Unique Program Offered at RES

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Rachel's Challenge presenter Colleen Kirk meets with Rector elementary students during Tuesday's special program. Kirk encouraged the young students to practice kindness and compassion for others in their everyday lives. (Photo courtesy of Nate Henderson)

A unique program with a very special message was made available to students and members of the community in Rector Tuesday. The program, Rachel's Challenge, centers around continuing the efforts of Rachel Scott, a caring and outgoing young lady who was the first victim in the 1999 Columbine school shooting, promotes compassion and caring between students in order to help create a safer learning environment.

The program is based on Rachel's writings and her own approach to life. Her personal journal and school writings contained many of the thoughts which are stressed in the programs Rachel's Challenge encompasses.

Rachel wrote the following in an essay shortly before her death: "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."

Colleen Kirk, a friend of the Scott family who works with the uplifting program, met with high school and elementary students during two in-school programs Tuesday. Kirk gave insight into Rachel's philosophies on unity and friendship while urging students to consider the impacts of even the smallest acts in their day-to-day lives.

Kirk also met with members of the community during a presentation in the evening.

"The message of kindness is for every age," Kirk said.

While the loss of Rachel and the circumstances surrounding her death remain a difficult part of her family and friends' lives, Kirk noted the importance of continuing Rachel's efforts "outweigh the grief and the pain."

Rector High School Board members Jody Simmons and Tony Lockhart attended a special presentation of Rachel's Challenge during a 2013 workshop session at Little Rock. The program had such an effect on the two, they purchased DVDs and encouraged superintendent Johnny Fowler to watch, with an interest in bringing Rachel's Challenge to Rector. Fowler was likewise moved by the program, encouraging the effort to share its message with students and the community.

An effort to bring the program to the school this past spring fell through due to scheduling conflicts, but both the organizers of Rachel's Challenge and the Rector School District continued to work to bring the inspirational program to the school.

Rachel's Challenge is a non-profit organization, yet there were still expenses to be covered in bringing the presentation to the school. The Rector High School Helping Hands Foundation partnered with the school to provide funds for the $4,500 cost of hosting Rachel's Challenge, making the special presentation possible.

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  • It makes my heart happy to know our students are getting involved with this. Compassion for one another can truly change the world.

    -- Posted by Christa Hedrick on Mon, Sep 29, 2014, at 12:22 PM
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