"The little boy was missing his mom," Molis said. "Kendrick walked over, put his arm around him and told him it was going to be ok."
She remembered a student who "respected everyone and always did his best." She remembered that he liked to get dressed up for school plays as a cowboy or a pilgrim, but when it came to all-school Masses, he donned a three-piece suit.
She remembered his ability to figure out "anything technology related," and how by the time he was a 6th grader, he became a sort of pseudo IT technician for his teachers, helping them with computer issues. She remembered his bright smile, quick wit, and willingness to collaborate with his teachers in playing jokes on his fellow classmates.
Most of all, she remembered how he served others.
"He seemed to be happiest serving others, and he did this humbly," she said, whether it was working in the background to put on the school talent show, making and serving pancakes for the Knights of Columbus, DJing school dances, leading the computer club, or serving on the student council.
"He was the first to arrive and last to leave at school and church functions," she said.
"He was the epitome of a young Christian man, and an inspiration to everyone who was lucky enough to know him," Molis said. "We love you, Kendrick. We are all better people for having known him."
Jordan Monk, Kendrick's best friend, said they first met as freshmen in an engines class in high school. When it became clear that Kendrick knew the most about engines in the class, Monk jumped at the chance to become his lab partner.
"Our friendship started purely out of survival instincts," Monk said. "I wanted an A in that class, and found the best way to do so."
But after just one class period, "I like many others knew there was something special about Kendrick. I'd figured we'd get along just fine as lab partners, but I had no idea he'd have such a profound impact on my life."
The two bonded over lab projects and mishaps, and soon became best friends.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
"Teachers had a love-hate relationship with us," Monk said. "They loved us because of the joy and laughter that we brought to class, but that joy and laughter was apparently distracting for some students."
When they weren't in school, Monk spent hours with Kendrick in his backyard, where they would tinker on mini-bikes or golf carts, and on their cars once they got their licenses.
"We changed brakes and oil...and detailed our cars almost religiously," Monk said. "Whenever I was able to drag (Kendrick) to our school dances, we always had the two cleanest rides."
Monk recalled a favorite memory with Kendrick, when they dressed up as the main characters from the movie Wayne's World, and drove around with their car tops down, fake mullets flowing in the wind, and Queen blasting on the radio.
"The only sound you could hear over Bohemian Rhapsody was our laughter," Monk recalled. He said he and Kendrick often were up to things that could be considered weird, but they didn't care, "because we had the time of our lives doing it."
At the end of the celebration, Kendrick's father, John, addressed the crowd. He thanked the school and church communities and first responders for their care and support, and said he has "felt the love of thousands" in the days since his son's death.