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Rachel's Challenge comes to Waynesboro

Columbine victimâEUR(TM)s sister to speak to sixth- through 12th-graders

Columbine victimâEUR(TM)s sister to speak to sixth- through 12th-graders

January 24, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. ? Rachel Scott was a 17-year-old girl who once wrote in a school essay that "compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer."

But it was without compassion that on April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School in Colorado and gunned down classmates.

The first fatality was Rachel Scott.

On Jan. 30 and 31, in tribute to Rachel, her sister will speak to Waynesboro's sixth- through 12th-graders to issue "Rachel's Challenge." The program asks youths to pledge to eliminate prejudice, dare to dream, choose their influences, use kind words and start a chain reaction.

"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," Rachel wrote.

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The speaker and school district have opened a Wednesday evening presentation to the community, extending special invitations to parents of the district's secondary students.

"It takes a group effort to have very positive influences. The idea is to challenge the students and parents to teach that extra step to make sure people feel included," said Rita Sterner-Hine, principal of Hooverville Elementary School.

Superintendent Barry Dallara recently told the school board that "we worked really hard for two months or longer ... to have the assembly come to us."

"It came very highly recommended to our superintendent," said Sterner-Hine, whose children are enrolled in Waynesboro schools.

Program to reinforce Character Counts! education

She said the schools are not planning to discuss the Columbine tragedy in detail, but rather are asking parents to address the matter with their children before the assemblies.

Assistant Superintendent Gloria Walker said the program will reinforce the Character Counts! education under way in district schools. Character Counts! teaches the "six pillars of character," which are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

"It's part of our Character Counts! to show children they have a responsibility to keep not only themselves but others safe," Walker said.

A goal of issuing Rachel's Challenge locally will be to show "how violence can affect all people," she said.

Rachel's family, on www.rachelschallenge.com, describes her as fun, goofy, dramatic, and as someone who shined.

They say she had traced her hands on an old piece of furniture and wrote:

"These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will some day touch millions of people's hearts."




If you go ...



What: Rachel's Challenge, a program promoting compassion through the story of the first victim at Columbine High School

When: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m.

Where: Waynesboro Area Middle School, 702 E. Second St.

For more information, go to www.rachelschallenge.com or call 717-762-1191.

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