Through the Lens of Norberto Castillo


Jillian Parks

As we say farewell to our senior staff members, we figured we’d put our skills to use and right our final features on each other, both to document the people we are and predict the people we will become. 

Our Netflix-suggester and film-reviewer on staff has always lived his life as if it were a movie. Searching for similarities, signs, and metaphors in everyday life, Norberto Castillo is an artist, a hopeless romantic, and the perfect example of any good movie’s underestimated underdog.  

“I grew up watching movies like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, you know, even High School Musical, so I had high expectations about high school,” senior Norberto Castillo said. “Life is not exactly like the movies though. Things don’t just happen to you; you have to make them happen. It took me a long time to realize that.”

Norberto is the oldest of three with siblings, Luna and Iker. Growing up in Texas, his grandparents had a room filled with movies, books, comic books, and video games. He busied himself making comic books, short films, and being a young creative. 

“That was basically heaven for me as a child, and it practically made me who I am,” Norberto said. 

A man of few words, he claims that he was the “like the most popular kid” in his elementary school (a school in Houston he does not remember the name of). As is consistent with elementary school logic, his speedy playground antics and comic-creating skills earned him that recognition. Eventually he moved to Knox where things were a little different. 

“Middle school was the complete opposite of elementary school,” Norberto said. “I didn’t make a lot of friends. I was really quiet. I’ve always been an introvert. I didn’t bother to meet anyone. It was middle school.” 

Throughout high school, Norberto joined newspaper staff, worked at Subway and Chick-Fil-A, and was an avid musician, learning and playing the drums at an after school program called School of Rock that helped him out of his shell.

“Marshall Lundsberg: if it wasn’t for him, I would have never picked up the drums; I would have never gone onstage, performed in front of hundreds of people,” Norberto said. “I would have never lived high school, I feel like.”

Norberto also cites Hugo Diaz and Joey Podolski as people that shaped him as a person. Hugo being his best friend, and, in his words, the best person he knows. Joey being, again his words, the cooler version of himself and someone he could always count on. In addition to in-person influences, Norberto watched the TV show, How I Met Your Mother, roughly 40 times in the summer between 8th and 9th grade. 

“It shaped up my views on love and romance and all that stuff,” Norberto said. 

Speaking of love and romance and all that stuff, he recalls his first date in 9th grade as one of his happiest moments. Another happiest moment happens to have arisen due to the pandemic. 

“I was just really frustrated with just life, how unfair everything was, and my dad was just like ‘go out for a walk,’ and so I did,” Norberto said. “All of a sudden, I just started jogging, and now I’ve been running for a whole year. I’m doing a marathon soon, hopefully.”

Despite his deeply-rooted connection to imaginative realities of movies and books, Norberto sees himself as a bit of a cynic. Maybe that’s in spite of love stories like How I Met Your Mother or because of wake-up calls like 500 Days of Summer. Either way, he will be taking the lessons and stories from his favorites movies and TV shows to Baylor in the fall where he will be studying Psychology. 

“I just wanna be someone people look up to,” Norberto said. “One of the strangest feelings is walking in [to Chick-Fil-A], and everyone being like “Hey It’s Norberto!” Everyone gets excited to see me, which is something that I never really thought would happen to me. I wanna live a life that’s… I wanna live my own movie. I’m still a movie guy, so I’ll always see life through that lens.”