Chain Reaction

Madison Summerfield, Staff Writer

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We were told to silence our phones and pay attention. To sit quietly and avoid all urges to talk to the person beside us. We didn’t know what the assembly was about. There were whispers  that we were going to be taught about the Columbine school shooting, but no one was really sure.

Soon enough we were captivated by the story of a young high school girl and her legacy that still lives on today. About a family who, although stricken with devastating loss, has devoted their time to inspire and equip each and every person with a desire to create a permanent positive change not only in themselves, but in their community.

Rachel Joy Scott: he first victim claimed by the school shooting on April 20th, 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado. This is the most devastating high school shooting still today, claiming 13 innocent lives. That day being one of the most tragic of the year, today is marked by hope. You see, Rachel left a hidden legacy that continues to change lives even today. She worked quietly to make a difference in her high school. She believed in the theory of the chain reaction.

Roughly 160,000 students skip school every day because of bullying taking place in their school or community. This is what Rachel wanted to put an end to. Rachel lived her life daring to be different. She insisted every day that she would leave a mark on the world. She outlined her hands on the back of her very own dresser and wrote within the lines “these hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.” Rachel wasn’t loud and proud, but she worked behind the scenes. She worked behind the scenes so much that her family was unaware of the impact she was having on people’s lives until after her death when stories began to surface during and after her funeral. She believed that she “wouldn’t be labeled as average” and worked to make that a reality. Her family created the Rachel’s Challenge foundation in order to carry out her legacy and share her story.

The presenters share ideas on how to make our school atmosphere a better place. We were told that the first step to making schools a better place is avoiding prejudice. The next step is to dream big. After that you should surround yourself with positive people that will project positives influences. After this you should commit portions of your time to conducting random acts of kindness. Then when all of these are done, work hard to start a chain reaction of kindness. That one act of kindness can change the world. These were the keys Rachel used throughout her life. All of these steps can make schools and communities a more inclusive environment.

The Rachel’s Challenge foundation has given presentations all over the United States in schools and communities. The foundation has touched thousands of lives and made impacts in communities across the country. Junior, Beth Chick, found the assembly to be “impacting” and stated that it will “continue to influence her daily behaviors.”

Regardless of the assembly’s impact, the story of Rachel Scott and the Columbine shooting will be learned about and carried on for generations. For some the assembly might have been outdated. For others it might be the eye opening story needed to spur a radical change in the future. For many it was a sign of hope that life has meaning and every individual holds importance. But for Rachel, it’s simply just a theory she wanted to use to change the world: “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.

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