The Edmond Sun


September 5, 2013

Ida Freeman students start a chain reaction

IMPACT grant brings Rachel’s Challenge back to Edmond

EDMOND — Ida Freeman Elementary students were the first elementary students in the district to hear the story of Rachel Joy Scott, a 17-year-old who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999.

As young adults travel across the United States, they share the story of a young girl in programs based on the writings and life of Rachel and her legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others or who were new at her school.

Shortly before her death she wrote, “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.”

Ida Freeman’s new principal, Keith Pautler said, “For us, character education is at the forefront and this is another tool to celebrate student success in interacting with each other.”

Colleen Kirk visited the students Thursday morning and presented the story of Rachel as a child in elementary school and how she changed those around her by extending them kindness and compassion. Through short film clips, Rachel’s simple, yet profound philosophy shows how to defuse bullying, disrespect and prejudice as it brings hope where there is isolation and despair.

Kirk said her family is friends with Rachel’s family, and she has been sharing the story of Rachel and her writings for four years.

“Each program caters to an age demographic,” Kirk said. “Why would I not do this? It gives us an opportunity to create and sustain a movement of kindness and compassion.”

As Kirk visited with the students she shared the four tenants of Rachel’s Challenge for elementary children. They are: Use kind words, do nice things, include others and start your own chain reaction.

After each topic was named the students chimed in, “Oh, yeah!”

Kirk told them they could start a chain reaction by writing something they are going to do for someone else on a piece of paper and with glue start a paper chain.

All 16 elementary schools, the three high schools and Boulevard Academy will be receiving the impact of Rachel’s life in school assemblies during September. Four assemblies were scheduled in elementary schools this week.

By turning the story of a tragic death at Columbine High School into a mission for change, Rachel’s Challenge is helping create safer learning environments, Kirk said.

Middle school students were able to participate in the Rachel’s Challenge program last year through a $7,500 grant from Ken and Gae Rees.

Elementary and high school students will be in age appropriate assemblies throughout September through a $50,000 IMPACT grant from Cox Connects Foundation. The grant is the first presented and funded through donations by Cox employees.

Orvis Risner students participated in the Rachel’s Challenge program Thursday afternoon, and students at Russell Dougherty Elementary and Clegern Elementary received the challenge Friday.


Text Only
  • OBU dance team celebrates National Dance Day

    In 2010, “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe created National Dance Day in an effort to help people embrace dance and combat obesity on the last Saturday in July.
    This year, on July 26, Oklahoma Baptist University’s dance team will host a fundraiser that allows participants to dance all day for $30. The fundraiser will be in the Noble Complex on OBU’s campus.
    Cami Gower, an OBU junior and co-captain/co-founder of the dance team, said the team’s officers have been planning for their upcoming season since April. Gower is a graduate of Deer Creek High School.
    “Since then we have been coming up with better ways to reach the community with dance,” she said. “This day of dance was a great way to do it and help the team raise funds.”

    July 24, 2014

  • OCU alumna earns honor society fellowship

    Oklahoma City University alumna Neilee Wood was awarded a fellowship from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

    July 21, 2014


    The Oklahoma Arts Institute is a private, nonprofit organization developed in 1977, with a mission to provide exceptional multidisciplinary arts experiences that develop individual talent and inspire a lifelong passion for the arts. OAI administers a program for talented Oklahoma youth every June and a series of continuing education workshops for adults every fall.
    Following are nine biographies of the 41 Edmond-area students who attended the prestigious Summer Arts Institute. The students worked with award-winning artists in nine areas of the literary, visual and performing arts. Biographies were published in each Tuesday MidWeek and Saturday Weekender edition of The Sun through July.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • North senior wins Edward C. Joullian III Scholarship

    Kassidy Gary, a senior from Edmond North High School, recently received the Oklahoma State Fair’s Edward C. Joullian III Scholarship. Gary’s accomplishment was recognized at the State Board of Education’s May meeting.

    July 21, 2014

  • Washington University in St. Louis names Dean’s List

    YuJing Wang of Edmond was named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2014 semester at Washington University in St. Louis.

    July 21, 2014

  • Missouri State releases spring 2014 graduation list

    Missouri State University conferred 2,381 degrees to students during its three spring commencement ceremonies May 16 at JQH Arena. Matthew D. Iver, received an Administrative Studies/Homeland Security MS degree.

    July 21, 2014

  • NSU names area student to President’s Honor Roll

    Northeastern State University has announced students named to the NSU president's honor roll for the spring 2014 semester.

    July 21, 2014

  • OSU sorority recognized at national convention

    Members of the Beta Zeta chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at Oklahoma State University networked with counterparts and accepted two awards on behalf of the chapter before returning from the sorority's national convention in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month. The OSU chapter received the Silver Kite Award for Overall Chapter Excellence and the runner-up position for the Excellence in Recruitment Award.

    July 21, 2014

  • Choir UCO Concert Choral invited to perform at international music festival

    The University of Central Oklahoma Concert Choral will perform at the Fifth Annual Campina Grande International Music Festival in Brazil July 20-27. The UCO Concert Choral is one of only four university choirs invited to perform at this festival.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • UCO campus 3.jpg University of Central Oklahoma recognized as having friendly work environment

    The Chronicle of Higher Education named the University of Central Oklahoma as one of the “2014 Great Colleges to Work For.” Central is the only higher education institution in the state recognized on the list and one of only a handful of institutions in the nation given the distinction of being named to the Honor Roll for being cited most often among all the recognition categories.          
    Central joins Duke, Baylor and Notre Dame on the list of the 10 universities named to the large institution honor roll.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo