An Interview With Ms. Lockey


Baylee Ha

Castilleja’s founder Mary Lockey has a lot to say about sweatpants under skirts…

As the blooming of tamarisk and jasmine indicate the approach of Founder’s Day, we are all reminded of Castilleja’s rich history. Who could explain some of Castilleja’s long standing traditions and changes within the school better than the founder herself, Mary Ishbel Lockey?

Natalie Goler ‘25: One of the most important aspects of Castilleja culture is the uniform. What are some of the most significant similarities and changes you have noticed?

Mary Lockey: When originally sketching dress whites, we thoughtfully considered aspects to make the design timeless in a world of ever-changing vogue. I am proud to confirm that the sailor suits are as fashionable and flattering as ever and am thrilled to see them worn by students of all ages. I’m particularly pleased that the students even go on to wear the white skirts in college and especially to celebrate such fun holidays, like Halloween. On the other hand, I am disappointed by the use of skirts as an accessory to pajamas. During the 1918 pandemic, when the doors and windows were opened during classes, students were still expected to arrive in full uniform.

Goler: Second floor Arrillaga formerly housed boarding students but has transitioned to world language classrooms. Talk a little bit about world languages as a whole…

Lockey: First of all, shout out to the Arrillaga family for I am told they are building this whole campus. But yes, it is so interesting to see campus change with the loss of dormitories, as you mentioned. However, the biggest change has been in the world language grading system which has transitioned to letter grades. It was originally “Developing,” “Competent,” and “Advanced.” I don’t think I understand how this new system works. I guess my question is, “How do students get an A in a world language class?” That’s the detail I think we all need.”

Goler: Unfortunately, I think the whole community is still grappling with this change. I’m afraid I don’t know anyone who could really explain it.

Lockey: How has Palo Alto and the community around campus developed in the past century? It is so curious to see that Old Palo Alto has expanded so much. Did the addition of so many new houses make traffic more difficult for students in the morning?

Goler: Well, Ms. Lockey, that’s actually lowkey controversial. Maybe we’ll bring closure to this issue before another century passes. Thank you so much for answering my questions, Ms. Lockey. My final question is: “What is your advice for the modern Casti student?”

Lockey: I would just say to have fun, live by the five C’s and don’t let your Casti years pass by so quickly.