Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - June 11, 2010

Bridget Meaney

The 'five Cs' of Castilleja

Teachers chose graduating senior Bridget Meaney for this year's Castilleja Award, earned by the senior who best exemplifies the school's "five Cs" — conscience, courtesy, character, courage and charity.

"It was kind of a shocker," Meaney said.

"I've put my whole life into this school and it's really nice to be recognized. At the same time, a lot of people did that so it's not fair for just one person to get the award," she said, demonstrating splendid mastery of the second C (courtesy).

Though the five Cs are "the bedrock of the school," girls are encouraged to add additional Cs, and are constantly doing so, Meaney said.

"There are many others — change, culture, community are just a few. You can use what they have in the tradition, but also add your own things."

Meaney said she'll most miss the warm community of Castilleja.

"It's really like a family here, a sorority in the nicest terms. The teachers here are incredible and the girls are so smart — it was intimidating at first."

Active in student government, admissions, tutoring and peer advising, Meaney also played for Castilleja's tennis team.

After traveling to Italy as a babysitter for a local family this summer, Meaney will enroll at Duke University with a possible major in history and economics.

"I love history, and I'm thinking of focusing on Russia. It's interesting to think about Russia because it's a European country in a way, but the culture is not quite European and not quite Asian — it's kind of its own thing.

"It has such a rich history and it's kind of an emerging market."

What she won't miss about high school is the all-girls aspect of Castilleja, the "endless pursuit of college," and doing dishes.

Of her generation, Meaney reflects: "I feel like we're the multi-taskers — always on Facebook and Twitter, the iPhone or whatever and doing a lot of other stuff, yet also doing well in school.

"Also, we put as much value on EQ (emotional intelligence) as IQ, and that's a positive change.

"There are so many smart people in the world, but you still need people skills. It's harder to put people in a box because so many people are so multi-faceted and you really need everything to succeed."

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