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'Kendrick Should Be Here': John Castillo Celebrates Energy Day With Heavy Heart

DENVER (CBS4) – On Saturday morning, hundreds gathered in front of East High School with a purpose. They kicked off Energy Day, Colorado's first free, family festival showcasing science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or "STEM."

As part of Energy Day, weeks of hard work came to fruition for 30 robotics teams from all across our state. They showcased their skills in the Kendrick Castillo Memorial Robotics Tournament. Kendrick Castillo lost his life while trying to save others in the 2019 STEM School shooting.

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(credit: CBS)

CBS4's Mekialaya White spoke with some of his teammates ahead of the competition honoring Kendrick.

"It's been a long season of working together. It's exciting to be in the actual competition, the first time for me," Daniel Nikolaev, Team 4418 STEM Impulse Member.

Aragorn Wang added, "Pretty exciting, we only get so little time to test all our functions during matches. It's events like these that inspire people to put in the hours every weekend, every after-school night. It's a lot, but it's definitely worth it."

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John Castillo (credit: CBS)

Kendrick's dad, John, was also front and center for the competition, sharing words of encouragement and gratitude for the robotics community.

"To have a tournament named in honor of Kendrick was above and beyond what my wife and I could have ever expected. These students really were an integral part of Kendrick's life and extended family, but it's also bittersweet that there's a lot of hard memories because Kendrick should be here," he told White. "I think for me after Kendrick lost his life in a domestic terrorism school shooting, these kids are all about creating what's good in the world and doing something that is worthwhile and continuing to do the good, that's what it's all about."

Kendrick's peers echoed those sentiments.

Kendrick Castillo
Kendrick Castillo (credit: LinkedIn)

"A lot of what we are using in the team, a lot of leadership structure and design comes from him. His legacy is strong and it's really inspiring," said Nikolaev.

"Not only inspiring to the whole students in terms of personality, but he defined the work ethic that we follow, the commitment that you put in once you join the team. It's more of a Kendrick Castillo spirit," Wang said.

CBS4 was a proud partner for Energy Day. And the tournament plans to continue honoring Kendrick's legacy and love for science not only this year, but for years to come.



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