DENVER (CBS4) — One of the students who helped take down a shooter at STEM High School Highlands Ranch has graduated from Marine Corps boot camp and has officially earned the title of United States Marine. Brendan Bialy was a poolee when two armed students entered the high school on May 7. A poolee is an individual who has already met all the requirements, signed a contract and taken the Oath of Enlistment but has not yet left for boot camp.
Bialy said the real hero was 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who was the first to try to subdue a suspect.
“I want to make it clear. Kendrick Castillo died a legend,” Bialy said in a news conference the day after the deadly shooting. “Kendrick refused to be a victim.”
Bialy said fellow student Joshua Jones also stepped in to help disarm one of the shooters. Jones was shot twice.
Bialy said he saw the “absolute best” in two people that day.
“I got to see two heroes — two regular high school kids — two really awesome people, jump into action without any hesitation. And I was more than lucky to join them,” Baily said. “Someone entered the building with incredibly malicious intent, using their cowardice, surprise and superior weapons, and they lost. They completely and utterly lost to good people. And that is plain and simple.”
Bialy said he would not let fear motivate the decisions he makes in life.
“It’s a scary thing, you know. I’m not going to pretend it’s not. It’s terrifying,” he said. “But I’m not going to go to to school, I’m not going to go other places fearing myself. I’m not going to let some coward, who decided to exercise his last little pathetic ‘hoorah’ have any determination on my life.”
“The world, there’s bad people out there, but there are a lot of good people out there, too. There is far more good in the world than there is bad. And I promise you that, seriously,” Bialy said.
Bialy, now a Private First Class, departed Monday to begin training at the Marine Corps School of Infantry-West in Camp Pendleton, California, after graduating from Marine Corps boot camp on Sept. 20.
“Honestly, my thoughts on becoming a Marine were nothing but reinforced that day,” Bialy said. “What I saw was complete and total malevolence — bad — overcome by good. I lost an amazing person. The world lost an amazing person — Kendrick Castillo. However, I saw that benevolence won. Legitimately and completely won in that situation.”
During his time at Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego, Bialy earned recognition as the Platoon Honor Man, the highest award for leadership presented to an individual recruit within each training platoon, officials stated.
His father, Brad Bialy, said it puts him at ease, knowing his son is serving his country.
“It’s a battle as a parent — you love your child more than anything in this world,” Brad Bialy said. “At the same time, you understand what he has, you have to share. It’s not really our choice anymore, he’s one of those people… they have to share what they have.”
Following graduation from the School of Infantry, Bialy will begin training in his primary occupational field of Ground Ordnance and Repair, officials said.