To start a chain reaction of love and kindness. That was the message of Rachel Joy Scott, victim of one of the worst high school shootings in this country’s history that occurred at Columbine High School in 1999. This message was also spread to students at Sierra Vista Junior High School during an assembly called Rachel’s Challenge held earlier today.
The assembly highlighted the events of the Columbine shooting and it also used excerpts from Rachel’s diary to share her thoughts on dreams, goals, and treating others with kindness and compassion.
Todd Lauderdale presented Rachel’s story to Sierra Vista students and feels strongly about the cause of stopping bullying and spreading kindness and understanding.
“This message that we give is really a message to challenge students to do better with their own lives, make better decisions to treat each other with basic common courtesy, kindness, and compassion,” Lauderdale said.
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The assembly featured video recordings of Rachel’s family members and their personal stories on how Rachel and the shooting at Columbine affected their lives. It also presented students with five challenges that outlined the importance of believing in oneself, appreciating others, spreading positivity, and forgiving oneself as well as others.
After the assembly, a select number of students were invited to take part in special training in order to accept the challenges presented in the assembly and form the Chain Links Club for students on campus.
“Students have been so inspired to carry on the chain of kindness,” Lauderdale said. “Schools have focused a lot on education and academics, and maybe there hasn’t been as much emphasis on morality and just treating each other with common decency.” Lauderdale said of the issue of bullying in schools.
The issue of bullying may be on the rise but Sierra Vista Principal, Mark Crawford, said that allowing students to reach out to others and teach each other how to be respectful is a way in preventing bullying, and they have many programs on campus that convey this message.
“We encourage students to come to us with issues and we also let them know we are here to support them.” Crawford said.
Rachel’s Challenge has inspired and touched the hearts of over 13 million students in the United States as well as other countries.
For more information on Rachel’s Challenge, click here.