“Rachel’s Challenge” comes to North High School, inspires people to be kind to one another

It has been 16 years since the tragic shooting at Columbine High School, but the story of the first student shot and killed that day continues to live on.

The students at North High School took part in a special anti-bullying program that honors and celebrates the life of Rachel Scott.

It’s called “Rachel’s Challenge” and it was started by the family of Rachel Scott.

The program includes news video clips and 911 recordings of the school shooting on April 20, 1999.

However, the presentation came to life for the students when they learned of her character through her diary, drawings and memoirs she left behind.

“It makes it really real. Before it was this abstract herbal thing that had happened, now it’s more personal for every student who heard this message,” said Jade Henry, ASB president.

Organizers say, while her life was tragically cut short, her shining example of kindness and compassion was not defeated that day.

“As far as that tragedy, no one ever does anything like that when they’re loved. If we could show every student that they’re loved, cared for and valued, there is no reason that would ever happen again,” said Conner Marden, student.

After the presentation, students who wanted to accept the challenge signed a banner to show their commitment.

Administrators at the school adopted a follow-up program aimed at keeping the message going.

“Follow-up is important because they are teenagers. Most of them play video games, hit game over when they’re done and move on to the next thing. This club is meant to reiterate the message they heard, so it’ll take hold in their lives,” said Anne Dearmore, school counselor.

Rachel’s Challenge inspires others to:

•Look for the best in others

•Dream big

•Choose positive influences

•Speak with kindness

•Start your own chain reaction

More than 21 million people have been touched by Rachel’s message, and they continue the legacy of making a difference in their communities. Each year, at least two million more people are added to that number.

The presentation at North High School was made possible thanks to the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation and in partnership with Kevin Harvick.

A separate program for the community will be held inside North High’s auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The school’s auditorium is located on Stockton Avenue.