photos by: Adia Perkins
Reporter: Nathan Knouse
Rachel Joy Scott’s life was taken in the first major school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. Rachel was known for her kindness toward every individual. Rachel’s Challenge uses her journal writings to teach about bullying and helps to carry on her legacy of kindness. After the tragic shooting, Rachel’s family and friends realized how impactful her kindness was when the received massive amounts of letters from lives she touched. The main purpose of the organization is to help improve students’ lives and character. It challenges students and schools to apply more kindness in a variety of ways.
Rachel’s Challenge now has many professional speakers who undergo training in Colorado and travel to schools throughout the United States and abroad. Chris Mowery, a former youth pastor from Youngstown Ohio who has been a part of Rachel's Challenge for the past five years, spoke and spread Rachel’s Challenge to Montour on April 11. His main goal, when speaking, is to inspire students to want to make a difference. He stated that Rachel is one of his heroes and he believes that her story makes a difference.
“This is about a way of life, about how we see people and treat people,” said Chris
Last fall, Chris contacted Montour and other schools in the area. He commented that Mr. Price was the first to call him back and schedule a date. Students and staff from Baldwin, Mars, and Deer Lakes also visited Montour to attend the presentation and workshop that day to experience Rachel’s Challenge and bring it to their schools, as well.
After a school wide speech, he held a workshop with representatives from all the clubs in Montour High and other schools. The workshop took the presentation a step further and showed student leaders different ways to apply and inspire kindness at school and at home. Students were shown examples of what schools across the nation have done with Rachel’s Challenge and were challenged to come up with their own ideas. Ideas ranged from students putting handprints on walls to organizing a school wide field day.
Overall the mission seemed to be a success at Montour when students stated the message they got from the activities.
“Chris really opened my eyes today to how much of an impact just small, simple acts of kindness can do for someone. If we could all go out of our way to do something small for someone or help someone out, it could make a huge difference in their lives. We should encourage more kindness and compassion throughout our school,” commented freshman Katie Liu, just one of the Montour students who experienced the presentation and attended the workshop.
For more information about Rachel’s story and challenge visit https://rachelschallenge.org/.