Kendrick Castillo Memorial Tournament honors STEM shooting hero

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School gymnasiums are typically filled with the cacophony of competition, and Saturday was no different at Denver’s East High School. But, it wasn’t athletes trying to win the day.

“We’re running these large robots in a field to complete certain tasks,” said Katie Butler of first robotics competition team 4418, also known as Team IMPULSE. “We’re more than just a team. We’re focused on helping each person learn and grow.”

With growing comes pain, something this team knows all too well. Team IMPULSE is from STEM School Highlands Ranch. Kendrick Castillo was their teammate. Today’s tournament is named in his honor.

“All of these kids are like him in so many ways,” said Joel Noble, East High’s robotics coach. “We want a world where people are caring about each other, supporting each other, and making a difference.”

Noble helped organize todays competition. He supervises students in science, technology, engineering, and math. But, he also leads them in life lessons.

“They run into adversity and things that go wrong, and instead of stopping, they fix it,” said Noble. “They approach robotics that way, and they’re approaching life that way. And that’s what this is about. We’re building more than robots, we’re building people.”

Team 4418 will take those lessons from East High’s gymnasium, and carry them forever into the future.

*Reporting by photojournalist Shawn Sienkiewicz

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