Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rachel's Challenge

My school had a special guest talk to us today. It wasn't a normal assembly like the ones we usually have at school. This assembly was a lot more touching and inspirational than any other assembly. This assembly was Rachel's Challenge where the speakers challenged us to make a difference in other's lives.

On April 20, 1999, the worst high school shooting occurred in Littleton, Colorado at Columbine High School. 2 students walked into the school with guns and fired at the students and teachers. 12 students and one teacher were killed and the gunmen shot themselves. The first to be killed of the students was Rachel Joy Scott. Rachel had this theory that if someone went out of their way to show kindness, it would start a chain reaction. A few weeks before the shooting, Rachel wrote an essay about her ethics and her codes of life. In the essay she said, "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 will go." Rachel lived her life by that standard.

A few weeks her death, her family found something that she had written when she was 13. On the back of her dresser, she drew the outlines of her hands and in the middle she wrote, "These hands belong to Rachel Joey Scott and will someday touch millions of people's hearts." Rachel had a premonition that she was going to die young. She wrote about it in her journal and also about her codes of life. On the back of her journal, she wrote,"I will not be labeled as average." Rachel wanted to make sure that she would start a chain reaction of compassion and kindness and that is exactly what she did.

At the end of Rachel's Challenge, they challenged us to 5 things;
  1. Look for the best in others- eliminate prejudice
  2. Dare to dream- set goals and keep a journal
  3. choose positive influences- input determines output
  4. Little acts of kindness- use kind words
  5. Start a chain reaction!

Rachel reached out to 3 groups of kids; the new students, the disabled students, and the ones that have been put down or pushed down. During Rachel's Challenge, they talked about a new student who had just moved to Colorado from Georgia. She was sitting alone at a lunch table and Rachel was the only one who seemed to notice. Rachel went over to the table and introduced herself, and even though the girl said she didn't want to sit with Rachel and her friends, Rachel still brought her friends over to her table. Later Rachel would find out that a month earlier, the girl's mom had just died in a car accident and that is why her dad moved her and her brother to Colorado.

They also told a story of a boy who was disabled and picked on all the time. The day Rachel became his friend, two other boys were picking on him and pushing him against the lockers. Rachel intervened and told the boys to back off or they could fight her. The boys backed off and Rachel became friends with the boy. It wasn't until after Rachel's death that the boy told Rachel's family that the day she intervened, was the day the boy had planned to take his own life. Rachel had no idea that she had saved his life.

Rachel's challenge has inspired me to make a difference. Rachel lived by her theory that a little bit of kindness would start a chain reaction. I agree with Rachel's way of life. Just because someone may be different or even new to the school doesn't mean that they should be treated differently. This doesn't have to be just in school. You can do this anywhere you want to. Whether its at school, work, or even if you see someone that may need help carrying groceries to their car. Even a simple hello or a smile can make someones day. You too can start a chain reaction. The chain reaction has to start with you.

*I got all the information from Rachelschallenge.com

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