Dear STEM School Highlands Ranch Community,

Today marks five years since our school and community were impacted by tragedy and experienced incredible heroism.

On May 7, 2019, two students carried out a plan of evil and harm on our community. In a selfless act of heroism, Kendrick Castillo lost his life, saving countless others. Seven students were injured during the shooting, and countless others were impacted emotionally.

The impacts of this event will forever be felt by our community. As we continue to walk through our healing process, we must remember that each of our healing journeys is different, but as a community, we will always be there for one another.

I want to take a moment to thank the staff and clinicians at the Center for Strength, who have done a tremendous job of providing resources and support to our community. The Center’s grant will be coming to an end at the end of this month, but its positive impact on our community will be felt for years to come. We are extremely grateful for the love and support they have provided.

I also want to thank the first responders from all the different agencies who responded that day. I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank our staff in the building who were there that day. They stepped up to ensure our students were safe in their classrooms, providing comfort in their time of need. We have over 20 staff members who were there that day and are still at STEM, continuing to support our students, school, and community. Their dedication is insurmountable.

Additionally, this week is our annual STEMShares event, created by our Recovery Team in 2020 as a way for our community to come together to do Acts of Service, Acts of Kindness, and/or Acts of Donation. If you are taking part in STEMShares this week and would like to share what you’ve done with our community, please submit via this form.

In closing, I encourage all of us to lean into this tragedy and let the pain and suffering it caused fuel our why in everything we do. It reminds us that each person is important, eye contact is meaningful, a smile is contagious, challenges are an opportunity, and every day is a gift. We are left knowing the power of community and the importance of love!

Please take the time today to spend time with your loved ones and/or give back to our amazing community.

We are #STEMStrongerTogether.

LynAnn Kovalesky, Executive Director