NewsSTEM School Shooting


Douglas County leaders designate spot for memorial to 2019 STEM School shooting hero

Kendrick Castillo Memorial designation
Posted at 7:45 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 23:59:19-05

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Douglas County leaders have formally dedicated the space for a future memorial to Kendrick Castillo, the student killed in the STEM School shooting in 2019. Castillo is remembered as a hero for charging the gunman inside the school, giving his classmates time to hide and run.

During a gathering at the Civic Green Park in Highlands Ranch Monday, Castillo’s parents joined Douglas County commissioners and officials as they announced the location of the future monument and memorial, as well as a proposal to rename the nearby Lucent Boulevard as “Kendrick Castillo Way.” A plaque was unveiled with Castillo’s picture and a QR code that will direct visitors to an online donation portal to contribute to the project. The county is working with the Douglas County Community Foundation (DCCF) to raise donations.

“We cannot forget what Kendrick did,” said Douglas County Sheriff Darren Weekly during the announcement. “He stood and gave his own life to defend the lives of his classmates.”

Kendrick Castillo’s father, John Castillo, said the memorial and renamed boulevard “would mean so much” to him and his wife, who visit their son’s grave every day. The location at Civic Green Park is meaningful, as it just down the road from STEM School and adjacent to a library where Kendrick and his friends would often work on their school projects. Castillo hopes a permanent tribute to his son will keep his memory alive and inspire the community to push for important change. Kendrick Castillo would be approaching his 23rd birthday this Monday.

“As time goes on, we tend to, as survivors, feel that our tragedy gets overpowered by the next event, the next school shooting. They continue to happen, which is unfortunate,” John Castillo said. “The lesson of Kendrick that day, standing up and staying ‘it stops with me, I’m going to make a difference,’ today is a valuable thing … When somebody’s eating Chick-fil-A and returning to school, or somebody’s had a rough day at work, [and] they look up and they realize that somebody paid the ultimate price—I think there’s value in that in our society.”

The memorial creation is being led by the Kendrick Castillo Memorial Fund and Oversight Committee, which was formed following the shooting to identify ways to memorialize Kendrick for his heroism. The Board of Douglas County Commissioners also committed $13 million in public funds to improve school safety and mental health services in Douglas County schools.

Douglas County and DCCF have a goal of $30,000 in donations for the monument and memorial, and have pledged all contributions over that amount to a scholarship in Kendrick Castillo’s honor. You can learn more and donate here.

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