Rachel’s Challenge comes to high school

White River High School students will be given the opportunity Friday to accept Rachel’s Challenge.

White River High School students will be given the opportunity Friday to accept Rachel’s Challenge.

Rachel Scott was the first person killed at Colorado’s Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. Her challenge, presented through her family, is to make permanent, positive, cultural changes in their schools and communities by accepting the challenge to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.

Before her death, Rachel wrote an essay titled “My Ethics, My Codes of Life.”

“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,” she wrote. “People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”

Her father, Darrell Scott, said it wasn’t a theory, it was something Rachel had been practicing for years.

Her family also found, behind a dresser, a place where Rachel had outlined her hand prints and wrote, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will some day touch millions of people’s hearts.”

In a short time, Rachel’s Challenge has reached 5 million people around the world. Her story and her challenge have been featured on Oprah, Larry King Live and the Today Show.

Michelle Martinez, who with her fellow White River Prevention Team members are overseeing the project, said the assembly and the follow-up program is said to be incredibly powerful.

“The kids are pumped up about this,” Martinez said. “There’s a real cultural change occuring in our community.”

White River students are the driving force behind the assembly, Martinez said, “This is something SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving), Diversity Club, DECA and Key Club wanted to do.”

White River’s DECA organization is footing the bill for half the assembly. The other half is covered by a grant through Pierce County, a process that started two years ago.

There will be two one-hour assemblies for the White River High student body and 60 additional students will get in-depth training to plan more activities. To ensure the program’s impact, schools are provided curriculum and training manual as follow up.

The Prevention Team is also providing an opportunity for parents and community members to participate with a program at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 in the high school’s theater. A reception period will be provided at 6:30 p.m.

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

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