Rachel's Challenge invites students to join 'chain reaction' of kind actions

Oct 3, 2017

Wareham High School students were urged to start a chain reaction of kindness in their school and community, using the example of a student who was killed in the Columbine High School shooting.

The Rachel’s Challenge presentation came to the high school for the third time on Tuesday, named for Rachel Scott, the first student who was killed in the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999, when 12 students and one teacher were killed by two students of the school. Rachel’s Challenge is a nonprofit organization that works to reduce harassment, bullying and violence through presentations at more than 1,200 schools and communities.

The presentation came at an “unfortunately appropriate time” in light of the mass shooting in Las Vegas Oct. 1, said Principal Scott Palladino. Though the high school students had not been born when the mass shooting took place, presenter Meichelle Gibson told them it “fundamentally changed the way that you all go to school.”

The challenge, presented by Gibson, a member of the Rachel's Challenge organization, has five goals it presents to students: look for the best in others, record your journey, choose positive influences, speak with kindness and start your own chain reaction.

Gibson used examples of Rachel’s passion for reaching out to others, including students with special needs, new students and those who were being bullied.

The presentation included video clips of Rachel’s friends and family talking about her life. Gibson shared a quote from a school essay Rachel wrote shortly before she died:

“Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer.”

At the end of the presentation, Gibson asked every student in the packed auditorium to close their eyes and think about the people they love and care about “the absolute most” and to make sure to take the time to tell them.

“Sometime in the next three days, go to them, tell them how much you love them,” Gibson said.

On Thursday, Wareham High School will hold an all-day chain reaction workshop, with games, group sessions and lessons for 100 students to solidify the lessons learned in Rachel’s Challenge.

A Rachel’s Challenge presentation for the community will be held Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Wareham High School auditorium. The event is free and sponsored by the Scotty Monteiro Jr. Foundation.

For more information, visit www.rachelschallenge.org.