• May 11, 2024

A Dream Cut Short – STC Honors Student’s Legacy

A Dream Cut Short – STC Honors Student’s Legacy

Roberto Carlos Rio Rodriguez was only five minutes away from his home, when his world and his dream of becoming a college graduate came to a crashing halt.

But on Saturday, May 4, the 22-year-old’s widow, Alondra Castillo, was given the chance to accept a South Texas College degree awarded posthumously to her late husband. This was a milestone Rodriguez was working to reach to provide for his wife and his future family.

“We were still newlyweds. We were supposed to spend our entire lives together, we had promised,” said Castillo. “We had so many plans, and we had an entire future ahead, but the poor decisions made by others, ended all of that. Now, I’m grateful that STC is honoring him, but he should have been here. I miss him so much.”

The STC Diesel Mechanic student was on his way home after work to pick up his wife on a December day, when a couple of street racers ended his life in a fatal crash.

“He didn’t work far from home, five minutes at the most, and he always picked me up to take me to work. That day he was already 10-15 minutes late, which wasn’t normal,” she said. “I called him several times, but he never answered. His phone locator showed me where he was, and he never moved. I finally found someone to take me to him.”

When Castillo arrived at the scene, she recalls seeing the accident and immediately knowing that he would never answer his phone again.

“He was already working in his field. We were both working toward our dreams of creating a better life for ourselves,” she said. “I have so many questions, some days are hard and I’m not always doing well, but I have to be okay.”

She “has to be okay” because right after her husband’s death, she found out she was pregnant.

“He wanted to be a dad, he was looking forward to it, but it hadn’t happened yet. And now, we have our miracle,” she said. “This baby is a piece of him.”

And to finish what they started as a couple, Castillo who is also a student at STC, added that she’ll stay enrolled and continue her journey toward becoming a nurse to make him proud.

“I’m going to get that degree and with the support of our families, I know I can make it happen. He wanted us to be college graduates,” she said. “I know he would have been so happy to have graduated also. This was his biggest goal, and I have the perfect spot for his degree – at his altar, next to his ashes.”

Castillo said she is grateful to STC and its instructors for giving Rodriguez a chance, for always believing in him and giving her this special moment.

“I know he had mentors in his program and that many were guiding him and helping him reach his goals,” she said. “He always talked about them and gave them a lot of credit for his success. So, thank you STC, for believing in him and making his dream come true.”

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