Karla Basta graduated from St. Paul Central High School in 2001 – a classmate of Philando Castile, she said they shared a home room and a common trait: Being goofballs in a school full of goofballs.
"I just remember him as a total sweetheart," she said.
Six weeks after the 32-year-old Castile was fatally shot by a police officer, Basta and a network of other alumni and supporters are hoping to honor his legacy by creating a scholarship in his name.
It'll be run by the Saint Paul Central High School Foundation, and on Sunday they'll hold a community event to celebrate Castile's life and raise money for the scholarship.
"This is something we can do for his family and friends and his close friends, to have something positive attached to his name, that follows his name,'" Basta said.
The event details
Central Honors Philando will take place from 2-8 p.m. at Dunning Rec Center. You can donate online (here's the link for that) or do so in person at the event. The group will also be selling T-shirts, food, and raffle tickets to raise money for the scholarship.
"None of this is a protest, none of this is an occupation," Basta said. "This is a way to kind of push back against the negative trolls and the people that say horrible things during these cases, and to really bring that positivity and love, and to create a legacy for him that kind of continues what he was doing."
Castile had worked with St. Paul Public Schools since 2002, and had most recently been with J.J. Hill Montessori as a nutrition supervisor in the cafeteria.
To reflect that, the scholarship will be available to Central High School students who are part of underrepresented populations, and who are pursuing a college degree in education or childhood development, Basta said.
Money raised so far
So far they've raised a net of $15,000 – well above the $3,000 they were initially hoping for, Basta said – and with Sunday's event it could end up much higher.
The hope is to make the scholarship an annual thing, and the exact amount will depend on how much total money is raised.
Basta came in from New York for the event, and there are other alums from Atlanta, Chicago, and the D.C. area who are also helping organize it, she said.
"It's amazing, the outpouring from people that really love the idea and want to support it," Basta said. "It's really moving and it just speaks to, I think, our high school and that we love each other and that we care about each other, and we will be there for you if something horribly unjust happens to you."
Officer involved in shooting returns to work
Earlier this week, the Associated Press ran an exclusive interview with St. Anthony Police Chief Jon Mangseth.
It was a St. Anthony officer, Jeronimo Yanez, who shot and killed Castile as he was in the car.
Mangseth told the AP Yanez was expected to return to work Wednesday, though only doing administrative and desk work until the investigation is complete.
The city of St. Anthony has been releasing requested public documents in connection with the case. You can see a database of all those documents here.