The Edmond Sun

Education

August 24, 2012

Rachel’s Challenge coming to district schools

EDMOND — The Edmond School District and the Edmond Public Schools Foundation are partnering to bring Rachel’s Challenge to every middle school in the district, thanks in part to a generous grant from a foundation donor.

The Rachel’s Challenge program exists to equip and inspire individuals to replace acts of violence, bullying and negativity with acts of respect, kindness and compassion. Rachel’s Challenge is based on the life and writings of Rachel Scott who was the first person killed during Colorado’s Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Her challenge is for individuals to make a permanent, positive change in their schools and communities by accepting the challenge to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.

“Rachel’s Challenge provides to students, parents and community members a powerful example of how small acts of kindness and acceptance can make a profound difference in the lives of others,” said Jason Brown, executive director of secondary education.  

More than 18 million people have heard Rachel’s story in live settings around the world and officials with the organization say at least eight school shootings have been prevented and 500 suicides have been averted since the organization’s inception.

“The Edmond Public Schools Foundation felt strongly about the message provided by Rachel’s Challenge, and The Ken and Gae Rees Fund agreed to contribute resources to the foundation to help sponsor the program,” said Bob Ault, foundation executive director. “The foundation and the Rees Family believe many people will be touched by it.”

The district will kick off the program with student assemblies at Sequoyah and Cheyenne middle schools on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Parent groups at the two middle schools contributed to the cost of the presentation. In the coming months, student assemblies also will be at Central, Cimarron and Summit middle schools. In addition, West Field Elementary will have a student assembly on Aug. 29.

Following the student presentations, Rachel’s Challenge team members will offer three parent and community presentations. The first is scheduled for 6:30 — 7:30 p.m., Aug. 27 in the Sequoyah Middle School Gymnasium. The second will be from 7 — 8 p.m., Aug. 28 in the Cheyenne Middle School Gymnasium. Finally, at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 29, West Field Elementary will have a Rachel’s Challenge presentation that is open to all elementary school parents in the auditorium at Santa Fe High School.

“While the core component of Rachel’s Challenge is a moving school assembly, the parent presentation as well as the ongoing student training that includes FOR (Friend of Rachel) clubs will keep the momentum going and foster what we hope will be a permanent culture of kindness and compassion in our schools and in our communities,” Brown said.

The district hopes to bring the Rachel’s Challenge program to every high school and elementary school in the district if funding can be secured.

FOR MORE detailed information on Rachel’s Challenge, go to www.rachelschallenge.org.

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