Every month during the school year, CBS4, along with PDC Energy, honor a high school student who excels in science, technology, engineering or math, STEM. The Future Leaders winner gets $1,000 and profile on CBS4 News.

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) –  The April Future Leaders winner is Kadin Denner, a senior at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora. For his senior project, Denner is building a robot.

(credit CBS)

“Me and my friend decided to do kind of like a robot thing, because we were always fascinated by how the internals worked on those robots,” he said.

Together, they’re building the boards and coding the components. It’s a learning experience sparked by a home repair project.

“When our furnace pretty much broke, because it was like our original furnace, when the repairmen came over and took it apart, they taught me all the electrical components. What goes where, and how to see stuff like that. And I was like, ‘Wow, this is really cool!’” Denner explained.

(credit Kadin Denner)

Denner had to step up and start taking care of his family’s home after his father died in 2013. Officer Kevin Denner died in a motorcycle crash.

“It pushed me as a person because, I think, it made me tougher in some ways, because if I could take this loss and just keep progressing forward, I was just going to be stronger in the end,” Denner told CBS4’s Ashton Altieri.

Denner shows his strength in the swimming pool. He helped his team win a state championship.

“I’ve always been around like top 10-ish in the state, pretty much since I was 10 years old,” he said.

(credit Kadin Denner)

“Tell me about your plans after graduation,” said Altieri.

“After graduation, I’m planning to attend California State University Bakersfield, and it’s a Division 1 school. And I am planning to swim there and going into an electrical engineering major,” Denner replied.

LINK: Learn More About Future Leaders

Libby Smith