Our Traditions

Empowering women since 1907.

Whether she comes to Castilleja as a 6th grader or a rising junior, every student shares in Castilleja’s traditions big and small. They provide a common experience through which friendships are forged and classes bond—and through which generations of alums are united in sisterhood.



Opening Day at Castilleja is full of traditions and festivities that reinforce the joyful and supportive nature of our community.

Tie Ceremony

The day begins with Tie Ceremony, a special way for older, mentoring "buddies" in the Upper and Middle School to welcome incoming freshmen and 6th graders.
castilleja school tradition tie ceremony

After lining up around the Circle at the center of campus, seniors and 8th graders rush across the turf to find and tie the green and yellow ties of their freshman and 6th grade buddies. 

Students wear ties in their grade's traditional class color as they cheer on the action: 6th is yellow, 7th is light blue, 8th is navy, 9th is green, 10th is orange, 11th is purple and finally, as seniors students have the opportunity to wear Castilleja red.


Seniors Drive the Circle

Later in the morning of Opening Day, senior students have the opportunity to "Drive the Circle". Students jump into cars and (very slowly) drive the perimeter of the central part of campus while cheering and celebrating the beginning of their final year.

Spirit Week

Crazy costumes, class colors, silly competitions, and school spirit fill Castilleja's campus during Spirit Week in the fall.


Castilleja's "ringing" tradition for juniors and seniors is much more than a twist on receiving class rings—ringing has reinforced the bonds of sisterhood amongst Upper School students for decades.

In this much-beloved tradition, students are matched up and it is a surprise to the senior "ringers" who their junior "ringee" will be. The ringee will carry out various personalized "random acts of kindness" for their ringer such as sending encouraging notes and small gifts and surprises. Finally, the ringee reveals their identity and asks the senior to "ring them".

Grandparents and Special Friends Day

On Grandparents and Special Friends Day, students have the opportunity to share their experience as a Castilleja student with a beloved person they look up to. This event is typically held the day before Thanksgiving Break.



Castilleja students have a long history of building community through friendly competition and creative and spontaneous performance. Currently, this manifests itself in Junior/Senior Rivalry each Spring.

During the week of Rivalry, the junior class and then the senior class each have an opportunity to transform the campus for one day into a different world representing a particular theme that is secret up until the class executes this transformation.

Junior / Senior Banquet

The culmination of Rivalry Week is a celebratory dinner that brings students together for a fun and special meal together featuring an elaborate theme and sprinkled with performances throughout. 

Founder's Day

Castilleja's founder, Mary Lockey, initiated a school tradition celebrating Arbor Day each year by planting a tree or shrub on campus. For decades, this time was used to beautify the campus and in 1940, Arbor Day at Castilleja became Founder's Day, in honor of Miss Lockey and the holiday she loved. Today's festivities include a lunch and program for students and a parent or guardian guest on the Circle. It is a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow community members and spend the afternoon together honoring the school's rich history. 

Fun on the Circle

Castilleja students have been building community and having fun on the Circle for over a century. Whether part of a decades-old tradition, or a spontaneous display of creativity; sisterhood, self-expression, and fun are values central to the student experience.