Castilleja - Week 1

"First Week of Fun!"
by Eva S. 

The girls learning camp rules during Morning Meeting

The girls learning camp rules during Morning Meeting

This week was highly anticipated by TAs and students alike!  We all had so much fun getting to know each other, especially through games and advisory time during breakfast and lunch.  We also participated in a scavenger hunt to get to know the Casti campus, which the girls really enjoyed.  They were most excited about the garden and dance studio.  

Day after day, the students said that the electives were their favorite part of the day (and as a TA, I would say the same thing!).  During science, dance, art, sports, and nutrition/wellness classes, the girls are able to explore new topics in a fun, hands-on way, and the TAs have a leadership role in sharing topics they are passionate about.  As one of the lead TAs for the art elective, I love working with my peers to create engaging curriculum and inspiring the girls to think critically about the art that they see and create.  I am extremely impressed with the girls’ pieces of art, including their neatness, attention to detail, and originality.  One of my favorite parts of this experience is working individually with the girls to ask them about their ideas and their work of art to guide them towards thinking analytically and reaching beyond their comfort zone.  This was very challenging, especially because the students are still shy and reserved during the first week, but I saw the girls really opening up.  

In addition, today we had the pleasure of hearing from Saima Hassan, a Castilleja alumna and founder of Roshni Academy in India, a school that prepares motivated, low-income girls for college.  She challenged us to use courage to overcome fears and obstacles and achieve our dreams.  In advisories, we discussed what we would do if those fears and obstacles disappeared.  Some girls’ answers included becoming a lawyer, going to college, and providing for their families.  All of them mentioned helping others!

I am so proud and grateful to be part of such a life-changing experience (for the girls and TAs!).  I know that the rest of the summer will be a blast!