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Rachel Scott dreamed of a safer world
Be kind to others
, Courier Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 11:00 AM
Trimble County High School students listen to the Rachel’s Challenge presentation at the school on Monday. Peter DeAnello, a friend of Rachel Scott’s family, talked about the teenager’s death in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings and about her challenge to start a “chain reaction” of kindness to others. The challenge was made in an essay Scott wrote before her murder. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
Former Columbine High School student Rachel Joy Scott continues to touch thousands of lives - even after her death.
Scott was killed during a shooting at the school more than 14 years ago.
Scott, the first person killed during the Littleton, Colo. shooting in 1999, always wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. One way she did that was by performing little acts of kindness and writing about how she wanted to make a change in the world.
Little did Scott realize the work she began would continue years after her life was taken by two gunmen.
Rachel's Challenge, an anti-bullying program, came to Trimble County on Monday. High school and middle school students were urged to be part of a "chain reaction" of kindness that Scott wrote about weeks before she was killed.
Peter DeAnello, a friend of the family, presented Scott's story to students during school assemblies and at a community assembly.
DeAnello told students Scott often befriended those new to the school or bullied by others. While she might have never known the extent of her kindness, several students told Scott's parents after her death about how she positively affected their lives.
"If you're looking for the worst, you can find it," DeAnello said. "If you look for the best, you can find that too."
DeAnello presented four challenges to students. Many of them were taken from the diaries, writings and thoughts from friends of Scott throughout the last few years of her life.
He asked students to rid themselves of prejudices, to dream big and turn those dreams into goals, to choose positive influences and to speak with kindness.
"We have the power to guide our words in a positive way," he said.
Trimble County Schools Superintendent Marcia Dunaway said the presentation addressed one of the biggest "buzz words" in education today - bullying. Even though bullying doesn't seem to be a major issue in Trimble County, it does exist in the schools as it does nearly everywhere else throughout the country.
Denise Hall with the Trimble County Family Resource Center said the presentation also allowed students to see a different side of humanity not often seen in their school.
"We always seem so safe," Hall said. "They don't see the other perspective."
Monday's assemblies began another "chain reaction" in an international movement that began after Scott's death. Trimble County students joined nearly 20 million others who have heard Scott's story and accepted the challenge to end bullying and promote acceptance of everyone - no matter who or what disabilities they might have.
"We want (students) to see they can be the solution," Hall said. "We want our students to take care of each other."
PHOTOS: Rachel's Challenge
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