When the White River School District accepted Rachel’s Challenge four years ago, it could not have known how the program would grow and spread.
With their neighboring districts, Enumclaw and Sumner, joining this fall, White River leaders couldn’t be more pleased with the continued strength of their program and the cultural changes its made on their campuses.
“After doing this for so many years, we’ve been able to sustain the clubs and maintain the culture on both campuses,” said Herb Entz, who leads many of the district’s programs.
Rachel Scott was the first student killed during the 1999 tragedy at Colorado’s Columbine High School. Her acts of kindness and her diaries have become the base for a number of community programs across the country.
This is the fourth year for Rachel’s Challenge at White River High School and the third year for its Chain Links program at Glacier Middle School.
“What we like about these programs are they target regular average students,” Entz said. “They’re not typical kids who are involved in school. It’s also nice to see Enumclaw and Sumner jumping on board. We’re very excited about Sumner and Enumclaw joining on.”
White River High students recently kicked off the year with a quick initial gathering.
“Seventy-five kids showed up at the firs meeting of the high school’s Friends of Rachel Club,” Entz said. “We were completely blown away. A third were freshmen who came from the ChainLinks club at Glacier Middle school.”
Glacier Middle School starts its program with a school assembly Tuesday and a parent program that night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the school’s annex auditorium. The high school’s program is set for Oct. 20 with a parent night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the WRHS theater.
Entz said he’s excited about how the Rachel’s Challenge message ties in with the middle school’s WEB, Where Everybody Belongs, program.
Part of Rachel’s Challenge is to create a paper chain with links of kindness.
This year, the White River program will have each school in the district filling out kindness links. At GMS, for example, the links will be handed out for acts of kindness and then run throughout the building. They links will tie in with the school’s Grizzly Way – Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible.
“Which is a perfect fit,” Entz said. “Every school in the district has a ‘way.’”
Entz said he’d like to see all the links at each school hooked together for one big chain. In Enumclaw, the community is also creating a paper chain of kindness, hoping to collect 2-miles worth. Entz is challenge White River to match Enumclaw.
“I think it’s a good challenge,” Entz said. “It’s like who can raise the most money for WorldVision. I’d also challenge Sumner. We could get a chain all the way from Black Diamond to Sumner. How cool would that be?”