The St. Paul Central High School Foundation is creating a scholarship in honor of Philando Castile, a man that was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer last month.
Alumni will host the first fundraiser Sunday for the scholarship, which will go to a Central student from an underprivileged background looking to pursue a career in education or child development. With support from Castile’s family, members of the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005 classes organized the fundraiser.
Castile was considered a role model in St. Paul, working as a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School. He memorized the names of the 500 students he served every day, along with their food allergies.
“He remembered their names. He remembered who couldn’t have milk. He knew what they could have to eat and what they couldn’t” Joan Edman, a recently retired paraprofessional at the school, told TIME. “This was a real guy. He made a real contribution. Yes, black lives matter. But this man mattered.”
In the same story parents also spoke highly of Castile, stating how they felt he transformed the cafeteria into a positive and cheerful space. “He was part of the community and an important one” Andrew Karre, a parent of an 8-year-old son that attends J.J. Hill, said. “He was just a nice, caring person who worked at the school, who should not be dead.”
Up to 1,000 people are expected to attend the family-friendly event, which will include live music and theatrical skits from Central alumni.
“[Castile] worked at a school, didn’t have his education license, but he definitely affected children, so we’d like someone to work on what he was: helping students,” Adrian Perryman, a 2003 Central alum helping coordinate the gathering, told the Star Tribune.
The amount of money raised will determine whether the scholarship can continue annually, but it’s still great to see Castile being honored in a way that embodies his impact on the people of St. Paul.