The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


ASB member calls out administation in senior speech

Ovation for Zeitlin ’24
Ruby Dowling
Julia Zeitlin ’24, a three-time ASB Community Action Representative, gave her senior speech Tuesday.

A Castilleja class of 2024 student used her senior speech Tuesday to shed light on an instance of the school avoiding a controversial discussion. Julia Zeitlin ‘24, a three-time ASB Community Action Representative, was met with a standing ovation following the speech.

“I want to talk about how we talk about what’s been happening to women,” Zeitlin said in her speech. In the speech, she outlined how S.B. 8, or the “Texas Heartbeat Act,” prompted her in 2021 to reach out to two prominent reproductive rights activists, who agreed to speak to Castilleja students about the impact of the new legislation.

According to Zeitlin, the Castilleja administration asked her to cancel the event due to the controversial nature of the subject and the lack of an anti-abortion perspective. “What I concluded from this experience is that our school—which I love deeply—has been fearful of controversial, difficult conversations,” Zeitlin wrote.

Zeitlin’s speech was well-received by the Castilleja community, and as she continued on the room filled with approving murmurs, snaps and at one point even a full round of applause.

“It felt very authentic to me,” Zeitlin told Counterpoint. “Sure, at some points I was a bit nervous about how it would be received, but the main message was so important to me that it wasn’t a concern.”

Head of Upper School Anne Rubin, who reviews all senior speeches, expressed her full support for Zeitlin. She also said that the school’s intention was not to silence discussions of women’s rights.

“At the time when we were having these conversations, when Julia was a sophomore, I was new in my role. Dr. Johnson was new in her role. Ms. Zappas was new in her role,” Rubin said. “The optics look a certain way. I think the reality is that there were a lot of timelines intersecting.”

Rubin said she met with Zeitlin in the beginning of the 2022-23 school year to discuss moving forward.

“There was definitely a point where folks in the administration acknowledged the lack of dialogue and the resistance that I was met with, and I really appreciated the opportunity to have that support,” Zeitlin said.

As she enters her third and final year as ASB Community Action Representative, Zeitlin shows no plans of slowing down. Following her speech, she hopes to get Castilleja to draft a “women’s rights statement” and to bring her sophomore year plans for a discussion about anti-abortion legislation to fruition.

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About the Contributor
Ruby Dowling
Ruby Dowling, Editor-in-Chief
Ruby Wright Dowling ’24 is an Editor-in-Chief of Counterpoint. She attended the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute in 2023 and is now an editorial intern at the Los Altos Town Crier. When she’s not reporting, Ruby enjoys scorekeeping at baseball games—especially when the Red Sox are in town.

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