The program, Rachel’s Challenge, was inspired by Rachel Scott, a victim in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Scott’s journal was found in her backpack after the tragedy. Inside that journal was a commitment Rachel made to herself: Change the world by creating a chain reaction of kindness.
During school, all Century students listened to a presentation about Rachel’s life. They heard stories from Rachel’s classmates, and how she saved their lives just by going out of her way to show a little kindness.
The inspiring presentation left students with challenges of their own: Look for the best in others; dream big; choose positive influences; speak with kindness; and finally, start their own chain reaction. Through these steps, Century students hope to improve their school community by spreading kindness to each one of their classmates.
After the morning’s presentations, approximately 100 student leaders met with the Rachel’s Challenge representative to receive training on promoting kindness in their school, and to brainstorm projects that would encourage their classmates to do the same. The “Friends of Rachel” club will now be a permanent fixture at Century Junior High – more information about the club can be found here: https://www.orland135.org/domain/816
On that same evening, Century Jr. High extended its invitation for Rachel’s Challenge to the District 135 community. In attendance were Board members and District administrators, as well as Mayor McLaughlin, who accepted Rachel’s Challenge on behalf of the Orland Park community. This was reported to be one of the largest community events the Rachel’s Challenge program has ever seen.
Morgan Bianchi, “Friends of Rachel” staff sponsor, said, “Brian Horn, our principal, found the Rachel's Challenge program and thought it would be a very beneficial program for our school. We have a kind and caring school community and we wanted to take it to the next level.”
As for the “Friends of Rachel” club itself, Bianchi noted, “What we love about this club is that the students are in control. They are the ones that see the change that needs to happen, and they are the ones that will create a plan for change. Our hopes for the club: continue to foster a positive, compassionate, and kind community, increase student involvement in the school, so that students will be driven to inspire those around them to make positive decisions and start a positive chain reaction of their own.”
To learn more about Rachel Scott and the Rachel’s Challenge program, visit www.rachelschallenge.org.