BETHLEHEM After the death of his daughter Rachel in the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, Darrell Scott realized the writings and drawings she left behind provided comfort not only to her friends and family, but to anyone who read them.
Soon afterwards, Darrell and Sandy Scott, Rachel’s stepmother, began Rachel’s Challenge, a nonprofit organization aimed at creating a “permanent, positive culture change in schools, businesses and communities by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.”
On Thursday, March 7, Rachel’s Challenge will hold three special programs at Bethlehem Central High School. The first two programs will be held during the day and are meant for students, while the third will be held at night and will be open to the public. The event is being brought to the school through a partnership with Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited and the BCHS Student Senate.
“It really takes a community to foster a strong sense of community,” said High School Dean Marna Meltzer about why a program will be made available to the general public. “It’s something important to have to combat those feelings of isolation and develop lasting relationships.”
The first two programs will be a mix of students from grades 10 and 12, and then nine and 11. Meltzer said the idea is to get students out of their grade bubbles to interact with one another, and hopefully the older students will work to mentor the younger ones. All students will attend the assembly. An additional 100 students will then go through a special training to form a local chapter of the Friends of Rachel Club to help pass the information they learn along to other students within the district.
The assembly is 60 minutes long and includes stories from Rachel’s life, along with showcasing some of her writing and drawings. The program asks participants to look for the best in others, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness, and to start their own chain reactions.