Students of YULA High School for boys were able to surprise their teacher with a brand new car on the second day of school, aish.com reported.
Mr. Julio Castro, a beloved math teacher at YULA, a Modern Orthodox Jewish school in the Pico Robertson area of Los Angeles, lives in the Santa Clarita Valley and commutes about four hours a day by scooter and bus to get to the Westside school. He typically wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and returns home as late at 9:30 p.m., when his three young children are already asleep.
During a months-long fundraising campaign spearheaded by students, $30,000 was raised for the car and one year of donated insurance and gas to thank the teacher who every day goes many extra miles for them.
During the first week of school, YULA High School called a school-wide assembly in the gym. The entire school prepared to surprise Mr. Castro, and the Head of School, Rabbi Arye Sufrin, was giving everyone the heads up.
Rabbi Sufrin explained how the surprise would work and what he needed from the boys to pull it off. They called it a kickstart to Teacher Appreciation Week, and they began to raffle off special gifts to random teachers. Mr. Castro was casually led into the gym, while various teachers were awarded small prizes, like gift cards. The final name was pulled from the box, and Mr. Castro was called to the center of the gym. His reward was simply “a movie.”
“Please sit, Mr. Castro, and watch this film in your honor.”
The video featured a montage of students thanking Mr. Castro for all of his hard work. At the end of the presentation, Mr. Castro remarked how happy and honored he felt to be part of the YULA family. He clearly showed his love for the students when he said, “This isn’t a job, this is my fun.”
At that point the principal instructed the boys to head back to class. Unbeknownst to Mr. Castro, the boys were actually lining up in a human tunnel. Mr. Castro was led outdoors, through the human tunnel, to the entrance of the school. Confetti was thrown, and hundreds of kids gathered around.
Folks from Dude Be Nice were there filming the event, as were ABC News and the LA Times. Dude. Be Nice.’s Brent Camalich said, “We are so happy to have filmed this celebration so your family could see how much the students of this school appreciate you. But wouldn’t it be better if they were here?”
“Yes, but they are in school,” Mr. Castro explained.
“Well, actually, we made some calls, and they are here.”
Julio turned around, and was blown away to see that his family had come to witness this Teacher Appreciation Day.
At that point, the school’s security guard hushed the crowd and angrily shouted, “Everyone! Whose vehicle is this? It is parked illegally.”
Josh Gerendash, a senior, responded, “Oh, it’s mine. I’ll move it, but I just have the gift for Mr. Castro inside.”
A piñata was pulled out of the car, and Mr. Castro and his family broke it open. A wrapped gift fell out, and Josh gave it to Mr. Castro.
“Here, open this,” he said.
Hundreds of boys were now encircled around Mr. Castro as he carefully opened up the gift. Inside the box was a key.
Mr. Castro looked up and asked, “A key?”
The crowd parted to show the car behind them. Josh said, “Actually Mr. Castro, this car is yours.”
The boys broke out in a joyous song and dance, and Mr. Castro was shocked and overwhelmed. He wiped tears from his eyes. Everyone watching was visibly moved by the experience.