Rachel's Challenge Comes to Grand Island
Born out of Columbine, the program aims to
foster kindness among students and the community.
It's been more than ten years since the
shooting spree that took place at
, but for most of us, the memory of that tragic event will never fade. When
tragedies occur, usually only sorrow and regret take place, but at times there
is some good that grows from those negative events. On October 25, 2010, see how
a tragedy that affected an entire country is touching the lives of students in
. On this day,
students will be attending Rachel’s Challenge – a program that stems from Columbine to
discourage future violence, suicides and bullying among young students.
Rachel’s Challenge is the largest school assembly program in the
country. It is based on the life of Rachel Scott, the
first person killed during the
shooting on April 20, 1999. Since her death, her parents have tried to reach
out to students all over the country. Her acts of kindness and compassion, coupled with the
contents of her six diaries, have become the foundation for this powerful
program that encourages each person to start a chain reaction of kindness.
assistant principal Jerry Parisi explained, "The program was
created to encourage students to be leaders in their communities and leaders in
spreading kindness and compassion. When
our students understand the affects small acts of kindness can make, our
community as a whole will benefit. We’ve
been told it is a powerful, moving presentation and are eager for our students
to attend.” Sponsored by the Grand
Island High School PTSA, Rachel’s Challenge does not end with the assembly.
In an effort to participate in this
nation-wide chain reaction, approximately 100
students will take part in the “Friends of Rachel’s” club.
A training session will be held after school for these students as they
continue to keep the positive culture change alive on
Rachel’s Challenge supports
’s Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program.
PBIS is a district-wide initiative that was implemented in 2008 and
assists staff to teach and promote positive behavior in all students.
“We have seen a significant improvement in student behaviors as a
result of our total district PBIS program. We
continue to try and be proactive in finding ways to create more responsible
students of whom our parents and community will be proud,” says Robert
Christmann, superintendent of
Bullying, violence and suicide among our young students have
been the topics all too often in recent news headlines.
Area schools understand there is a need to educate their students and
communities and are jumping on board with this program.
Rachel’s Challenge is one component of
a comprehensive anti-bullying and violence prevention program offered through
the Student Support Services Division at Erie 1 BOCES.
According to Kate Huber, Erie 1 BOCES coordinator, "No one single
strategy will “solve” the bullying problem.
It takes everybody: teachers, parents, students and the community,
working together to address this issue. Rachel’s
Challenge is a great platform on which to begin creating a positive climate and
culture in school buildings and in the community."
In addition to
, Huber says
will also be presenting Rachel’s Challenge through the Erie1 BOCES.
A free evening community presentation will
also be held on Monday, October 25, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in the
auditorium and all
residents are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Further information regarding Rachel’s Challenge can be found by