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Looking forward, giving back

He might not yet be in high school, but German Castro has already plotted his course after he completes college.

“I want to make something of myself,” he said. It’s a long journey but he’s identified interesting stops along the way. First to be a teacher, then to go to law school. Ultimately, he wants to move into public service as a community leader or mayor.

 “I’m working to the best of my ability to get the best grades possible.”

German Castro, Cohort XIII, The Northwest School



“I want to help people,” he explained. “I feel like a lot of people don’t have a voice.” He listed those he found might be struggling including low-income families or those who have been incarcerated and looking to start afresh. “I want people to be heard, I want to help them to be heard. I want to advocate for them and show them what they can do.”

There’s a clear thread that runs through German’s aspirations: social justice. As German maps out his career as a middle school student at The Northwest School, he’s especially focused on giving back. Support, encouragement and discovering the skills to reach his full potential were at the heart of the Rainier Scholars program. Looking back, he recounted the first steps that pointed him in this direction.

“I had to get through three to four hours of homework a night and spend Saturdays in class,” German said, describing the Academic Enrichment phase. It was every Wednesday too, with an early morning wake up at 6:30 a.m. They were long days. When school got out at 2:30, he looked to his friends, in the same cohort, for energy and support.

“Sometimes I wondered how I’d get there, but then I remembered that I wasn’t going through this struggle alone,” he said. “I had a core group of friends all around me, they were going through the struggle with me. We kind of created a little bit of competition around it and that helped, so we all gained.”

Now in 8th grade, German continues to draw from those early lessons, “I’m working to the best of my ability, to get the best grades possible.” German’s mother sheds a light on his enthusiasm for learning. “He asks a lot of questions and he wants a lot of answers,” she says. “He is a dreamer.” Her son’s dream is her dream, she adds.

“Day by day, I’m hoping to make a dream come true, to get a college education,” he said. “It means a lot to me. My mom didn’t get a good education and both my parents are cheering me on.”

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