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Highlands Ranch school therapy dog has a ball celebrating 9th birthday

Series of resiliency events being held as school marks 5th year of shooting on campus
Daisy STEM School Highlands Ranch.jpg
Posted at 11:22 AM, Apr 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 15:02:36-04

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — The therapy dog at STEM School Highlands Ranch had a ball Thursday celebrating turning 9 years old.

Daisy's birthday party was complete with a surprise tennis ball drop at a school-wide assembly.

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The school's robotics team pulled the string to unleash a bunch of tennis balls for the beloved pup.

The school had been taking tennis ball donations to complete her unique piñata of sorts. Daisy then paraded through the school collecting the donated toys from students on her way to the gym for the drop.

And at the assembly, students and staff sang "Happy Birthday" to Daisy.

"I think it's a really important event for the school. It's a moment of healing in a way, a moment of celebration ahead of May 7 and just a recognition of having the support that students need to overcome that," Highlands Ranch STEM School Robotics Team Coach Dakota Mann said.

The celebration of Daisy was one of the school's resiliency events students and staff are having as they prepare to mark the 5-year mark since the shooting on campus.

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Follow Up

Nearly $70,000 donated to construct memorial to 2019 STEM School shooting hero

Sydney Isenberg
8:17 PM, Mar 07, 2024

Daisy was introduced to the school in the spring of the 2020-2021 school year following the shooting of Kendrick Castillo, a student at STEM School Highlands Ranch, on May 7, 2019.

"Daisy was a shoulder to cry on, somebody to lean to without any judgment, so it feels right to give back and I'm glad robotics could do that," Mann said.

The resiliency events from May 6 through May 12 are called #STEMShares.

"STEMShares is our way of thanking and giving back to the community, showing our appreciation for everyone who helped us out during May 7. It's also our way of honoring Kendrick Castillo," Amrit Ahuja, the president of Student Advisory at Highlands Ranch STEM School said.

Last month, Douglas County reached nearly $70,000 to fund the building of a memorial to Castillo. He's remembered as hero for charging the gunman inside the school, giving his classmates time to hide and run.

The Kendrick Castillo Memorial Fund and Oversight Committee is spearheading the movement to create a memorial.

Douglas County and the Douglas County Community Foundation (DCCF) set a goal of $30,000 for the monument and memorial. All contributions that surpass the goal will go towards scholarships in Kendrick's honor.

You can learn more and donate here.

Highlands Ranch school dog to get amazing birthday treat


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