This week, the Monticello middle and high schoolers were introduced to a program known as “Rachel’s Challenge.”
To give you some background, this program is named and inspired by Rachel Scott, the first student to be shot and killed during the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999, in Colorado. Before the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012, and the Virginia Tech shooting on April 16, 2007, Columbine was known as the worst school shooting in U.S. history.
The middle and high schools here in Monticello are undertaking the Rachel’s Challenge to educate students on anti-bullying. Too many tragedies have occurred within our nation’s schools because someone was bullied by others and shooting classmates was their way of retaliation.
After attending the public assembly last week on Rachel’s Challenge, a lot of praise has to be given to the teachers and staff of the middle school and high school for looking into this program and wanting to bring it to the students right here in Monticello.
While the program has such a positive and hopeful message, one thing I’m glad to see is introducing these students to a piece of history. The youngest students in our middle school were not even born when the Columbine shooting took place. They probably had no concept or knowledge of this incident had it not been for introducing them to Rachel’s Challenge.
Not that they don’t see enough on the news already of all the shootings in schools around the country, but it makes them aware of who some of these students were who lost their lives that day.
Rachel Scott’s legacy of kindness, generosity and showing love toward others no matter their differences, started a chain reaction. Many of her fellow students talked about her compassion toward them, honoring her legacy in her passing.
Bravo, Monticello Community School District, for wanting to start your own kindness chain reaction here! It’s great to see students here wanting to make a difference, following in Rachel Scott’s footsteps, someone they never knew. (K.N.B.)