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Floresville ISD: Accepting Rachel’s Challenge
Lisa and Megan Fox comfort each other Sept. 12 after watching footage of the Columbine massacre in the Floresville High School gym.
FLORESVILLE -- Tears and hugs permeated the crowd gathered in the Floreville High School gymnasium Sept. 12, as young and old alike listened to the story of Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim of the Columbine massacre.
Bill Sanders, a representative of Rachel’s Challenge, gave a presentation explaining the mission of his organization and just how the community of Floresville can get involved.
“Before Rachel died, she had left diaries full of amazing information which was wise beyond her years,” Sanders said. “In one of her writings she wrote this: ‘I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.’ That is the basis for Rachel’s Challenge.”
Rachel Scott’s father and stepmother, Darrell and Sandy Scott, started Rachel’s Challenge after her death with the goal of reaching out to communities nationwide and inviting people to start a chain of kindness, which will continue to grow.
“The whole community has to be a part of the kindness chain,” Sanders said. “It starts at school and spreads at home and through the rest of the community. Rachel’s Challenge aims at spreading kindness and ending the bullying epidemic.”
Students at the Floresville Independent School District campuses spent time Sept. 12 pledging to do acts of kindness, which they wrote on paper chain links. All of the links, more than 3,000 in all, were joined together and brought out at the end of Sanders’ presentation. The chain was long enough to loop around the basketball court three times.
Assistant Superintendent Sherri Bays said students will add a link to the chain throughout the year when they witness someone performing a kind deed.
“The students are going to go out and do the deed they pledged,” Bays said. “After that, when they witness someone else continuing the chain, they will come back and add another link to the chain. Rachel’s Challenge is truly a great program and it has had a positive effect on our students.”
According to Ben Reed in the Floresville school district’s Social Work Services department, everyone in the community and beyond is invited to participate. Find out more about Rachel’s Challenge at www.rachelschallenge.org.
Watch for more on this program throughout the school year.
What is Rachel’s Challenge?
Founded in honor of Rachel Scott, the first victim who died in the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 when two students opened fire on other students, teachers, and administrators at the school, Rachel’s Challenge “is a series of student empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and allay feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion,” according to the program’s website.
The program “is helping create safer learning environments and making a world-wide impact,” the website states.
Rachel “left a legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others, or who were new at her school.” Her writings and drawings have inspired her friends and family, and continue to resonate with students worldwide.
Although much of the program is geared toward students and a safer environment for learning by “re-establishing civility and delivering proactive antidotes to school violence and bullying,” the program also invites the wider community, including businesses, to participate in promoting kindness and caring. What can businesses do? Rachel’s Challenge says:
•”Create an environment of kindness and compassion within the business setting.
•Empower and equip individuals through training with the ability to make a difference in their place of work.
•Inspire and motivate individuals to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.
•Impact the corporation’s bottom-line results -- people, profits and revenue.”
Find out more about the program, its impact, and how you can participate at www.rachelschallenge.org.
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