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STEM School Highlands Hero, Kendrick Castillo, Named Knight of Columbus


Castillo family given Caritas Award at organization’s annual convention

Maria and John Castillo

Castillo family given caritas award at organization’s annual convention

MINNEAPOLIS –Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old hero who charged a shooter at his suburban Denver high school in May to save the lives of his classmates this year, was posthumously named a Knight of Columbus at the organization’s Supreme Convention in Minneapolis. Castillo’s parents were also presented the Caritas Medal, the second-highest honor of the Knights of Columbus.

Castillo was the only student to die in the shooting that day at STEM School Highlands Ranch. Kendrick’s father is an active member of the Knights, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization, and Kendrick planned to join the Knights following his high school graduation. Kendrick’s parents, John and Maria Castillo, accepted the Caritas Medal on his behalf. Kendrick is just the fourth recipient of the award, which was created in 2013 to recognize extraordinary acts of charity and service.

After remarking on the heroism of Kendrick’s actions in an address to more than 2,000 convention attendees, Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson asked the audience if they agreed that Castillo should be granted full membership in the organization. The decision to affirm this proposal was unanimous.


“We have made a momentous decision,” said Anderson. “Kendrick wanted to join the Knights of Columbus to be more like us. By your acclamation, you have told the world that we want to be more like him.”

At that moment, Kendrick became a Knight like his father, who is a member of Southwest Denver Council 4844. It is a rare occurrence for an individual to be granted membership posthumously and has happened less than a handful of times in the 137 years since the organization was founded

John Castillo said of his son, “Kendrick wanted to be a Knight because of what he experienced growing up and knowing the good that they did. Without a doubt, Kendrick loved being in the Church, ushering and serving the community.”

Later Tuesday evening, Kendrick’s family was also presented with the Caritas award, a medal featuring an image of the Good Samaritan, which was established by the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors in 2013.

“This award recognizes those who most profoundly embrace our Order’s principle of Charity in their service and sacrifice for others,” said Anderson.

Previous recipients of the award include Paul and Jacob Cortez, a father-son rescue team who took action to save countless lives during Hurricane Harvey; Msgr. Enrique Glennie Grau, rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico City; and Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church and St. Virgilius Knights of Columbus Council 185 of Newtown, Conn., for their work in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shooting.

About the Knights of Columbus

The Knights of Columbus is a fraternity of Catholic men striving to better ourselves and our world by building a bridge back to faith, assisting the sick and disabled, and protecting those who can’t protect themselves—whether they are next door or around the world. In the Knights’ 2018 business year, which ended June 30, the organization gave $185.7 million to charity and donated 76.7 million hours of hands-on service.

The Knights’ nearly two million members come from many places, backgrounds and stages in their lives but share a commitment to investing their time, efforts and resources into activities that reflect their faith and values.

The Knights of Columbus is also a top-rated Fortune 1000 insurance company, which grew out of our founding in 1882 by Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney who sought to ensure the protection and care of members’ families. For more information, visit www.kofc.org.