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‘Rachel’s Challenge’ comes to Potosi

Rachel Joy Scott had a premonition that she would die at a young age, but that she would touch millions of hearts.

Both parts of that premonition came true.

Rachel, 17, was murdered April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School. Through a program developed by her family that spreads Rachel’s emphasis on compassion, she has, indeed, touched millions since her death.

Thursday, her message comes to Potosi when the school district presents &#8220Rachel’s Challenge” to students in grades 6-12 and the community at large.

&#8220What’s really neat about the program is, it gets you emotionally involved immediately,” said A+ Coordinator Tammy Finley, who led the efforts to bring the program to Potosi. &#8220It challenges students to perform acts of compassion and kindness and it points out that the little things you do truly make a difference.”

Darrell Scott, Rachel’s father, built the program around his daughter’s acts of kindness, her six diaries and an essay she wrote, &#8220My Ethics, My Codes of Life.” In that essay, Rachel challenged her peers to begin a &#8220chain reaction of compassion” in their schools.

The program includes three parts: a one-hour assembly with speakers and a video of Rachel’s life and the events of Columbine; a 45-minute training program for students considered leaders by their peers; and an evening session for parents and other members of the community that is similar to the assembly for students.

Due to the subject and content of the film, the evening program is recommended for those age 12 and older.

Finley first learned about the program when she heard Darrell Scott speak at a conference.

&#8220It emotionally impacted me,” she said. &#8220Hearing how she stopped to care and ask and how that truly saved lives and made a difference – it leaves people with energy to go and make a positive change.”

After the assembly, students will fill out a worksheet that helps them process what they learned. The students will choose approximately 40 of their peers for leadership training. The leaders will receive a manual with activities and handouts to share during the year so that Rachel’s message remains fresh in their minds. The students, along with teachers and administrators, will work in small groups to find ways to begin motivating other students in a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.

Involving the parents and community is important to reinforce the need for kindness and provide a consistent message, Finley said.

&#8220We’re hoping to have everyone on the same page regarding expectations for children, and for adults as well,” she explained.

Cost to bring the program to Potosi was paid by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, Finley said.

The evening program is free and runs from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Potosi High School Gymnasium. For more information, call Finley at 438-2156.

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