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Honoring Angel Castillo and Omar Montiel Hernandez

On Sunday, Jan. 3rd, the Santa Barbara High School and Eastside community lost two youth. Omar Montiel Hernandez (above left), 2020 graduate, and Angel Castillo (above right) 11th grader, died as a result of a gunshot wound. On Thursday, we [had] a moment of silence for both young men. This moment of silence…provide[s] our school community a chance to pause and think about the positive impacts that both young men had on our school, our students, and our community. They will be  remembered fondly and missed dearly. Grieving is a process and we look forward to the day when we can be together again as a school to remember Omar and Angel in a way that makes sense and we are not bound by the health and safety guidelines. 

And, we encourage our staff, students, and community to reach out for help. If you need help and/or you know someone that needs help please contact Nate Mendoza at [email protected]

(Excerpted from Principal Simmons’ 1/15/21 newsletter)

GoFundMe Accounts for Angel and Omar:

GoFundMe for Angel Castillo:

GoFundMe for Omar Montiel Hernandez:

Tribute from staff and students:

Angel Castillo:

“Angel was a very sweet young man, dedicated to his family, friends, and education. This year he was so brave and uncomplaining when facing the many obstacles that distance learning put in front of him, and was working hard to make himself and his family proud. I will truly miss his calm demeanor, his resiliency, and most of all his sweet smile.” 

-Allison Bates, teacher

“Angel was committed to making positive changes, both in himself and in those around him. He was kind and polite, bright, and very active in the Zoom chat! He was always ready and excited to learn and never hesitated to participate in class. He set goals for himself, and I could tell he was looking forward to the future. He’ll be missed by friends, family, and teachers alike.”

-Tomek Buras, teacher

“I am deeply sorry for the loss of Angel. He was a great kid and one of my favorites! He really touched my heart and I will forever keep his memory alive. He was always so nice and polite with me and he was SO proud of himself for attending all classes this year. He set the goal and was happy to be achieving it. Although Angel was quiet, he shared a lot. I find comfort remembering him talk about his likes and goals and plans. He shared how much he enjoyed riding bikes, hanging out with friends and cooking and spending time with family. He really enjoyed the barbecues with family. This was his favorite time. He would talk about seafood being his favorite food and he would make up his own sauces. He spoke about going with the family to The Drunken Crab and taking care of his bearded dragon and rabbit. There was one uncle who he looked up to and would speak about him quite often. He said he appreciated getting his advice and wanted him to visit the class to talk about auto detailing. Angel’s dream job was to learn the trade from his uncle and have his own car detailing shop. My favorite was hearing how he dreamed of traveling to Australia to eat mud crabs. I will cherish these memories. He also admired firemen especially the ones risking their lives for others during 9/11. Angel was so young and was achieving his academic goals and had potential. He was also the top of his math class and participated daily with respect and kindness. He had plans and dreams and was on his way.”

-Dyana Castro, teacher

“I met him in junior high. He was cool.”

-Daniel Vega, student:

“He was always a nice dude, not very talkative but I saw a good change in him. We weren’t friends but were friends through a friend. He wanted a change in himself and he was doing it! I’m glad I got to know him at his best.”

-Fernando Velazquez, student

Omar Montiel Hernandez:

“Omar was an intelligent and respectful guy, who had a unique perspective on different aspects of life.”

-Corey Adam, teacher

“Omar was always quiet and respectful while he was in my class his senior year.  He was a student focused on graduating and he seemed to be excited about the next chapter of his life.”  

-Anonymous, teacher

“He was loved and it is a tragedy that someone so young had such a short time” – anonymous

“I had the honor of being Omar’s government teacher. He was very focused and worked hard to graduate. Whenever I passed Omar in the hallway he’d always put a smile on my face and check in to see how I was doing. He will be so missed.” 

-Ms. Vu, teacher

Please view this slideshow as well:

(Slideshow courtesy of Principal Simmons)


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