HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colorado — On the last day of summer, we sat down with three students to talk about going back to STEM School Highlands Ranch for the fall semester.
On May 7, two shooters killed Senior Kendrick Castillo and injured eight others. Castillo rushed one of the shooters and is credited with saving the lives of his classmates.
Last spring, the school reopened for two days, but students said they did not have a regular schedule or regular classes.
August 7, the new school year will begin and students said this is the first time they can really come back and resume their academic careers.
Seniors Kaitlyn Hunter and Grace Shargel joined Junior Sophia Watts to talk about returning to STEM School Highlands Ranch.
9NEWS: What is your outlook on returning to school?
Sophia: "I'm really excited to see all my teachers again... ...So, a lot of them, the ones I worried about, I want to see them and make sure they're okay."
Grace: "Honestly, I'm not really that worried about it. I'm pretty excited just to go back and graduate."
Kaitlyn: "I'm very excited to go back to school. I think we're all talking about earlier how we are not victims. We are normal high-schoolers and we are very eager to continue our lives."
Why is it so important to return to normal?
Sophia: "This event was abnormal for us because it's just, no one expects it to happen at their own school... ...We just want to get back to a sense of normalcy, so we can just continue our lives as high-schoolers and not be seen as THAT school."
Kaitlyn: "I think even right after the shooting our concerns were just normalcy. When it doesn't feel like anything changed, it's easier to kind of brush it off like memory which is what it is at this point. It's not causing any further harm for us."
And, that's not to say that you're forgetting what happened or forgetting what Kendrick Castillo did or anything like that?
Sophia: "No, of course not."
Kaitlyn: "What Kendrick did was -- we have to live for him... ... He wouldn't want the school to change."
Tell me about the school community.
Sophia: "Our community all came together and supported each other instead of growing further apart as a community, we just got closer."
Grace: "There is kind of a mutual agreement like energy if someone needs something, you're going to go."
If you don't live life normally, does it feel like you're letting the shooters win?
Grace: "I feel like if hold on to it too long and we let it change everything, then I think in a way, we have let them win."
Kaitlyn: "They wanted the power to impact us. It's important that we don't give that to them."
Generally, how is everybody doing right now?
Kaitlyn: "I think we're in a relatively good place. I think there's obviously some things we all need to get past still, but I think we're closer than ever."
Grace: "We all became really close friends."
Sophia: "It's going to be an interesting year, but I think it'll be fun."
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