Any way you look at it, 18-year-old Mateo Castro has already accomplished a lot in his young life: community volunteer, class president, and UC Berkeley-bound. What seems to drive him more than anything else, though, is his desire to help others. And as he heads off to college in the fall, the Antioch High School graduate makes our community proud: Mateo has been named Youth of the Year for 2022 by the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.
“I believe he not only well represents Antioch High School but our city as well,” said Trine Gallegos, a friend and mentor of Mateo’s.
Originally from Colma in the San Francisco area, Mateo moved to Antioch about seven years ago with his parents and two brothers. He quickly became involved in school activities and as a volunteer for community events such as Antioch High School’s annual Warm for the Holidays, as well as Antioch’s annual golf tournament at Lone Tree and the Nor-Cal Hot Shots Crab Feed fundraiser.
“I have always wanted to help people,” Mateo said. “I love helping people and it makes me feel happy knowing that I have made a positive influence. I want to inspire others to use their voice and help others in any way they can.”
Following his own freshman orientation at Antioch High School, Mateo has been a leader at freshman orientations. His other school activities have been Link Crew, a leadership and mentoring program; and USCF Trio Upward Bound, an educational support program that has also provided volunteer opportunities.
The Antioch High Class of 2023 graduate was student body president his senior year. Despite his busy schedule helping to organize school events throughout the year, he maintained a 4.2 GPA. He plans to study microbial biology at UC Berkeley; he wants to be a curative medicine scientist.
Mateo attributes his success in school to friends and mentors who “have pushed me to become better and have given me the means to help others in any way I can.”
School staff have much praise for Mateo as well. “He is a leader who stands up for what he believes in and is considerate of his school community. He maintains a level head while courageously championing his peers through student government,” said John Jimno, the school’s principal.
Teacher Nick Wisely said Mateo “pours his heart and soul into Antioch High. He has a unique ability to be a leader and a selfless helper. He always goes the extra mile for our school. I wish we could clone him because he will be hard to replace.”
Mateo says although he’ll be off to college soon, he will continue to think of Antioch as home and find ways to stay involved. “I want to continue to volunteer in the community in whatever way I can,” he said.