South hosts Rachel’s Challenge

Sophie Downey, A&E Editor

On Friday, January 25th, Rachel’s Challenge came to South. This program, started by the parents of Rachel Joy Scott, is built around the ideas written in her multiple journals before her death. Scott was the first student to be killed during the Columbine shooting in 1999.

Jonathan Oliver, the presenter with Rachel’s Challenge, talked about Rachel’s theories of kindness and chain reactions. He showed videos explaining the mission of the program, and challenged every student to eliminate prejudice, dream big, write down your goals, choose positive influences, and to speak with kindness.

Scott was devoted to the ideas of kindness and compassion, and the presentation on Friday showed many examples of people whose life she changed while still alive, and examples of schools that have been touched by her message. Many schools have made paper chains, each link representing an act of kindness at the school. Some chains have stretched many miles long.

Scott’s words encourage students to start a chain reaction of kindness, and many schools have instituted programs to honor her vision. South will become one of those schools, and the first school in Minneapolis to be visited by Rachel’s Challenge.

The day before the event, Link Crew students were called down to the auditorium to prepare.

    “We’re going to figure out how to teach what we see,” said junior Dakessa Hector, a member of Link Crew. “We have to reinvent it, make it our own.”

After the presentation, students were invited to attend a training session which would prepare them for implementing ideas inspired by Rachel’s Challenge at South.

“We have some projects in mind,” said junior Sugei Leal. “We’re thinking about making  a chain, but more with social media, and using the TVs in the commons. We’re also thinking about doing another mix it up day.”

Junior Kyra Hood also spoke of starting a high five Friday at South, or a free hugs day.

Many students have been touched by the message of Rachel’s Challenge. “I think people don’t recognize how [small acts of kindness] can change your whole day, your whole life,” said Hood. “I believe that it’s the little things that count.”

“We always have to keep in memory someone who has suffered and is trying to make a change in the community or the world,” said Hector.