Archive | Student Work

The Running Dream: A Review by Sara L ’20

9780375966675_zoomThe Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen is an inspirational book that everyone can relate to. Even though it is sad starting out, there is one happy ending, which makes it more inspirational. Running means everything to 11th grader Jessica Carlisle. She and her dog, Sherlock, run a five-mile loop every morning. Jessica and her best friend, Fiona, join their school’s track team. She becomes one of the team’s best runners and is hoping for a scholarship for college. One bad accident makes Jessica think that nothing is possible, especially not running. On the way back from one of the track meets, a man without insurance hit the track team’s bus. One girl on the team dies and Jessica’s leg is crushed to the point she has to get it amputated. At the beginning of recovery, she struggles doing basic activities including showering and climbing stairs. Jessica struggles the most with is thinking she won’t ever run again. With the help of her team, family, track coach and a new best friend, Jessica regains hope.

Posted in Reviews & Recommendations, Student Work0 Comments

Flame 2014 is here!

Flame 2014 is here!

Flame, the middle school’s annual literary magazine, is here! You’ll definitely want to check out the amazing artwork, photography, poetry and prose in the 2014 edition. Click in the box below to read it online!

Posted in Featured, Student Work0 Comments

Book Spine Poetry!

Not a poet? Think again! Anyone can write a book spine poem. All you do is take books and lay them flat so that their spines read like a poem. These poems can be funny, serious, long, or short. See?

IMG_4706

by Ms. Seroff

IMG_4742

by Claire S. ’19

IMG_4736

by Ms. Bergson-Michelson

IMG_4738

by Mr. Ahmed

DSC00779

by Paulina A. ’20

by Ms. Tkach

by Ms. Tkach

Some classes and advisories have come into the library to make their own poems, but you can make them at home, too! If you’ve made any great poems, please send us a photo so we can feature them here or on the bulletin board leading up to the second floor.

Posted in Events & Celebrations, Student Work0 Comments

Why Creativity Got Cut – An Essay by Maddie D ’15

Why Creativity Got Cut – An Essay by Maddie D ’15

With all the hype over Veronica Roth’s Divergent series and the release of the new movie based on her book, I was considering what virtues she left out. Roth chose to create Abnegation to represent selflessness and simplicity, Amity to represent peace-keeping and kindness, Candor to represent honesty and justice, Dauntless to represent bravery and protectiveness, and Erudite to represent intelligence and curiosity.

All of these factions were created with the needs of a government in mind. But five virtues seems pretty minimal, whatever you might say about each faction representing a little bit more than just one virtue by extension. Some virtues just aren’t included; most glaringly, creativity.

What would a creativity faction look like? And, perhaps the more interesting question, why would a government not wish to add an “Ingenuity” faction?

In today’s society, Abnegation is the faction of charity workers (and, we would hope, government officials). Amity is the nurses and good-neighbors and maybe even our religious leaders, Dauntless the fireman, police, and military, Candor our justices, lawyers and activists, and Erudite our scholars.

Where are the artists?

Dauntless has tattoo artists, Amity has a few banjo-playing musicians – but what about our inventors? Our politically-charged muralists? Our concert cellists and Alternative song writers? Our great poets and fantasy authors?

The fact is, creativity isn’t in the city-state Roth creates. It’s not too difficult to see why. In a community that values conformity, whose motto is “faction before blood”, and frankly, who wears uniforms – where are the artists, who value individuality and creative expression, to fit in? Artists aren’t, in general, the sort of people who liked to be placed in boxes (the irony of this sentence is not lost on me). In fact, creative people tend to be very disruptive to normative behavior and rigidly organized society.

In today’s society creativity is essential. Our rapidly developing digital age would be entirely impossible without the imaginative foresight that drives this era. But the society Roth describes is largely stagnant. It is too traditional for an Ingenuity faction, too rigid for the out-of-the-box thinkers our age values so highly. In her books, Roth points out that honesty will break the peace, that self-denial will prevent the indulgence of curiosity, that bravery can be both cruel and stupid. Creativity will always clash with tradition. Nobody can value all virtues equally, not even the Divergent. And just as the Divergent are such a threat to the system, so the Ingenuity would be a threat to the conformity and traditionalism of Roth’s society. It’s very difficult to manipulate somebody who values creativity and individuality above all else.

by Maddie D. ’15

Posted in Student Work0 Comments

Charm & Strange: A Book Review by Katie M ’18

charmstrangeThrough small chapters made up of “matter” and “antimatter,” we see the past and present life of Andrew Winston Winters, a boy of dubious motives.

Through the matter of his mysterious life comes Win, a teenager who has seen too much. He is impenetrable by anyone, especially after a hiker dies in the forest near his exclusive boarding school. Win bolts himself away from everyone, scared of the devil that resides inside of him. His friends must find his key over the course of one fateful night or watch his dark secret destroy him. The evolution of Win and his friends may draw out information they never thought would be revealed.

Drew emerges from the “antimatter” a lost boy following in his brother’s footsteps. Over one dreaded summer his lock-and-keyed secret becomes so heinous that it forces him, his brother, and his cousins to acquit the unspeakable.

This is a exquisite portrayal of teen experiences and is tied together by a beautifully written mystery that will leave you wanting more. This chilling thriller will always keep you on your toes. It is captivating. Thrilling. Provocative. And most of all, one of a kind.

By Katie M. ’18

Posted in Reviews & Recommendations, Student Work0 Comments

The Sixth Faction: Create a Faction for Divergent

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.41.30 AM

Wait, what? There’s a sixth faction??? OK, hold up. I wasn’t informed about this… I’m pretty sure there were 5 factions: Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Amity, and Dauntless…yep, that’s 5. Where’s the sixth?

Okay, calm down. There isn’t a sixth faction…yet. Which is why, my dearest Divergent fans, we are giving you the chance to put that nagging voice in your head to sleep! Come on, admit it. You have always thought that some virtues or some personalities were missing from the factions.  That this dystopian Chicago is a bit incomplete. Right? That’s exactly why, in celebration of the budding movie, starting Thursday, March 20, you can come into the library and fill out a form to tell us about your amazing ideas on this “sixth faction.”

This is a contest, just so you know, so get your game on! Our librarian panel will choose the most creative and unique “sixth faction.”  Give us your best go, and make sure to fall within these guidelines:

1.    Come up with a name for your faction!

Ex: Amity

2.    Describe your faction. Tell us some key attributes and how these attributes are manifested in behavior, clothing, etc.

Ex: Abnegation members want their members to be selfless, always putting others before themselves. To show this, they wear grey, plain clothing, greet others with a polite, subtle bow of heads for respect, and are governed by a committee who set a role model of these actions. They are also one of the only people who feed the factionless.

3.    Describe or draw your faction’s symbol.

Ex: Candor’s symbol (like on Four’s tattoo) is scales:

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.35.05 AM

4.    A color to identify your faction.

Ex: Blue is identified with Erudite.

5.    Recommend a book from our library that your new faction members would read, or add any other cool information you want to include. (optional)

Ex: Dauntless members begin initiation by jumping off a roof into a black pit, the contents unknown.

6. Make sure to submit your bursting ideas by March 31st , along with your name, if you want to be eligible to win! Every participant can select a faction sticker, designed by our own Elizabeth P. ‘17 and Neha S. ‘17.

If your faction is selected as a winner, we will make a sticker of your faction’s symbol and hand it out at school!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask any of the librarians (Ms. Bergson-Michelson,  Ms. Gomez, or Ms. Seroff).

Get excited!

And if you want to read like a faction member, there is a display of readings in the library appealing to each and every faction (except your sixth one). Go check that out!

Thanks!

The Divergent Crew

By Athena N ’19

Image credits: Elizabeth P. ‘17 and Neha S. ‘17

Posted in Events & Celebrations, Student Work0 Comments

catalog databases research-assistance
recommended-reading events student-publications

New Books – See More on Our Pinterest!

  • (Grades 3-7) You exp
  • (Grades 6-8) Chloe i
  • (Grades 6 and up) Ve
  • (Grades 9 and up) So

Latest Photos

Awards and Recognition

Community Photos!


Upload Your Photo to Flickr! Simply email your photo to photos @ castilleja.org and we will feature it here.

Book Recommendations on Our Pinterest!

  • (Grades 5-7) Do you
  • (Grades 7 and up) Ma
  • (Grades 9 and up) So
  • (Grades 6-9) Through