In the breezeway between Santa Monica High School’s administration building and cafeteria was a poster where students could reflect and write messages. At the family’s home, a framed photo of a smiling teenager was surrounded by flowers, candles and Sour Patch Kids candy.

The memorials arose as friends, relatives and loved ones this week continued mourning the death of Leo Castillo, who was hit by a car in Santa Monica while riding his scooter.

While officials offered support services and organized a fundraiser for Castillo’s family, people who knew the Samohi freshman described a vibrant 16-year-old who brightened others’ spirits with his personality.

“He always came into the room with a smile and brightened my day with his enthusiasm for learning and life in general,” said Patty O’Connor, who taught Castillo at Grant Elementary School. “It was an honor to work with Leo and his family.”

“U were an amazing guy, someone who never once had any negativity, someone who’d make me and many others smile,” Giulia Bernacci wrote in a post on Instagram. “Ur smile would bring light and happiness to anyone around. Ur positivity was contagious.”

“I will always remember your smile your laugh how sweet u were to everyone,” Elena Reynaga said on Twitter.

“You were the most positive person I’ve ever met,” Starla West tweeted. “You always knew how to make people smile.”

Friends and loved ones flooded his father’s Facebook page with notes of prayer, grief and support.

The outpouring of heartfelt messages followed Sunday night’s crash at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and 26th Street, where a car driven by a 73-year-old Los Angeles man struck Castillo and a friend as they rode through the intersection on a motorized scooter against a red light, according to Santa Monica police.

Castillo was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, and his friend, whose name was not released, was taken to a trauma center in critical condition.

Santa Monica-Malibu school district officials have organized grief counseling at Samohi, Olympic High School and John Adams Middle School, where spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said advisors and psychologists will be available to students as needed.

Support services were also offered at Virginia Avenue Park throughout week and at Pico Youth & Family Center.

Meanwhile, Samohi is collecting money to assist the Castillo family with funeral and burial costs estimated at $15,000, Pinsker said. A notice from principal Eva Mayoral was sent out to the school community this week.

Checks made out to Samohi PTSA with “Castillo family” in the memo line may be delivered to Mayoral’s office or any house office. Donations were also accepted at the PTSA meeting in the school library May 12.

“Thank you in advance for your generosity and compassion,” Mayoral wrote.

An online fundraiser to assist the family has also been set up through a GoFundMe page at The fundraiser had generated more than $15,000 as of Wednesday morning.

“Leo was an amazing young man,” Laura Check wrote on the site. “He touched so many people with his kind heart and bright smile.”

Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, or on Twitter.

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