Welcome ASB


Thea Dai

The ASB attends their weekly meeting at the Sunken Patio (From left to right: Finn Layton, Julia Zeitlin, Monica Sidana, Ash Ehrenpreis, Samira Kennedy, Ashni Sheh, Laura Schusser, Kaylene Yee)

The new members of the All Student Body (ASB) government do not need much of an introduction after they kicked off the year with an unforgettable routine to “The Boys are Back.” However, the new ASB members have many more passions and skills on par with their outstanding dance moves, such as a common drive to cultivate an inclusive community and a gift for leadership. I sat down with every member to learn more about their individual goals and plans for the Castilleja community.

Ashni Sheth ‘22, Castilleja’s ASB president, kicked off the new year with a hilariously wise senior speech, demonstrating a rare duality seen in natural leaders. Ashni embraces this duality and hopes to utilize it as President by “creat[ing] a balanced fun but productive space.” Making this space for conversation and discourse is at the forefront of Ashni’s mind as she aspires to further advance Castilleja’s goal for diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has many plans to channel this “balanced fun” into daily life, such as implementing more games into Upper School meetings and even starting new school events to compensate for the last year of distance learning.

Laura Schusser ‘22, the ASB Vice President, echoed the overarching goal of the year to foster a more inclusive community, citing open forums as an imperative exercise to create “a space where students of each identity and positionality can come up and speak for themselves.” She also hopes to focus on cultivating inter-grade connection and school spirit as both of those aspects of school life were majorly lost during the distanced school year.

Monica Sidana ‘23, the ASB Secretary/Treasurer, is focused on making the big dreams of ASB a reality. Her main focus in this position is to “giv[e] everybody a foundation to work off of,” while also implementing her own ideas to enhance each student’s daily life. She discussed plans to reallocate funds from certain elements of the dances to increase the attendance of the event and the attendees’ enjoyment.

Finn Layton ‘23, the ASB Social Activities Coordinator, is the big dreamer for which Monica lays the foundation. She is incredibly passionate about every project she begins and said that she will “go all in on an idea.” Her mission is to bring more boys to the Castilleja dances, saying that she “will literally go to Bellarmine and put up posters if it comes to that.” Overall, she hopes to amp up school spirit and give Casti students an opportunity to have fun and de-stress.

Julia Zeitlin ‘24, the ASB Community Action Coordinator, pours herself into her many passions, ranging from climate justice to voter registration. She jumped right into her plans for increasing civil engagement in the Upper School, such as hosting a climate relief drive for the victims of wildfires and sending 1,000 letters and 100 students to the city council meetings over the year. She is also planning to build a space for students to easily report microaggressions, so the school can confront the problem promptly.

Ash Ehrenpreis ‘23 decided to run for ASB Arts Coordinator not only because she is highly involved in almost every art Castilleja offers, but also because she has noticed several incidents of prejudice in the art community that are overlooked and unresolved. She hopes to “cultivate safety” in each Casti art classroom by closely working with the administration to see through the needed change. Ash is also focused on increasing school spirit within the arts. For example, she worked to include the upcoming fall musical’s cast in school spirit events, so they will be introduced similarly to a sports team at the pep rally.

Samira Kennedy ‘23, the ASB Athletic Coordinator, possesses a unique athletic perspective and infectious school spirit that will greatly help her achieve her many goals in this position. She hopes to encourage students to come to in-person games, as this was not an option last year. She will work to continue intramural sports, as she sees it as an opportunity to increase inter-grade connection.

Kaylene Yee ‘22, the ASB Community Wellness Coordinator, hopes to nurture a loving and inclusive community by holding administration accountable to their mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is concentrating on “increas[ing] the level of comfort for speaking up and advocating” through urging transparency between administrators and students. She also hopes to implement empathetic listening training, something she has developed in her time as peer first responder.

Castilleja’s new All Student Body Government is chock full of passion and have demonstrated their organization and creativity through the engaging Upper School meetings every Wednesday. With this amount of focus and talent, ASB will be sure to achieve their goals of increasing inclusivity and fostering school participation.