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Andrew Castillo: CO Star

Photograph by Danielle De Luna

Photograph by Danielle De Luna

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As senior year comes to an end and all the college acceptances come in, it gives us a chance to recognize Andrew Castillo, who has made a big difference in our school. Andrew was recently named salutatorian, which is a great honor. He was admitted to several amazing schools, UCLA , UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Fordham University, and Harvard University. Because of his grades and extracurricular activities, he also was given many scholarships for his next four years. I interviewed Andrew and here are his responses.

Do you believe all your hard work has paid off?

I believe it did. It took a lot of sacrifice, the occasional period of delirium and “bork bork” phase, and A LOT of sleepless nights, but I think in the end it did. As rewarding as college acceptances have been, I think what was most rewarding to me has been my involvement in Key Club and getting to see the officers I helped train start to be super successful on their own. I am super proud of them and cannot wait to see and hear all that they succeed. I know that they will continue to make a lasting impact on our community. Also, JOIN KEY CLUB!

Are you looking forward to attending Harvard?

I absolutely am. I can’t wait to learn more about the world, myself, and the field of medicine at Harvard. From what I’ve been told, it promises to be quite the transformative experience, and I cannot wait to take my first steps into adulthood. Also, I can’t wait for summer because I so need a break! I plan to take it easy aside from getting my first job at the Covina Parks and Recreation Department, but that honestly sounds like a lot of fun to me, despite being work. Besides, I cannot just do nothing this summer as much as I’d like to. I know myself well enough to say that I would go crazy doing nothing.

Was Harvard your dream school?

It was, but it wasn’t. Harvard is a dream school, just not my dream school. I honestly never really thought I could get in and always felt ridiculous telling people I even applied. I was just hoping for a signed rejection letter. I guess I never really had one dream school. Instead, I was just hoping to get into any of my top five schools: Harvard, Princeton, John Hopkins, Swarthmore or UChicago, but, honestly, all of them felt so out of reach.

What class helped you most throughout high school?

I can honestly say that no other class has helped to morph me into who I am today as Mrs. Wilcox’s IB HL English class. Ironically, before her class, I strongly disliked English. I just had a general aversion to it. I found it to be very boring, but Mrs. Wilcox showed me that it was I who was sucking at life. She made me have a genuine appreciation for literature. Also, she improved my writing ten fold in the first month. On a more personal level, her discussion of Albert Camus’s The Plague was particularly impactful. She and Camus really instilled in me a sense of perseverance despite all that is wrong with the world and taught me to always continue to push up Sisyphus’s rock. I cannot thank Mrs. Wilcox enough. She is the hardest working teacher I know.

Tell us anything you’d like to know, and how do you feel about attending Harvard?

This may not be necessarily appropriate in register or content for an article, but the only thing I want people to know is that despite Harvard or anything along those lines, I am still trash. What I mean to say is that my conception of myself is still the same, and I think others should be, too. While calling myself trash seems to be very self-deprecating, I have learned to own it. As my Key Club officers once told me, “It’s trash can, not trash-can’t.”   

Andrew will be studying sciences such as Biochemistry and/or Molecular Biology. He has chosen to head to Cambridge next fall and join the Class of 2021 at Harvard.

 

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Andrew Castillo: CO Star