Student Spotlight – Timothy Castillo


Siona Manocha, Staff Writer

If I had to name one thing I miss most about pre-COVID, it would be Timothy’s hugs. From warm August mornings and icy December dawns to the March chill that accompanied the beginning of each day, Timothy would always be in the College Corner ready to greet me with the biggest hug. Together, with his beaming smile and deep laugh, we would walk to our first period English class to start the school day. I believe this speaks to Timothy as a person — his warmth, his compassion for others, and his ability to make every person around him smile. 

After briefly shadowing Hashim at the beginning of his sophomore year, Timothy transferred from Alamo Heights to Keystone School where he claims, “I met these people who weren’t like me, but I think that was great. They weren’t like me in a good way. We fit together really well, and they even got my jokes.” In the past two years, Timothy has grown greatly involved in the Keystone community as seen with his membership in the National Honors Society, the Dungeons and Dragons Club, and Model United Nations. However, what Timothy finds most special about Keystone are the people, both faculty and students. Timothy has not yet found a Keystone teacher he dislikes. He admires both the passion and the ingenuity that permeates from every classroom and every teacher at Keystone. Coming from a public school where teachers are used to having to wrangle kids who don’t want to be there, he says it is a completely different experience seeing teachers actually get to teach. Timothy reflects on both his AP European History and Political Science and Civics classes with Dr. Caraway whom he regards as one of the wisest men he has ever met. 

 His favorite class at Keystone, however, has been Creative Writing with Mrs. Ortega. Not only has she greatly influenced his writing, but she pushed him to audition for the school musical Into The Woods, the first theatrical production he was ever a part of. Having someone well-versed in and willing to talk about both the ups and downs of the creative process has influenced Timothy more than he had ever imagined. Now, whether it is being a part of a choir, a troupe, or involved in voice acting, Timothy sees himself holding a career within the performing arts. 

Timothy is also greatly inspired by the Keystone work ethic, the amount of effort students put into every task, and the well-roundedness of the student body. “It’s just nice having people around who are willing to talk about silly things but can also talk about the ethics of late-stage capitalism. There aren’t many people like that,” Timothy reflects.  

Outside of school, Timothy attends voice-lessons, while at the same time truly enjoys the thrill of singing in the shower. In addition, he has logged approximately 5,000 hours playing video games. Occasionally, Timothy will look up poetry he remembers and read a fragment to re-experience the electrifying ride of emotions that words can bring about. 

Boy Scouts, however, has been a large part of Timothy’s life, and he cites his biggest accomplishment as the time he and his Boy Scout Patrol traveled fifty kilometers in five days on the border waters of Ontario at White Otter Lake. After arriving in Canada, Timothy and his patrol rode a van from their camp to the wilderness in Ontario. Except for a plane that could make water-landings in the case of emergencies, there was no way to hike back to the camp without moving forward. It made things simple for Timothy: he just had to keep moving forward. He describes the hours melting together as he canoed through the lake. He made conversation with the boys next to him and very quickly learned how to not splash the people in front of him. When not canoeing, Timothy and his patrol were lugging their one-hundred-pound packs on portages. One of the portages Timothy vividly remembers consisted of traveling up and down wet slippery rocks that were covered on both sides by a quicksand-like mud. Although it rained almost every day, seeing a beaver on his journey brought great excitement to Timothy. “It was not fun. It was definitely not fun at the moment. But I’m really glad that I did it,” Timothy conveys. Through his determination and work ethic as a boy scout, Timothy, as a senior in high school, is now proud to call himself an Eagle Scout. 

The 2014 Winner of the Most Handsome Man of the Year, Mr. Eric Cruz has been Timothy’s largest influence in his life. As his freshmen English teacher, Timothy describes Mr. Cruz as “an excellent teacher. He was Keystone quality, which says a lot about both him and Keystone.” Timothy recalls that every time Mr. Cruz talked about writing and literary work of any kind, there was a passion in his voice. “He loved what he did, and he loved sharing it with us,” Timothy adds. Mr. Cruz’s ability to be there for every one of his students, to check up on their writing, and to help them with their problems, was truly astounding in a school of over a thousand students. 

In the words of Timothy’s favorite historical figure, Alexander the Great, “There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” From his time at Keystone, Timothy has learned the importance of trying to hold confidence in oneself. “We are all acutely aware of our own flaws, whether they’re real or perceived flaws,” Timothy claims. “Despite our flaws, we all passed an obstacle or path to get to where we are. It is important to remind ourselves that we belong where we are because we worked hard, and we deserve to be here.” Although we don’t always feel that way, Timothy wants to remind his readers that the Washington Post consistently ranks Keystone as one of the most challenging schools in the nation. Everyone who is at Keystone is here because they try their hardest at everything they do. “Keystone is a hard place to be, but you get a lot out of it. Not just in the academic sense, you get a lot out of the people. I think that’s really great,” he states. 

Timothy constantly tries his hardest in all of his endeavors, and, through his work ethic and perseverance, I know he will positively shape his world in unimaginable ways. I wish Timothy luck on his future endeavors and am looking forward to what the future brings him.