Julio Castro, 31, who teaches at YULA Boys High School in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of the city, was gifted a 2019 Mazda CX-3 by his students at the Jewish private school on Thursday, Kiro7.com reports. The car means that Castro no longer has to commute more than two hours one way to teach.
Castro lives in the Santa Clarita Valley and used a scooter and bus to get to the school, the LA Times reported. He typically wakes up at 4:30 a.m. PDT and returns home sometimes as late as 9:30 p.m. – long after his three young children have gone to sleep.
“He made sure I understood all of the material by sitting down with me during his lunch breaks and sacrificing his time after school where he could be getting to the bus stop going back home,” said Joshua Gerendash, a senior at the school, told KABC.
“It is roughly two hours. It depends, if I miss my bus, I wait another half hour or an hour,” Castro told the television station, according to Kiro7.com.
Castro’s commute was a 7-mile trip on his scooter to a bus stop. From there, the bus took 90 minutes to reach Century City. After exiting the bus, Castro used the scooter to reach the school.
Castro’s students, aware of his transportation difficulties, raised more than $30,000 over the summer to buy the vehicle. They also bought the teacher a year’s worth of gasoline and car insurance, KABC reported.
“I feel surprised. I feel special. So thank you to my students. They are like my kids as well,” Castro told KABC.