Rachel's Challenge Coming to Middletown Schools

posted Sep 5, 2012, 5:27 AM by Korby Olson

The popular Rachel's Challenge educational program will be presented to the students of the Middletown Unified School District next week.  There will be assemblies for the students at all of the district schools on September 10th, 11th and 12th and two community presentations, one on September 11th at 7:00 PM for elementary parents, and one on September 12th for parents of middle school and high school students also at 7:00 PM.  Both evening programs will be held in the Tallman Gymnasium.  The program kicks of a district-wide effort to combat bullying and promote civility in the schools.

The program hopes to encourage students, school faculty, parents and other community members to adopt Rachel's Five Challenges as everyday facets of their lives. Rachel's five challenges include eliminating prejudice, setting goals and following dreams, choosing one's own influences, offering small acts of kindness every day, and finally, starting a chain reaction of such positive ideals with family and friends.

The educational program has gained widespread national notoriety -- as well as praise from educators and parents alike -- on the strength of its message: Kindness, compassion and "positive chain reactions."

The program is named in honor of Rachel Scott, a junior at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colo., who was the first of 15 students killed in the school's tragic April 20, 1999 shooting massacre. She was 17.  

Started in 2000 by Rachel's father, Darrell Scott, Rachel's Challenge is an anti-violence, anti-bullying program that strives to spread kindness instead of physicality and understanding in lieu of intimidation. The program was founded on the basis of Rachel Scott's enduring positive outlook throughout her brief life, as well as the many diary entries she left behind.

The assemblies begin with a brief video presentation explaining the Columbine school shootings to the viewers, in an effort to add a bit of background and context to the program. As it continues, the assembly showcases some of those who knew Rachel, allowing them the opportunity to discuss how Rachel positively impacted their lives. This one hour "multimedia assembly" is said to be "emotionally charged," and it sets the stage for the 90-minute training session for adult and student leaders that follows.

The Rachel's Challenge website calls the training portion of the program a "fun, intimate teaching setting that gets students involved."  This section also introduces the "Friends of Rachel" (FOR) club, and intends to continue the message of the program, ultimately bringing about positive changes in all schools.

For more information, visit www.rachelschallenge.com.