MIAMI (CBS4) – Eight months after a brutal crash claimed the life of an aspiring teacher, her mother, a Miami-Dade County School board member, is trying to keep Andrea Castillo’s dream alive.
Scholarships have been created in Andrea’s name for students at Miami-Dade College and Florida International University.
For her mother, Susie Castillo, the project has been a labor of love.
“Everything that I do is difficult,” Susie Castillo told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “Everything that I do, every moment of the day, I think about her. I feel the loss. I feel it’s impossible to go on a lot.”
21-year-old Andrea Castillo was riding in a Jeep with her boyfriend when it collided with a car driven by an on-duty Hialeah Police officer last October.
The crash remains under investigation.
On that Friday night, the officer was rushed from the scene by helicopter.
Andrea was taken by ambulance.
She died at the hospital.
Shortly after the memorial service, Susie Castillo decided to create the Andrea Castillo Foundation as a lasting legacy to her daughter’s memory.
“I just couldn’t let it finish there,” she said. “That couldn’t be the end of her story.”
Several scholarships were created for students pursuing Andrea’s passion of education.
“My daughter, since she was a little girl, always liked teaching,” Castillo explained. “She always wanted to be like her grandmother. She wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.”
Susie Castillo also felt drawn to life as an educator and administrator.
She now serves on the Miami-Dade County School Board, where she says her daughter’s loss is felt deeply.
“I sit there and I hear these teachers and I know how much Andrea wanted to be one of those teachers,” Castillo said. “Everything that I do really impacts how I feel and how difficult losing my daughter was and still is.”
Two students, one from Miami-Dade College and another from Florida International University, will receive $1,000 scholarships to study education.
Four students from each school will also be awarded $500 scholarships.
All recipients must be products of the Miami-Dade County Public School system, just like Andrea.
“She was very loving and I was blessed to have her in my life,” Susie Castillo said. “I was blessed to be her mother.”
To learn more about the scholarships and what you can do to support the cause, visit AndreaCastilloFoundation.org.
As far as the crash investigation is concerned, Susie Castillo said she is letting her attorney handle that for now.
“Anger is a big part of it,” she said. “But I’m trying to keep it under control as much as possible.”
She said it’s been difficult to hear what the police department has said about the chain of events leading up to the crash.
“I’m looking forward to the investigation closing and clearing my daughter’s name and her boyfriend’s name and for justice.”