Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile—the Black man who was shot and killed by a St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer—is continuing her son’s legacy as a beloved cafeteria supervisor.
According to WCCO, Castile presented an $8,000 check to the Robbinsdale Cooper High School to help clear out some of the debts of all senior students, which will allow them to graduate without any further worries.
The news station notes that before the 334 seniors at Cooper will be allowed to graduate, they will be required to pay off their lunch money balance, something that can be difficult for some families.
“The unpaid bills is over $300,000 now in our district and we also see this through the state,” Carlton Jenkins, superintendent of Robbinsdale Area Schools told the news station.
“For those students to know that they can graduate now without having a bill, I can’t tell you how big it is,” Jenkins added.
Philando Castile was lovingly known as Mr. Phil by students at the J.J. Hill Montessori School where he worked, and his mother told the news station this issue was something close to her son’s heart.
“This is something that Philando held near and dear to his heart,” Valerie Castile said, adding that it is something her son did regularly as cafeteria supervisor.
“He’d pay for children’s lunch meals out of his own pocket instead of letting a child go hungry that day, he would pay for it himself,” she added.
This is not the first time Valerie Castile has given back to schoolchildren in her son’s name. She has also donated $10,000 directly to J.J. Hill Montessori on behalf of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation.
“As long as we can help, we will,” Castile said.