Honduras Honors Noted Los Angeles Attorney Jose Mariano Castillo by Naming New School after Him
For the first time in its history, the Central American nation of Honduras is naming a school after a living person, Los Angeles attorney Jose Mariano Castillo.
After forging a successful practice in international, business, and family law, Mr. Castillo undertook to bring modern educational opportunities to his hometown, San Jose de Colinas.
One of the first from his town to graduate high school in Tegucigalpa, the nation’s capital, followed by a BA from UCLA and a law degree from Southwestern University of Law, Mr. Castillo vowed to raise the educational standard of San Jose de Colinas. The only public education available in the town of 14,000 people is vocational training, and Mr. Castillo focused on creating a college preparatory school for its children.
Creating a bi-lingual (Spanish-English) school for its first class of 64 youngsters, most of whom have never left the region, Mr. Castillo has seen to it that the school is equipped with the most advanced educational technology and best-trained teachers.
In recognition of Mr. Castillo’s achievement, the Honduran Ministry of Education elected to name the school after him, a rare honor in his native country.
According to Guadalupe Bueso, President of the Sociedad Educativa Colineña, which operates the school, “Mariano Castillo is the finest example of cooperation between peoples and cultures. His commitment to improve opportunities for the young people of his town is a testament to the kind of man he is.”
As part of the inaugural ceremonies held on March 7, 2009, government officials, including presidential candidate Jose Porfirio Lobo of the National Party, were on hand to honor Mr. Castillo.
Dozens of Mr. Castillo’s friends and business associates from California, Spain, and throughout Latin America traveled to San Jose de Colinas to be part of the unique ceremony dedicating the new school “Liceo Abogado Mariano Castillo Mercado.”
“The way out of poverty is education,” Mr. Castillo says. “I am grateful both to Honduras and the U.S. for helping a boy from a small community in Honduras become a successful lawyer in America; that’s the true lesson of what we are doing in San Jose de Colinas today.”
Upon his return to Los Angeles, Mr. Castillo plans to establish a non-profit foundation to provide scholarships for the young people of San Jose de Colinas.
In 2001, Mr. Castillo was knighted by Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, with the Order of Queen Isabela the Catholic for distinguished service to that nation. In 2002, Mr. Castillo was honored by the government of Chile with the Order of the Liberator Bernardo O’Higgins for distinguished services to the nation of Chile. In 2004, he was awarded his country’s Congressional Medal of Honor for distinguished services to the Government of Honduras in the U.S. and to the Honduran community in Los Angeles. The governments of Ecuador, Guatemala, and Argentina have also honored Mr. Castillo for his distinguished services to those nations. “