Whether Apolo Castillo Jr. is masquerading onstage as Oscar Madison in a production of “The Odd Couple” or keeping it upbeat and jazzy playing “Birdland” on his trumpet, it’s never about capturing the spotlight.
“We recognize that the shows that we put on, they’re not for us, they’re for the people we’re playing for. Because we’re doing that we enjoy it so much more,” the Subiaco Academy senior said.
Castillo, 17, a day student at the Academy, has been a standout in more than just the performing arts. Living in Fort Smith with his parents Apolo and Azucena, he is the oldest of three children and bilingual. With a 4.15 GPA, he is active at both Subiaco and his parish, St. Boniface, as the president of the Future Business Leaders of America, member of the National Honor Society, Quiz Bowl team, Columbian Squires, a lector, altar server and Eucharistic minister. He is also a Young Faith columnist for Arkansas Catholic.
“It really sets the foundation to how I do almost anything really,” he said of his Catholic faith. “Whenever it comes down to making decisions, thinking of new ideas and all that, I always try to keep my faith there, present in my decisions. And having grown up in Catholic schools, it really helps to have someone to go to, you can always go to God. So having that presence in my life has truly influenced the way I think and perceive the world around me.”
Some of his fondest memories at Subiaco have been in the theater department and the Subiaco Jazz Ensemble. He has played the trumpet for six years and the tuba for two.
“I think having the opportunity to work on a big project with people I really truly care about and who care about me. Working together for an extended period of time and experiencing those tribulations and happy moments to put on a show or performance for people is what I really have come to enjoy about the fine arts here,” Castillo said about theater and the jazz ensemble.
And of course, those funny moments that any theater kid can look back on, like “getting to run around a couch shouting at one of my closest friends on stage was probably one of the best moments,” he laughed about co-starring in “The Odd Couple.”
Even though he has a passion for the arts and hopes to continue that in some way, he will attend the University of Tulsa in the fall, planning to earn a master’s degree in business administration.
“My father has businesses of his own so I’ve grown up knowing the atmosphere of business, so I really have grown to like it,” Castillo said. “… I think that’s the way I can best serve my community.”
Castillo said he learned to “truly cherish time with other people” while at Subiaco.
“Is ‘everything’ a correct answer?” Castillo said of what he’ll miss. “I would say the people here. The teachers, my friends, the monks … seeing such a tight-knit community dedicated to working, praying, serving others really sets an example for all of us students here. You see the dedication they have to serving everyone and especially God and it really inspires you to try to do that in your life.”
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