Life has not always been easy for the Castellanos brothers. Sometimes it even seemed downright impossible. No matter what life threw their way, however, perseverance and tenacity ruled the day.

Raised only by their father, Quentin, from the time they were one week old, twins Joaquin and Joseph have worked hard for everything they have, including their Catholic education. On May 25, they graduated from St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, each with high grade point averages, multiple athletic honors and an extensive involvement in school and service organizations.

Because they grew up in a single-parent household, Joaquin and Joseph could easily have slid into a life-pattern of, “Life gave us a bad break, so we shouldn’t be expected to achieve much, and if we mess up, well, we have a good excuse.”

But that’s not their mindset, mainly because their dad wouldn’t allow that. Quentin went to work in the morning, picked the boys up after school or day care, and took them to their athletic events and coached. He cooked, cleaned, read them bedtime stories (the Harry Potter series), took them to St. Louis de Montfort Church on Sunday (and never missed a single Sunday until he broke his back when the boys were in sixth grade), and made sure his sons completed their sacraments.

“We pray at home as a family,” says Joseph. “Our dad is a role model and Godly man himself.”

“We are very grateful to our father’s dedication to us and for the way he raised us,” adds Joaquin. “He was always there to guide and motivate us in both our physical and spiritual lives. Even after he broke his back, he still did everything he could to take care of us and provide a wonderful life for us. We would not be here today if it weren’t for his sacrifices and love.”

Inspired by their dad’s example and encouragement, the Castellanos boys became standout students (3.6 and 3.8 GPAs), eight-year altar servers at St. Louis de Montfort, and earned nine letters apiece as cross country, water polo and wrestling team members and as champion pole vaulters at St. Joseph. They also have been youth ministers, president and vice-president of the Chess Club, members of the Respect for Life Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and recently joined the Knights of Columbus.

Both highly value their Catholic education, having worked summer jobs to help finance it. “Where there is will there is a way,” says Joseph. “I wanted a Catholic education very badly.”

Adds Joaquin: “What is life without God? Why not have Jesus present in our education? We grew both academically and spiritually during our time at Catholic schools. The love in the community of catholic schools is unrivaled. You can’t beat it.”

Now, both young men are headed off to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, to study business and management. And, as is often the case with twins, they have similar views on the “most valuable lesson” they have learned.

Joaquin: “If you put the work in, anything is possible.”

Joseph: “If you truly apply yourself, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.”

No, life has not always been easy for the Castellanos boys. But it has been filled with tremendous faith and love.