Who was Antonia Alonso

Antonia Maria Alonso was born in Habana, Cuba on November 15, 1936 and lived in Cuba until the age of twenty-six years of age. She was the youngest daughter of Mario Castro Chané and Maria Teresa Carluch, who instilled in her the values of family, education, community and service. Antonia’s life was dedicated to living out these values.

Antonia, or Toni as she was called by the many who knew and loved her, was educated in a language immersion school in Cuba taught by the Dominican sisters of Philadelphia. Her maternal great-aunts were also all teachers, many of whom were known to travel by horse from Habana to the countryside to teach children who would otherwise not have an opportunity to obtain an education. By the age of seventeen, Toni knew that she wanted to be a teacher and was interning at the University of Habana teaching English as a second language.

Toni’s love of children and passion for service was already evident in those years, as she dedicated much of her time and efforts at an orphanage called La Beneficencia. She was to become a godmother to many children at La Beneficencia, supporting them in multiple ways in their pursuit of an education. Toni also loved music. In her childhood and adolescence, she and her six brothers and sisters formed a choral group that would grow to be featured on the public radio in Habana. Toni and her siblings continued to sing together even after they left Cuba during family et-togethers. Her love of music and singing would be passed on to her daughters and grandchildren and delighted all those that gathered to listen.

Fleeing the Cuban communist revolution in 1959, Toni left behind her beloved country and entered the United States as a political refugee in 1962 with her husband and two-month-old daughter, Maria.  Toni began her teaching career in the state of Massachusetts and later moved to Washington D.C.  In 1966, Toni and her family finally settled down in Wilmington, Delaware where she lived and worked for the duration of her life.   Toni taught for almost a decade at P.S. DuPont High School and later on at Stanton Middle School. She taught Spanish and Latin for more than a decade at P.S. DuPont High School and later at Stanton Middle School. In the late 1970’s, during the desegregation era, Toni was asked by the Red Clay School District to step into the role of Visiting Teacher to represent and support the many anticipated needs of the Hispanic students being bussed into city schools.  It was during this period that her advocacy and activism for the Hispanic children of Wilmington, and their families, intensified and culminated with her work in the judicial court system as an interpreter.

A Passionate Defender To the End

Toni’s love of children and passion for service was already evident in those years, as she dedicated much of her time and efforts at an orphanage called La Beneficencia. She was to become a godmother to many children at La Beneficencia, supporting them in multiple ways in their pursuit of an education. Toni also loved music. In her childhood and adolescence, she and her six brothers and sisters formed a choral group that would grow to be featured on the public radio in Habana. Toni and her siblings continued to sing together even after they left Cuba during family et-togethers. Her love of music and singing would be passed on to her daughters and grandchildren and delighted all those that gathered to listen.
Fleeing the Cuban communist revolution in 1959, Toni left behind her beloved country and entered the United States as a political refugee in 1962 with her husband and two-month-old daughter, Maria.  Toni began her teaching career in the state of Massachusetts and later moved to Washington D.C.  In 1966, Toni and her family finally settled down in Wilmington, Delaware where she lived and worked for the duration of her life.   Toni taught for almost a decade at P.S. DuPont High School and later on at Stanton Middle School. She taught Spanish and Latin for more than a decade at P.S. DuPont High School and later at Stanton Middle School. In the late 1970’s, during the desegregation era, Toni was asked by the Red Clay School District to step into the role of Visiting Teacher to represent and support the many anticipated needs of the Hispanic students being bussed into city schools.  It was during this period that her advocacy and activism for the Hispanic children of Wilmington, and their families, intensified and culminated with her work in the judicial court system as an interpreter.