Learning has always been a passion for Castro-Balbi. So much so, that when his parents moved to Georgia last summer, he asked to stay in Fort Worth with family friends to finish his academic career with the classmates he had known since kindergarten. “The Class of 2022 is special. We are confident, and we have a wide variety of curiosities and unique ideas,” Castro-Balbi said. “We have navigated so much together and the incredible experiences we have shared over the years have shaped who I am as a person.
“For one, our class uniquely experienced high school before, through, and after the worst of the pandemic,” Castro-Balbi continued. “We've grown closer to the FWCD community and to each other through difficulty, and our unique position has given us a better awareness of things we've lost, gained and need moving forward.”
A Cum Laude member, Castro-Balbi has always pursued the most rigorous classes: He has completed a total of five Honors and 12 Advanced Placement courses in his Upper School career. His favorite courses are any that involve math and science. When he exhausted FWCD’s mathematics curriculum last year, he opted to enroll in Linear Algebra, offered through the Malone Schools Online Network, of which FWCD is a founding school. He also enjoys the humanities and learning about new cultures, languages, and traditions to help him best communicate within the connected world.
Combining his interest in electrical engineering and computer architecture, Castro-Balbi explored how computers may be used in launching rockets as his Senior Capstone Project
. He worked with Upper School teachers Dr. John Cordell
(Science) and Shaheen Matuni
(Computer Science) as well as alumni from the Classes of 2012 and 2016 throughout the project’s research and writing phase. “Country Day’s teachers help students discover and then pursue their interests,” Castro-Balbi said. “They help you step out of a box you didn’t even know you were living in and expand your horizons.”
In both the arts and athletics, Castro-Balbi is just as accomplished. He has played the violin for 13 years and was part of the FWCD Orchestra program in Middle School. Since his freshman year, Castro-Balbi has served as Concertmaster for the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra, performing professional-level pieces at venues such as Bass Hall and Sundance Square. He also joined his friends in the Upper School Orchestra when his schedule allowed. In terms of athletics, Castro-Balbi has excelled in both cross country and track for four years. As a freshman and sophomore, he was also a member of the swim team.
Castro-Balbi has been influential as a leader in the FWCD Bass Upper School. Serving on the Student Council as Class President in grades 9-11, Castro-Balbi was voted Student Body President in his senior year by his peers. In that role, he oversaw Upper School morning announcements daily and worked with the School’s administration to continue to enhance the community. Well-liked by his peers, Castro-Balbi enjoyed sharing his sense of humor through jokes during announcements. Castro-Balbi was also a leadership member of the Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Affinity (IDEA) student group that brings programming and education to the entire Upper School community.
What he will miss most about Fort Worth Country Day is the sense of togetherness. “We are a tight-knit community that has been through a lot together,” he said of his 93-member class. “Though our interests, ideas, and paths may differ, I have never felt uncomfortable approaching anyone in our class in conversation, and our unity—mutual openness, trust, and initiative—despite these contrasts makes me believe that we can have a similar sense of community at larger scales.”