Ron Castillo '79
Original interview by John Garcia '11
A prominent figure on campus, a man of boundless energy, and the unique combination of artist and athlete, Mr. Ron Castillo is more than worthy of being inducted into Damien High School's Hall of Fame.
Born locally in Pomona on October 17th 1961, Mr. Castillo attended Damien and graduated in 1979. To those who know of his deep passion for running it may come as a surprise to know that Mr.Castillo was a member of the baseball team in his years in high school, but to those who know of his love for the San Francisco Giants it is all too obvious. After he left Damien he went to the California State University at Fullerton and graduated with his Bachelors in Art.
In 1993, when an offer to begin substituting here at our own Damien High School was extended to Mr. Castillo by another Hall of Famer, Mr. Jim O'Brien, he accepted it, and never looked back.
This past Sunday, Mr. Castillo celebrated his 28th wedding anniversary with his wife Miriam. Their two sons, Michael, class of 2000 and Nicholas class of 2005, both joined the Ivy Leagues at Brown University after graduating from Damien.
Last year Mr. Castillo taught several Spanish 3 classes as well as A.P. Art History. This year he has cut down the number of classes he teaches due to his new position as the Assistant Dean of Students. He enjoys the new position and change that has come with it. "My class has just been extended to the entire campus, you never know what is going to happen, everyday is different," says Mr. Castillo.
Mr. Castillo has been the head coach of Damien's highly successful roller hockey team for years now, and has now become the assistant coach in Damien's inaugural season in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League.
In class, after the work was done he always has time to discuss the latest running trends or his splits from the morning's track workout. His face lit up when our conversation turned to running, almost a boyish glow, that one could tell is a deep love for the sport. Eleven years ago he took his first run and hasn't stopped since.
He worked his way up from the 5k to the 10k, eventually conquering the magic 26.2 race that is known as the marathon. Since his first marathon he has conquered the distance 14 more times. His most notable accomplishment has been qualifying for the Boston Marathon five years straight." It's special because not just anyone can compete in it," says Mr. Castillo. The Boston Marathon is arguably the most famous marathon in America and is without a doubt the most historical. Runners from all over the world attempt to run qualifying times just to have a chance at competing in this famous event. This past year's marathon sold out in a mere 8 hours with 20,000 runners clamoring for one of those coveted spots.
His other great love is his art. Recently his portrait of Rosa Parks was featured in the L.A. Times for an art show. Due to his very busy schedule he is only able to truly get to work in the summer producing three or four pieces every year.
Though Mr. Castillo has traded in his trademark Giants jacket for a tie, one can still catch him on the track faithfully doing his interval workouts early in the morning when others are grasping for their morning coffee.