Interview by Clint Westwood
Article by Celinda De La Fuente

Education is not like it was 50 years ago, 20 years ago, or even five years ago. The educational gaps have an ebb and flow of their own, as we try to do everything we can to fill the in-between for our youth. Innovative places like CAST Schools offer students a hand-ons approach to learning with project-based learning and work-based learning. This provides real-world experiences for the students. With the student at the helm of their own learning, teachers can be the coaches and guides throughout a student’s educational journey, as opposed to an authoritative instructor, which is the common model for many.
CAST Schools is a nonprofit network of five career-themed public schools, and one Pre-K through 12 Academy. In partnership with three different San Antonio school districts: Advanced Learning Academy (SAISD), CAST Tech (SAISD), CAST Stem ( Southwest ISD), CAST Med (SAISD), and CAST Lead (East Central ISD), each school is designed around different interests and careers, preparing the young adults for college and life after.
Director of Communications and Marketing, Eddie Rodriguez explains CAST Schools are “for students who are eager for a challenge, who love hands-on learning, and who are interested in exploring their career options… Our schools emphasize student voice, student agency and look to establish leadership skills.”
Last month, the schools performed a play called Luna by Ramon Esquivel at the Historic Guadalupe Theater. The students worked together to create the props, costumes, and committed to weekly rehearsals online. Even during a Pandemic, students can participate virtually for rehearsals. The digital component of learning is now a necessary expectation in education.
The play is about “a young Latina, and that is a perspective that a lot of us in our community and our school can relate to…told on the backdrop of a history that affected a lot of our community, which is migrant workers,” details lead actress Bella Villarreal, a Junior at Advanced Learning Academy.
Villarreal has learned many life worthy lessons from theatre, including how to interact with people. Another lead actress in the play is Alyssa Herevia, a Junior at CAST Tech, who shared how theatre keeps her linked to her gente, “My family has always been involved in theatre…it’s just a way to connect with my father and that side of the family.”
‘Comunidad’ surely defines CAST Schools. Gente y jovenes coming together for a better learning experience. Comunidad es Unidad.
For more information: