by Marianne Morf
It isn’t always the lessons that are tough on kids at school. It’s the kids.
Bullying has made its way from the school yards into the schools and even cyberspace, say school leaders.
Cathy Spotts, guidance counselor at Clear Lake High School, said bullying has become one of the biggest challenges facing schools today.
Enter Rachel’s Challenge.
CLHS students recently learned about Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel Scott was the first person killed at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. on April 20, 1999. Her acts of kindness and compassion, coupled with the contents of her six diaries, have become the foundation for a movement. Rachel had been keeping a journal with a simple, but ambitious plan-- improve the world using kindness and compassion. Rachel’s dad, Darrell Scott, started Rachel’s Challenge after reading an essay she wrote about her ethics. In the essay, she challenged readers about a month before she died to start a “chain reaction.”
The five-step challenge is: 1. Look for the best in others. 2. Dream big. 3. Choose positive influences. 4. Speak with kindness. 5. Start your own chain reaction.
Cristy Krines, of RC Marketing based in Colorado, brought Rachel’s Challenge to CLHS after students suggested a guest speaker would be an effective way to address bullying. Krines presented a powerful one and one-half hour program to all CLHS students, weaving Rachel’s story with news footage and interviews from the tragedy at Columbine.
That afternoon when CLHS teachers met with their mentor groups, they chose students who would like to take part in Leadership Peer Training. That group then took part in a training session to help them sustain the momentum created by the Rachel’s Challenge assembly, explained Spotts.
The F.O.R. (Friends of Rachel) Club is still in its infancy, but its future looks promising.
Senior C.J. Nichols is part of the leadership for the club. He said the group is currently keeping the topic at the forefront of mentor group discussions in an effort to build unity at the school. In the future the students hope to take their message to the community at-large.
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