News and Tribune

Education/Schools

September 16, 2013

Spreading the word: The message of Rachel’s Challenge persists at Jeffersonville High

JEFFERSONVILLE —

A week after her story sent tears rolling down the faces of students at Jeffersonville High School, the message of kindness left behind by Rachel Joy Scott still seems to stick around in the hallways.

Scott was killed in the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. But a program started by her father and stepmother, Rachel’s Challenge, focuses on her kindness and how it can improve a school environment.

Though students have had some time away from the presentation at the end of August, Rachel Williams, senior, said she thinks the message has stuck with students who attended the school-wide event and the leadership training seminar.

“I think there’s definitely still a positive wave going on through Jeff High,” Williams said. “I genuinely see people trying to make an effort to get out of their comfort zone, even if it’s as simple as a smile.”

Scott was the first person killed in the shooting. Her parents centered Rachel’s Challenge around her ideas of compassion spreading naturally from one person to another.

During the senior seminar, students learned techniques for combating the behavior of bullies without attacking the bully and reaching out to those who seem withdrawn.

Chandler Dale, another senior who signed up for the training seminar, said Scott’s story touched students more than a lot of programs have.

“Not everybody’s an emotional person, but I don’t think I saw one person who wasn’t crying or had some tears in their eyes,” Dale said. “When they see something like that and they see the world isn’t perfect, they’re moved to try to make the best of every day, every moment, every situation they’re in.”

Williams said though some school programs can lose their effect relatively soon after they’re over, she’s seeing Rachel’s Challenge persist.

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