. The students learned how African art was often experiential and symbolic. Mrs. McKee's guest lecture provided a window into ancient West African cultures and their values.

 

Posted 05/17/2017 12:03PM

Congratulations to Castilleja's Technovation Challenge Team, CastiGators, for winning the South Bay Regional Pitch Event for their iPhone app “Ripple”, which provides under-resourced young women around the world with a virtual platform to crowd-fund their educational pursuits. Team members Riya B. '18, Kaitlin Rhee '18, Kempton McCarty '20, Elizabeth Ledwith '20, and Moorea Mitchell '20 competed against eight other teams at Apple headquarters in Cupertino on May 7. As semifinalists, the CastiGators now advance to the finals round for a chance to attend the World Pitch Event in August.

Technovation is an all-girls entrepreneurship and technology competition where participants create mobile applications that solve real-world problems. Along with an app, participants submit a demonstration video of the app, a four-minute pitch video, and an extensive business plan. Riya served as club lead and principal iOS software developer, Kempton and Elizabeth created the business plan, and Moorea and Kaitlin created the pitch video.

CastiGators created Ripple because they believe that when young women are educated, they make a positive impact in their own community, as well as the world around them. Hence Ripple’s slogan: The Ripple Effect of Girl’s Education.

Please check out their Technovation app page, as well as their pitch video!

_______

Update!: 

Our Castilleja Middle Schoolers also excelled at the competition! 7th graders, Ashni, Christina, and Talula (Team ACT) won Regional Grand Prize in South Bay Junior Division at Technovation 2017 for their development of the mobile application "Go Girl." They have worked together for several months and will move on to Semi-finals this summer. Congratulations!


 

Posted 05/16/2017 01:00PM

Castilleja had 29 students compete in the State Finals of National History Day in Rocklin with a total of 20 projects (5 from the Upper School, 15 from the 8th grade). Eight of those students made the finals round. Out of that group we have one state champion project! Divya and Saayili’s website Woodward and Bernstein: The Watergate Scandal, Taking a Stand for the Truth Through Investigative Journalism won in the Junior Group Website category and advances to the National Competition in College Park Maryland in June.

Congratulations Castilleja Historians!

 

Posted 04/05/2017 12:35PM

On Monday, April 3rd, the Middle School science classes kicked off preparations for Explo 2017 with a field trip to the Monterey Bay. This field trip combined a variety of components, enabling the students to engage with a variety of scientific experiences.  Students participated in a beach clean-up, worked with specific grade level content in a related application to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and collected a wide variety of data about the ocean and its surroundings.  In these intergrade groups, they tested water, sand, and air for many variables, including but not limited to pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and salinity. The combination of hands-on activities helped them to practice the skills they have learned in class.  This also enabled them to explore and understand the connections between many features of the ecosystem while allowing them to practice techniques and develop ideas for their own upcoming Explo projects. All in all, a very fun trip!

To see more photos from the trip, click here.

 

Posted 05/25/2017 03:37PM

The ACE Center has carefully selected books for your summer reading on the theme of Equity in Education. Here's a list of books with an emphasis on code switching essentially between one's home life and one's school life. 

 

 

Posted 05/11/2017 04:04PM

This April, members of CAIE (Community Alliance for Identity and Expression) enjoyed part of their Spring Break with a field trip to San Francisco. They visited the GLBT History Museum, explored the rainbow-covered neighborhood of Castro Street, learned more about Harvey Milk, and even got the chance to venture into his old camera shop, which is now a Human Rights Campaign store.

Watch this video to get a glimpse of their day, and don’t forget to celebrate Harvey Milk Day this May 22! Posters of historical LGBT figures will be displayed around campus, and milkshakes will be sold:)

 


Posted 03/23/2017 04:52PM
Recently, Castilleja's Bon Appétit ACE Org met with Dr. Maya Adam. Bon Appétit's mission is to teach second graders at Brentwood Academy in East Palo Alto about the health benefits and the fun behind home-cooking. Each time the Castilleja students visit Brentwood, they prepare three different snacks with the second graders. 
Dr. Adam, MD, has been teaching at Stanford since 2009. She received her BA in Human Biology from Stanford prior to studying medicine at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. At the Stanford School of Medicine, Adam teaches courses on child health and nutrition and creates online educational content for Stanford's Re-imagining Medical Education Project. In 2013, Adam created the free, open online course Stanford Child Nutrition and Cooking, a public health education outreach effort that has reached more than 230,000 students from around the world. In 2016, she launched a second open online course called Stanford Introduction to Food and Health. She is also the founder of a non-profit organization called Just Cook for Kids and the author of Food Love Family: A Practical Guide to Child Nutrition. 
Dr. Adam talked to Castilleja students about the health benefits of home-cooking, the power of eating in moderation, and tips on how to navigate eating in a society where processed food is becoming ever more available and fad diets are the rage. Finally, Dr. Adam did a cooking demo and made a delicious stir fry! We all look forward to taking her advice to the second graders and back to our families! 
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."

Upcoming Events
    • Saturday - June 10, 2017 ACT 7:30 AM to 1:30 PMOff Campus

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