The unexpected loss of any life can be unbearable, however, many would agree that the loss of a child or young person may be the cruelest loss of all. Ana Castro, a Southampton High School senior, was tragically killed just two days before Christmas in 2018, having just celebrated her 18th birthday. She instantly died in an automobile accident in San Miguel during the holiday break while visiting El Salvador. That this loss was due to the actions of a drunk driver who hit the vehicle occupied by Castro, her aunt and cousins perhaps makes it even harder to bear at the senselessness of such a tragedy.
Following more than two weeks of holiday celebrations in El Salvador and with the assistance of the U.S. Embassy, Ana’s body was finally returned to her family for funeral services which were held on January 12, 2019, in Hampton Bays. However, the cost of bringing Ana home and final expenses created a major financial strain on her family. Her cousin, Jose Erik Ramirez, created a GoFundMe page to raise at least $18,000, and which ultimately raised in excess of $25,000.
Additionally, Dr. Melissa Mitchell and Mrs. Saundra Dubin of Southampton High School (SHS) have originated The Ana Castro Memorial Scholarship Fund which has been established by a committee of both teachers and students who were close to the dedicated student to honor her potential and motivation, which was leading this young lady to be the first in her family to not only graduate high school, but also to attend college. Right before her passing, she had been accepted to Long Island University and granted a scholarship. The Fund has launched a Spring Raffle taking place every Friday from March 22 through May 17. Tickets can be purchased in the Main Office of SHS at a cost of $20 for one or $30 for three or by visiting anacastrofund.com.
The mission of The Scholarship Fund, is to “Raise money to be given each year at Southampton High School to a graduating senior who exhibits similar qualities that Ana possessed. Those would be kindness, compassion, the ability to overcome great obstacles and to rise above in light of struggles and do so with grace and dignity. The recipient would also be a student who would be the first in their family to go to college, just like Ana would have been,” according to Dr. Mitchell.
With the appreciation of Ana’s family and the generosity of local area businesses, including Starbucks, Flying Point, Petit Blue, Citarella, Hampton Coffee, Kevin Maple Salon, Tennis East, Fudge Company, the Larry Rivers Foundation, Little Lucy’s, Bean to Tween, Little Bird Spa, Jobs Lane Gastro Pub, La Parmagiana, Golden Pear, the Publick House, John Dillon, Dr. James Brady, La Carezza, White’s Pharmacy, Whitmores, Fowlers, Herricks, Tenet, J. McLaughlin, Southampton Books, Hildreths, Hill Street Boxing, East End Row, Gubbins, Stevensons, Sag Harbor Pharmacy and others, it is fervently hoped that this Raffle and scholarship will keep the memory of this young lady in the hearts and minds of both her community and Scholarship recipients for many years to come.
For a further list of prizes and to purchase tickets, go to anacastrofund.com. If you are interested in supporting the Fund and becoming a donor, please contact Dr. Mitchell at 631-466-8129 or via the website, anacastrofund.com.