MONTVILLE, NJ – Rachel Joy Scott was the first victim of the Columbine school shootings. In the weeks after the tragedy, her father, Darrell Scott, spoke to a Congressional House Judiciary Committee regarding issues of school violence. His speech is one of the most widely viewed on the internet.
Rachel’s writings and her life were testaments to kindness and compassion. More than 21 million students, teachers, parents and officials in the United States and abroad have participated in the legacy known as Rachel’s Challenge.
On Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m., Montville Township High School (MTHS) will welcome all members of the community to experience Rachel’s Challenge. This powerful free event is designed to inspire individuals to replace acts of violence, bullying and negativity with acts of respect, kindness and compassion.
Rachel’s Challenge is an opportunity for schools and communities to turn the tide on student isolation, teen suicide, discrimination, and school violence.
Rachel’s inspiring story provides a simple, yet powerful example of how small acts of kindness and acceptance can motivate each and every individual to consider the impact of actions on others.
The October 7 evening event is open to everyone in the community from seventh grade to adult. It will serve as a culmination to a day dedicated to launching a lifetime of kindness.
In addition to the evening event, MTHS will host a Rachel’s Challenge student assembly during the day which will be followed by the launch of Friends of Rachel (FOR Rachel). FOR Rachel begins with a 60 minute training session for 80 to 100 MTHS students who will serve as ambassadors for kindness and acceptance at school and throughout the community. FOR Rachel students will also continue to meet and plan events during the year, and will train others to continue the legacy of kindness and compassion for years to come.
According to information provided by the Rachel’s Challenge organization, “at least eight school shootings have been prevented, and over 500 suicides have been averted” as a result of this program. CNN, Dateline, Good Morning America, Oprah, and many other news outlets have covered Rachel’s Challenge. President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton have also endorsed the initiative.
Key components of Rachel’s Challenge include: Look for the best in others, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness, and start your own chain reaction.
The Oct. 7, 2014 MTHS event is sponsored by MTHS Student Activities Council, Montville Township Drug Awareness Council, and the MTHS Parent-Teacher Council.
The event will be held in the Dr. Robert O. Stafford Auditorium. This free Rachel’s Challenge program is open to all members of the Montville Township community from seventh grade to adult. MTHS students are also welcome to attend the evening event in addition to the morning assembly. Due to the sensitive nature of the presentation, however, students in grade six and below should not attend. All township parents are encouraged to attend.