By Christopher Mateo
A cool, gentle breeze swayed the trees surrounding the Wasco Cemetery. The trees seemed to wave a final goodbye to CSU Bakersfield student Ismael Castro along with his friends and family.
Castro died in a car collision early Friday morning.
Castro was a business administration major with a concentration in marketing. He was the fifth child out of six brothers.
He was due to graduate at the end of the spring 2017 semester, and had purchased his cap and gown the morning before he died.
According to his mother and father, he had paid for the Chicano Commencement Celebration that morning, as well.
According to a news release from the California Highway Patrol, on April 21 Castro was heading west on Highway 46 in a Honda Accord.
It is unknown why Castro crashed into the back of a Freightliner semi-truck. Castro sustained major injuries and died at the scene.
It has not been determined whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in the collision.
Castro is remembered for his personality and his humor by close friend and CSUB student Brenda Vidrio.
“I can tell you he’d always have a smile on his face. He was always trying to make everybody laugh. Even in dull moments, he was always cracking jokes, cracking jokes even with the teacher,” said Vidrio.
According to his family, Ismael was a kind and friendly person.
“In the first place, he was very friendly. He was a happy person. He was such a happy person. In school, he was a good student. He was number one in his classes,” said his father Juan Castro in Spanish in an interview at their home on Monday.
Castro’s brother Fernando,36, described him as a competitive person.
“I must say that he was a very competitive person in anything he did. If he didn’t win, he didn’t like it. It was in everything, whether it be in football, basketball, or no matter what he did, he took great pride in what he would do. He never settled for anything but the best,” said Fernando Castro in Spanish.
According to his family, Ismael he had plans to start working in his field.
Fernando Castro had set up an interview for Castro to work in the same company.
“Well, the first thing was to find a job that was to his capacity and in what he was studying,” said Juan Castro.
Fernando was always interested in Castro’s education and his plans were after he graduated.
“ I was always interested in his schooling. I would ask him what he was doing and what his career plans were. Where we were working, they were ready to give him an interview where me and two other brothers work.
“He was very happy about that, but he said his goal after graduation was going to move to Los Angeles, because there were more job opportunities there,” said Fernando Castro.
Castro’s mother Josefina Castro described Castro as a loving son.
“He was very special. In the morning before going to school, he would ask me to make him breakfast with a cup of coffee. He would knock on my door every day and would say, ‘Open up. I want to see you. Why do you lock the door?’
Castro’s mother remembers “His smile, his love and his playful spirit. He was a son that there are no words to describe who he was,” Josefina Castro said in Spanish as she started to cry.
Eduardo Castro, Castro’s youngest brother helped him shape himself into the man he is today.
“I can remember from the time we were playing soccer to the last concert we attended. All of that shapes who we are and he kinda shaped me to be strong. To just always keep going and always try to stay happy,” said Eduardo Castro.
Castro’s parents described Ismael’s childhood as full of energy. Ismael could not stay still.
According to his parents the daycare staff where Castro would go to would say ‘Llego el que alborota la gallera’ which means ‘here comes the one that upsets the chicken coop.’
Ismael’s first grade teacher Rosalinda Chairez, who taught Ismael at John L. Prueitt Elementary described Castro as an exceptional student. Chairez is now the principal at the same school.
“After you’ve been a teacher for the number of years I’ve been a teacher and you’ve gotten to know a large number of students all the name and all the faces through time and distance kind of fade away. But this young man never faded from my mind,” said Chairez.
Chairez said he was a dedicated student and had an exceptional willingness to help others. Chairez took note of the emphasis Castro’s parents put on the importance of education. She was even more impressed by his dedication to his schooling.
Chairez felt so close to Castro that she considered him as a son.
“I had just seen his family a few weeks ago and I asked them to please bring my children to see me. I guess it wasn’t meant to be for me to see him again,” said Chairez.
Chairez said she will remember him for the “high quality” of human being he was.
“It’s really difficult to define that kind of kindness in a human being,” said Chairez.
According to CSUB Presidential Aide Tina Giblin President Horace Mitchell has spoken to the Castro family extensively as to what options they have to participate in the graduation ceremony however the family has not responded with any plans. CSUB flew the university flag at half-staff on Friday in memory of Ismael Castro.