Massapequa High School, Ames Campus Students Accept Rachel's Challenge on September 20, 2007 by Steven Sohmer and Alyssa-Rae
Principle Barbara Williams and Rachel's family friend, Derek Kilgore
On Thursday, September 20, 2007, Rachel’s Challenge, a presentation about the life of Rachel Joy Scott, came to Massapequa High School, Ames Campus.Rachel was one of the thirteen individuals who's lives were cut short due to the horrific 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. Rachel admired Anne Frank, with whom her life parallels closely.Both believed that one day their ideals would in some way impact the world and both knew it would take unconditional trust and kindness from each person before the world would see a change for the better.
Massapequa Students Accept Rachel's Challenge
On April 20, 1999, one of the worst school shootings to date took place at Columbine High School.One teacher and twelve students, including 16-year-old Rachel Scott, were brutally murdered by two students paying homage to Adolf Hitler. In the end, they took their own lives in a desperate attempt to escape reality; however the reality of what they did scars the lives of the victims’ families every day.
Rachel’s family started spreading the word about her life, philosophy and beliefs shortly after the shooting.Touring the Country, they speak at schools in the hopes of impacting young people to do the "right" thing.Many schools have adopted “Rachel’s Challenge,” and perpetuate the "chain reaction” of good deeds.They are still touring the states, spreading the principles and values of Rachel Scott:
1. Eliminate Prejudice: Look for the best in people.By not judging someone negatively, you increase your chances of getting to know the real person inside and the opportunity to make a good friend.
2. Dare to Dream:Set goals and keep a journal. Over time, you will notice that there are recurring themes in your journal and you will see how an event that impacted you a month ago could very well impact you again. Set your goals high and reach for the stars.
3. Choose Positive Influences:Select a role model and positive people. It is easy to make good choices when you surround yourself with people that already make good choices.Surround yourself with people that you are comfortable with and who make you feel good about yourself.
4. Little Acts of Kindness: By sitting with someone at lunch or complimenting someone, you can change how that person is feeling or their perspective of themselves for the better.Imagine being a new student and not knowing anyone.Wouldn’t you want someone to approach to you and show kindness to you?One compliment could change your day from the worst ever to one of the best ever.
5. Start A Chain Reaction: By committing little acts of kindness you can start a chain reaction of good deeds.By doing something nice for someone, you will likely inspire them to go out and do the same for someone else.A good deed can go a long way.
Similar to Rachel Scott, Anne Frank believed in simple kindness and good deeds toward others.She also kept a journal while in hiding from the Nazis, the popular Anne Frank’s Diary.Anne Frank was killed in a concentration camp under Hitler during World War II, in March, 1945.
According to friends and family, Rachel had had premonitions about making a difference in the world, but not living to see it. Her premonitions came true.In her journal, she’d written such entries as, “This is my last year, I have gotten what I can.” Always learning another lesson about doing good deeds from the people around her, and always encouraging others to do right, she wrote a paper challenging her readers to start a chain reaction of kind words and actions.
People throughout the Country are accepting Rachel's Challenge. Committing random acts of kindness such as saying "hello" or simply smiling at a stranger is setting off an immeasurable chain reaction.The life and beliefs of Rachel Scott are heard and taken to heart by young people everywhere.The world will never forget Rachel Joy Scott (August 5, 1981 - April 20, 1999); "trust, compassion and beauty will make this world a better place to be in and this life a better one to live...test them for yourself, and see the kind of effect they have in the lives of people around you.You just may start a chain reaction."
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