My name is Dakotah and I’m an Alumni and mentor on FRC Team 4418, IMPULSE, who I am speaking on the behalf of. I was the design and marketing lead while I was on the team and am now a design and fabrication mentor. I was extremely close to Kendrick, his rookie year was in 2016 with Stronghold, which was my last year as a team member. I watched this kid grow up from a freshman to soon-to-be mentor, and he was simultaneously like my son and my brother, as I alternated between trusted mentor and cherished friend. I grieve his loss with every component of my being, and the only way I can find strength during these times is by preaching his legacy anywhere that will listen, which is exactly what I will do here.
First off, I would like to let you know that 4418 has heard you. Your outpouring of love, support, and condolences has been nothing short of immense and humbling. At the same time, I can’t say I’m surprised, I have always known the love my robotics family was capable of. Myself and the mentor team have made sure to forward your messages of support on to the team members and the Castillo’s.
I would like to address all of the requests for ways to support the team and family. The best thing you can do is continue all the things you already do now.
Kendrick adored this program, and he was prepared to do anything he could to support our local corner of FRC. There were to many nights myself and Mr. Castillo, 4418’s coach, spent in the manufacturing labs of STEM helping him finish critical assemblies, sometimes until 3 am, because as fabrication lead the buck stopped with him. If it wasn’t done when the meeting was “over”, he stayed until it was finished. A true FRC kid.
This is why I know he would want the community to keep doing what it always has. To be kind, to foster STEM learning and growth in the lives of young people, and to spread the doctrine of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition to a world that, after these events, sorely needs it. And of course building robots. Every bolt you tighten, every assembly you design, is an effort done in Kendrick’s memory, because all he ever wanted was to build cool things.
I’d like to suggest that since the 2020 build season will not have the Stop Build Day we’ve all come to know and dread, I ask that on February 18th, 2020, what would have been Stop Build Day, you take a moment with your teams and robots and remember Kendrick. Maybe you talk about him, leave a memento on your robot, maybe just keep him and 4418 in your thoughts. Anything is appreciated.
For those of you who would like to do something more concrete, we welcome your help. As I hope everyone has seen, the FIRST Inspires Victim Support and Memorial Fund is still active and will remain so as long as there is support. That money, as well as the money gained from the Wells Fargo fund (https://www.kktv.com/content/news/Authorities-warn-of-509667691.html), will go directly to the Castillo’s for them to use however they need or deem appropriate. Those funds are also the only official funds active and are the only one’s 4418 condones. Please do not donate to any other funds or trusts because we cannot verify their legitimacy.
Next, in their infinite compassion, the Castillo’s have made Kendrick’s Celebration of Life open to all FRC, FTC, and FLL teams. If you are in the Colorado area or are interested in attending, please know that you are welcome. Here is the information:
Kendrick Castillo’s Celebration of Life
May 15th at 1:00 pm.
3900 Grace Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO, 80126
In addition, we’ve seen some of the posts proposing a “robot caravan or procession”, and think that’s the best idea since the Noodle Agreement in Recycle Rush. If your team is thinking of coming, you are encouraged to bring your robot in a show of solidarity for 4418. Due to venue limitations and other constraints, this will likely just be a static display as opposed to an actual moving parade, but should be extremely powerful all the same. We’ve been in contact with FIRST Leadership extensively over the past few day’s and they are helping us in coordinating this effort. If you would like to bring a robot to Kendrick’s Celebration of Life, please reach out to Jamee Luce at:
She will help communicate all of the details as they’re created by 4418 and FIRST and organize the event. Note that depending on the response we receive, the venue may not be physically large enough to support all of you, and we may have to find a nearby location. There will be space for you however, someway or another.
Finally, I found a lot of purpose in talking about Kendrick. His life, his achievements, and his love for the elctromechanical. I’ve been reached out to by some news outlets already, which is how I got in touch with FIRST admin. I refuse to allow Kendrick’s memory to disappear, his story must be known. So because of that, I’m putting my email out there for response. I’ll put it in the comments since I can only add 2 links as a new user.
As long as it’s about remembering Kendrick, I will talk to anyone. I will talk to everyone. If you know anyone who wants to do a story about his memory, without any other connotations, feel free to pass on my information. I know I can trust all of you to keep it impartial.
Once again, thank you all for your support. 4418 is forever grateful for everything you’ve already done, as well as everything you have yet to do. We will get through this. And we’ll do it as a community.
- Dakotah Mann
Design Mentor, FRC Team 4418