Rachel's Challenge comes to Poinsett county schools

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) --It has been 12 years since the deadly assault at Columbine High school in Denver. Rachel Scott was the first person killed in the attack 12 years ago.

Her memory and legacy  lives on with a program called "Rachel's Challenge" designed to help change the way students treat others.

The program is designed primarily for kids in school. On Friday the program was presented for students in Poinsett county. At Harrisburg High School counselor Dennis Graham said this message is important for his students. "What I hope they get out of it is the idea of respect. Not just respect for a one hour assembly but something that you do every day. something that you live and are a living example for."

"I hope it turns out good, everybody starts treating everybody nicer. Not being hateful, making fun of each other. " said Senior Scott Martin who was one of hundreds of students that took part in today's assembly. Martin had also previously attended a session in Hot Springs and gone through the leadership training program.

Using video clips and sound the students are taken through the attack at Columbine to understand what Rachel's family and friends went through.

Senior Sarah Woodson had also attended the session in Hot Springs, "It definitely had a big effect on me because it can happen to anyone, anywhere."

In the presentation, Rachel is compared to Anne Frank, both kept journals and both girls wanted to leave a legacy behind.

At the assembly, the students were given a set of challenges. Each challenge is designed to change attitudes toward each other.

Junior Jessica Blandford is realistic about what high school is really like.

"There is a bullying problem at every school. I mean no different than any other school I would think. There is a bullying problem here."

And it may very well have been bullying that turned the two Columbine students hands against their own.

And Rachel's message of tolerance is not lost on these Poinsett County teens.

"I think she was saying that it's a cruel world you know." said Woodson, "And if you are nice to one person then it'll start a chain reaction and may be it will get better."

After the main presentation, there is a training session for student leaders to help keep the momentum going.

Blandford, "You never really think about that everything you do or someone needs a big smile and you never really realize that."

There was another training session at Trumann High School that afternoon and an evening session for students and parents also at Trumann.

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