Fort Dodge community comes
By MICHELLE DELANEY, Globe staff reporter
It’s hard to believe that almost 14 years have passed since the tragic shooting at Columbine High School, resulting in 15 deaths and numerous injuries. As agonizing and heartbreaking as that day was, a positive message of hope and compassion has come out of it.
Rachel Scott was the first student to be killed at Columbine on April 20, 1999. After her death, her father and stepmom found the writings and drawings she left behind. Rachel had a passion and conviction that she would someday change the world.
“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,” wrote Rachel.
Rachel’s Challenge was started in response to her passion to make the world a better place. Now, more than 18 million people have been influenced by Rachel’s message and numerous schools have adapted a more positive environment after initiating Rachel’s Challenge.
The mission of Rachel’s Challenge is to empower every person to create a positive change in their school or business by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. The challenge is a series of empowering programs and strategies that give students and adults the tools to combat bullying and feelings of isolation and despair.
St. Edmond students recently took part in Rachel’s Challenge. Fort Dodge Community Schools and various businesses in the area joined them in the challenge. John Howard, president at St. Edmond High School, explained that Fort Dodge Senior High initially contacted him and asked if St. Edmond would like to be involved in a program to enhance their school environment.
“We gladly accepted it,” said Howard. “There has been tremendous, tremendous support for it, not only in the schools but around the community.”
He noted that around 1,200 people attended the community presentation. Colleen Kirk, a Rachel’s Challenge representative, spent three days speaking to the Fort Dodge schools and community about the life of Rachel Scott. Kirk discussed how Rachel’s outlook on life outlook has touched others and encouraged them to live a more positive life.
Emphasized in the presentation are the five steps to make the world a better place: 1. eliminate prejudice by looking for the best in others, 2. dare to dream by setting goals and keeping a journal, 3. choose your influences by centering on the fact that input determines output, 4. kind words, small acts of kindness can make a huge impact and 5. start a chain reaction with family and friends. These steps were a part of an essay that Rachel wrote before her death.
“Her legacy has made a difference in a lot of different places,” said Howard. “Rachel didn’t have a very long life, she was killed when she was just a teenager, but based on her writings and support for her writings she has been able to change the world.”
Since Rachel’s Challenge came to Fort Dodge, St. Edmond has initiated a Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club. This club will take the message of kindness and compassion presented in Rachel’s Challenge and keep it going throughout the school year.
Since starting the club in January, they have already initiated High Five Fridays. Every Friday, students and staff are encouraged to give each other high fives throughout the day to brighten the hallways and create a more positive attitude in the school.
“It’s almost impossible to give someone a high five without smiling,” said Casey McEvoy, a member of FOR Club.
To promote High Five Fridays in school, members of FOR Club and faculty made a video. This fun video features students and staff demonstrating the different types of high fives. The goal of High Five Fridays is to promote friendship in the halls and get kids smiling.
The video can be found by clicking on the High Five Fridays link on the main page of the St. Edmond School webpage: http://www.st-edmond.pvt.k12.ia.us.
Another way St. Edmond School is promoting Rachel’s Challenge is by encouraging students and staff to hand out note cards to people in their lives with personal positive messages.
“These kids have really taken charge of this movement. Anytime you can get student support in something like this, it’s really great to see,” said Howard.
|Back to top|
|Headlines | Home|