"Rachel's Challenge" moves students toward non-violence - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

"Rachel's Challenge" moves students toward non-violence

Lawton_"People will never know how far a little kindness can go," were the words of Rachel Joy Scott - the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.  Her outlook on life and acts of kindness are the foundation of the non-violence school program, "Rachel's Challenge."  On Wednesday, her story was shared with students at Lawton High School with the goal of inspiring students to respect others with the hope of school violence being prevented.  Since its inception, the program has been presented to more than 10 million people.

It was an emotional day that brought many students to tears as diary entries were shared of a girl whose life was cut short.  The words showed the students that Rachel knew she wasn't going to live a long life, and instead wanted to leave her impact on the world.  Her traced hands had, "These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott, and will someday touch millions of peoples heart," on them, and her written words pass along the same message.  "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.  Rachel's legacy is teaching students how far a little kindness can go.  However, her story wasn't sparked from kindness - it came from hatred and cruelty. 

Shane Hamman travels the country telling Rachel's story.  He was once dubbed the strongest man in the world, but the former Olympian says he was so touched by her message that he retired from weight lifting to speak to students across the nation.  "[To] help the kids out, help them make better decisions, and see if we can change the environment of the school in a better way," he said. 

The program teaches with five challenges:

  • Eliminate prejudice
  • Dare to dream, set goals, and keep a journal (some of Rachel's key messages came from her six diaries)
  • Choose more positive influences
  • Kind words and little acts of kindness have huge results
  • Start a chain reaction of love

Rachel's messages seemed to touch the students at Lawton High.  "It kind of makes you think of the impact you have on other people's lives - whether good or bad," said 11th grader Lacy Reinke.  "It made me feel like a lot of people can make a difference in the world no matter what - it just takes one person," said 10th grader Abby Brenke.

Perhaps the diary entries - written months and weeks before she died - predicted a fate no one could have imagined.  "It isn't suicide, I consider it homicide," she wrote.  "The world you have created has led to my death.  This will be my last year, Lord.  I've gotten what I can.  Thank you."  In videos, Rachel's friends and family all repeated the same message - words she spoke time and time again:  "I'm going to have an impact on the world."  This program is proof she did.  Rachel's Challenge will be presented again on Thursday night as a part of "Parent University" at the McMahon Auditorium at 7 p.m.  The presentation is open to the public, whether or not they have children enrolled in Lawton Public Schools.

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