Rachel’s Challenge Sweeps Through School District

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SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ – The Scotch Plains – Fanwood PTA Council presented a special program on Monday, October 1 at 7 pm entitled “Rachel’s Challenge” at the SPF High School as part of the District’s Anti-Bullying initiative.

This program is based on the writings and life of 17 year-old Rachel Scott who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999.   She left behind drawings and writings that impacted not only her friends and family but resonating with students around the world as well. “This program will change your life,” said one SPF parent.

The elements of the program were created by Rachel’s father and step-mother, Darrell and Sandy Scott when they established a non-profit, non-political organization to perpetuate his daughter’s example and her two-page “Code of Ethics” she wrote a month before her death at Columbine High School.

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The organization's mission statement is to "motivate, educate and bring positive change to many young people". The Rachel’s Challenge presentations are given in schools and communities by members of her family and other speakers, using video footage of the massacre and its aftermath, combined with Rachel Scott’s drawings and writings, in a campaign to quell school violence, bullying and teen suicide.

Rachel Scott’s younger brother Craig, a 16-year old Columbine High School sophomore at the time of the shootings, was physically unharmed but witnessed several classmates being killed. Craig wrote of his sister Rachel, "...her love for people was less conditional than anyone I knew... It didn't matter to her what you looked like or who your friends were. Another thing I liked and respected so much was that she made it clear... what her beliefs were.”

These beliefs have been distilled into five challenges for all students: 1. Eliminate Prejudices, 2. Dream Big, (but keep grounded), 3.Choose Positive Influences, 4. Speak with Kindness not Cruelty, 5.Start your Own Chain Reaction of Kindness.

Racheal wrote in her journal that she was going to “have an impact on the world.”  Her impact is still being felt the world over, even a decade after her death.

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