Activities & Organizations

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Castilleja students have dozens of clubs and co-curricular opportunities to choose from. Through these student organizations, girls learn, engage, have fun, and develop hands-on leadership skills.

Many students have started organizations that engage their peers in community action and raise global awareness. Students also lead academic and arts clubs that travel to compete or perform.

Castilleja’s unique schedule has a FLEX period during the regular school day designated for these student-initiated learning and leading opportunities.

The list below is a sampling of some of these organizations. Student Activities & Organizations are truly student-led and student-focused, so naturally opportunities change year-to-year with interest.

Student-Led Organizations: ACE Orgs 2019-2020

Aarti Home

The Aarti for Girls ACE Org explores women’s education and empowerment around the world and builds connections with women who have different cultural experiences than our own. This mission will be accomplished through creating relationships with girls from the Aarti School and Village in Kadapa, India, and facilitating open discussions about women around the world.

Ada's Cafe

Ada's Cafe ACE Org is dedicated to fostering a collaboration between Castilleja and Ada’s Cafe in order to cultivate a culture that empowers adults with disabilities and to create lasting friendships between Castilleja students and Ada’s associates.



The mission of ARTvocate is to provide students opportunities to engage in current issues; gain broader perspectives through the intersection of art and activism; and encourage students to investigate existing uses and explore personal uses of art as activism. Furthermore, ARTvocate seeks to engage the greater community in art and activism.


BLAST aims to provide students with an opportunity to further explore scientific experimentation in a low stress and supportive environment. While much of classroom work is purely theoretically based, our club would open options for hands on experiments. Further, we hope members can deepen their involvement by choosing and leading experiments. The club would foster leadership and research skills within the community and encourage holistic growth of all parties involved. Through our club, we would aim to provide students with an enjoyable experience with Chemistry (and science in general), as well as work to build a positive connotation around experimentation and lab work.

Bon Appétit

Bon Appétit's mission is to teach second graders and their families at Brentwood Academy in East Palo Alto how to cook delicious, nutritious, and affordable homemade snacks. Our goal is to inspire the Brentwood students to explore new foods and to instill an understanding of the health benefits and the fun behind home-cooking.


Boxes for LPCH

There are many students at Castilleja who are artistic, crafty, driven to learn, and want to make a difference. Our club hopes to bring these students together and brighten the day of other children at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and other local organizations through activity boxes. Not only will the hospital patients learn from these kits, but the club members will learn through this unique new connection with these partners.

Brentwood Buddies

Brentwood Buddies ACE Org supports literacy at Brentwood Elementary School. With an emphasis on reading and tutoring, our goal is to foster meaningful relationships between students from both schools.



CAIE encourages dialogue and awareness in the Castilleja community of all sexual and gender identities and works to create and preserve a safe space for all members and students in general.

Castaruni Club

The Castaruni ACE Org strives to strengthen the partnership between Castilleja and Kisaruni School by facilitating cultural exchange and communication between the two schools, by supporting and engaging our community in events that honor our schools' values.


The Castilleja Entrepreneurship Club strives to provide opportunities for students to fully engage in a simulated business and entrepreneurship experience and develop skills in, but not limited to, public speaking, writing, presentations and pitches, teamwork, leadership, confidence, and communication. This club prepares emerging and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management through a hands-on experience of workshops, which will culminate in a final project through which members will demonstrate their knowledge of these topics to a panel of business experts.


Allowing full access to all tools and materials in the Bourn Idea Lab, Cre8 provides a fun, laid back environment that stimulates creativity and promotes innovation. Members can create anything that sparks their curiosity as they become active Makers.


We are committed to creating conversation about justice and social issues with empathy, honesty, and respect; giving visibility to underserved communities and their history; and creating a safe, inclusive environment for all students. We aim to use our knowledge and empathy to provide opportunities for ethical, effective action that fosters equity. This year, Diversity will also be assisting with the affinity group program, hosting an evening series leading up to Diversity week, and serving as the go-to student resource for adults on campus regarding curriculum etc.


Girl Jam

Our goal as an ACE Org is to encourage young girls to participate in and engage with music as instrumentalists and vocalists while exposing them to the collaborative aspects of music. With a focus mainly on rock and pop music, genres not normally dominated by female instrumentalists, we hope our ACE Org will educate and inspire girls to enter the music world with self-confidence in both music and life. Our work as an ACE org would culminate each semester in a community performance by our club members, in the style of a small music festival advertised throughout the community, with all proceeds collected during the event sent to a local non-profit that promotes the empowerment of young girls, whether creatively, academically, and/or socially.


Mission statement: Glee Club is a great opportunity to join an amazing community of singers within Castilleja. We will sing 3-5 songs per quarter and rehearse 2-4 times a week. As a student-led group of singers, we explore a variety of a cappella music, from contemporary to folk to soul. We enjoy singing together and spreading joy to a greater community.

Global Fellows

Each year, the ACE Global Fellows help to shape the curricular, social emotional, and leadership programming for the Castilleja Global Investigator Trips.  As a team, these Fellows act as liaisons to and thought partners with the adult trip leads and the ACE Center.  ACE Global Fellows are selected through a rigorous application process and are identified as juniors who are as eager to listen as they are to share, and who are interested in a deep examination of the the intellectual themes that the Global Investigator Trips program provides.

Green Team

To educate the Castilleja community about the consequences of climate change; and provide opportunities to take positive climate actions and to change climate policy in order to promote action, in both local and global communities, regarding the global crisis of climate change.

Halford Young Women Leader's Program

Our program focuses on a partnership between motivated 5th grade girls from local under-resourced communities and high school students from Castilleja School in Palo Alto. Together, we participate in a structured mentoring curriculum which addresses key adolescent development topics such as: dealing with failure, confronting body-image issues, developing problem-solving skills, enhancing self-esteem, defining goals and aspirations, and various science-oriented projects.

Happy Feet!

Our mission is to empower young Brentwood students through physical activity by emphasizing core values which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. In the process, we will give Casti students an opportunity to grow as leaders by planning and leading activities. As a club, we will develop different curriculums that incorporate members’ ideas of ways to positively impact the Brentwood students.

Human Rights Watch

Castilleja’s HRW club works closely with the Human Rights Watch organization to educate the Castilleja community about global human rights abuses, identifies those in a position to address those abuses, and therefore effect change. We see a need for more fact-based awareness of human rights violations, and we see potential to have impact not just through fundraising but through political advocacy, such as letter-writing, petitions, or appealing to our elected officials. Our ACE org replicates the powerful action model of Human Rights Watch: “Investigate, Expose, and Change.”


The LifeMoves ACE Org is dedicated to increasing awareness about the homeless population within our own community, while directly impacting the lives of the LifeMoves clients by supporting the organization’s initiatives and goals.

Mock Trial

Castilleja's mock trial club aims to provide members with growth in debate skills, legal experience, and teamwork. Our club provides a unique opportunity for students who are interested in a legal profession to explore their passion and develop their talents.


Peer First Responders

Peer First Responders is Castilleja’s peer-to-peer counseling program dedicated to training students in counseling skills, strengthening Castilleja’s support network, and ultimately reducing stigma of seeking help for mental health.

Pets In Need

The Castilleja Pets in Need ACE Org is dedicated to providing students with opportunities to create meaningful and fulfilling relationships with their community and the pets they care for. The Pets in Need ACE Org strives to offer hands-on volunteer opportunities for students and pets, and hopes to raise awareness about proper animal welfare and treatment.

Real Talk

Real Talk challenges its members to question their beliefs and gain the skills and confidence necessary to advocate for their viewpoints diplomatically. Additionally, we encourage members to gain empathy and appreciate multiple perspectives of complex issues through exploring the varied and nuanced perspectives of political issues. We want to bring real world stories and experiences to the Castilleja campus.

Rosener House

The Rosener House ACE Organization aims to develop relationships between Castilleja students and the community at the Rosener House as well as raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and Dementia within the Castilleja community.      


SoAct: Castilleja's Social Activism Club

The mission of SoAct is to give students a platform to connect to meaningful organizations and spearhead projects that will make a direct impact on the communities we target in order to elicit social change. Many students, similar to ourselves, learn about different social issues in and out of the classroom; however, we don’t often have the opportunity to make tangible changes in our community. Our club serves as a bridge between the Castilleja community and the global efforts being taken to foster equality and improve living standards.



STEMx seeks to engender an interest in STEM exploration at Castilleja and empower young women in local and global communities through STEM education in a non stressful and non-assessed environment.

Turn it Around

Turn it Around's Mission is to combine the love of dance through creative and engaging activities while giving back to the community to provide students with a form of self expression and confidence.

Meet the Team

Stacey Kertsman

Titles: Dean of Equity Education and Social Impact, Director of ACE Center

Emily Clark

Titles: Leadership and Community Partners Programming Manager, Bourn Lab / Tinkering Nook Instructor

Anjelika Deogirikar Grossman

Titles: Assistant Director, ACE Center

Julie Nelson

Titles: ACE Center Operations Coordinator

Brenda Villa

Titles: Equity Education Coordinator, Head Coach, Varsity and VA Water Polo, Assistant Coach, Varsity Swimming