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Rachel's Challenge inspires Pittsburg students - KOAM TV 7

Rachel's Challenge inspires Pittsburg students to start change reaction of kindness

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Pittsburg High School has launched an anti-bullying campaign called Rachel's Challenge.  It draws on the tragedy of the Columbine High School shooting to spread some good.

Rachel Joy Scott was the first of 13 students killed in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, but the 17 year old's writings and personal code of ethics continue to live on.

Scott left behind journals with empowering messages for change, which now continue to touch millions of students and communities across the globe.

Rachel's Challenge is a series of student empowering programs and strategies that aim to combat bullying and feelings of isolation.  The program teaches students to reach out to those who are different and picked on through the use of Rachel's tragic story.

"Just doing simple small things, that's what Rachel did, and she was committed to it," says Colleen Kirk of Rachel's Challenge.  "She didn't' worry about what everyone else did around her.  She set a very high standard for her life and because of that we are still seeing her impact."

A main focus of Rachel's Challenge is to start a chain reaction of compassion and kindness, something Pittsburg High School thought would be valuable for both students and teachers.

"We're passionate about reaching all age groups with Rachel's Message," says Colleen Kirk of Rachel's Challenge.  "Not only do we want to share the story with the students in the morning, but we also want to give them a chance to bring back family members, members of the community so that rain drop like effect can ripple out and effect not only the students but also members of the community."

"You always hear about the anti-bullying message, but the whole speak with kindness, treat people the way you want to be treated, and to go out of your way to make someone else feel welcome, is something that we all like to think we do all of the time," says PHS Principal Jon Bishop.  "It's just another good reminder of how to be a good human being."

In addition to a lecture, 80 students also took part in a separate training course.  Students learned how to continue Rachel's Challenge at their school after the day of training is through.

"I'm hoping that I can find ways to help other students," says Hayden Parks, a senior at PHS.  "We've always had problems, just like every other school, about kids getting together, and doing the right thing, and I think this is a good way to do it."

Many Pittsburg High students took on Rachel's Challenge by signing a large banner during their lunch break.  Students were also encouraged to go home and share the message of kindness with their friends and family.

Rachel's challenge encourages students to look for the best in others, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness and to start a chain reaction of your own.

This is the first time Rachel's Challenge has come to Pittsburg.

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