Teacher of the year talks about farm life, leads into his journey to California

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Photo Courtesy of John Richard Castle

Kasra Mohammadi, cub writer

By always building everything up from zero, John Richard Castle II is able to make his passion his profession and help others in the process. 

With a sense for community and hard work in mind, Castle decided he wanted to build and manage a ranch in Montana, where he lived before moving to Beverly Hills.

Castle always loved working with the community and for the community. In building the ranch and managing the festivals and fundraisers, as well as the harvest on the farm, Castle quickly gained a reputation for the special effort he put into bringing people together. 

“We were in the newspaper, on TV, every three months so the whole community knew what was going on. We had a festival every fall, harvest festival, so we would sell things that grew and raised on the ranch as well as blankets that the residents made to help raise money to keep it running,” Castle said.

The hard work required to keep the ranch going was a sacrifice Castle was willing to make for the greater good. As long as he could work with others to tend to the ranch, the physical labor wasn’t as much of a challenge as it was fun. 

“So, I think probably my most favorite thing was building the barbed wire fences. Because we all worked as a team together. It was a lot of really, really hard work digging holes and putting posts and then stringing the wire. But it was really fun working with the residents and all the staff together,” Castle said.

Castle was put in an awful situation, in which he had to decide between the farm and his relationship with his husband, whose grandparents fell sick with Dementia. He ultimately left this full time job with a heavy heart after having invested his sweat and tears there for three years.

“So, I ended up leaving the farm and it was really sad. I cried when I left because I love that place,” Castle said. 

In California, Castle went on to find another way to give back to the community, while working with others to achieve this goal. After pursuing education and finding himself unfit for the medical field, Castle found his passion in becoming an educator himself. At BHHS, he not only gave his best as a Environmental Science and Biology teacher, but also went the extra mile in taking over the robotics team as the coach. Despite his lack of knowledge about the discipline, Castle excelled through determination. 

“The first year I worked really hard. They had me take over the robotics team which I knew nothing about. But because I learned everything about ranching on my own, I figured I could learn everything about robotics on my own. And the first year our robotics team went to World Championship, which hadn’t happened in four or five years for Beverly Hills,” Castle said.

Castle found the same passion-turned-profession at BHHS that he had built for himself with the ranch. He loves his job, not despite but because of the challenges and teamwork he faces here every day. His award for teacher of the year only vouches for that. 

“I love the school. I love the students,” Castle said. “I love all the people I work with, you know, or else I wouldn’t want to drive three hours in traffic every day.” 

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