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Rachel's Challenge Essay

“We exist to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.” - Rachel’s Challenge Have you ever heard of Rachel’s Challenge? Well, I hadn’t either until we had an assembly about it. Rachel’s Challenge is based on the Columbine Shooting that took place at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Two students with built up anger and hate opened fire on fellow classmates. Rachel Scott, 17, was the first killed, along with many others killed and wounded. Here’s where Rachel’s Challenge comes in. In my school, the whole student body had the chance to accept Rachel’s Challenge. We chose to let ourselves reach out and make a difference in our school through kindness. Interested students remained to go through peer training, having the chance to stand up and tell about our feelings or concerns. I think that was the most uplifting part for all of us, because there are things that we don’t pay close attention to, yet we should. We need to make differences in the lives of those around us. After the assembly, we were given five challenges: Eliminate prejudice, dare to dream, choose positive influences, use kind words and positive actions, and equally important: start a chain reaction. The challenge that affected me the most would be to use kind words and positive actions. I feel that if a community or school such as mine can come together, making little changes every day by doing the simplest things, then could be more welcoming to others. Face Rachel’s Challenge! As she would say “You just may start a chain reaction.” Rachel’s Challenge has become one of the most life-changing programs in America. Because students see violence every day, they don’t think clearly about the dangers spurred by teen violence. I have seen depression and suicide personally. It’s scary to know that there are teens who think about taking their lives or the lives of others. Just like the Columbine shooting, a student could bring a gun or knife to school and put everyone in danger. Before Rachel‘s death, she wrote an essay titled “My Ethics, My Codes of Life”. Kindness was a big deal in Rachel Scott’s life. All her life she wanted to start a chain reaction, that could touch the lives of millions using positive words, attitudes, and actions. Today, so many lives have been touched and changed because of Rachel’s story. Rachel’s words of kindness run through my mind daily. In my opinion she had an impact on our school for the better. I see some form of kindness every day, others helping someone out, thanking a student, or even saying ‘hey how’s it going?’ It’s in everyone whether we know it or not! Eliminating bullying and selfish acts will make our small section of the world a better place. After hearing the five challenges of Rachel’s, I look for that challenge every day in school and out. I accepted Rachel’s Challenge. I believed everything she said, as her story touched my life and made me realize a lot of tragedies I never even thought about. This assembly was a life-changing experience. I knew that if I accepted her challenge, I could help our community. I can make a huge difference in many lives, just by being me. Bullying is everywhere. I’ve seen it hurt and degrade others. You don’t feel liked, you don’t want to be there. Depressing, fearful thoughts run through your mind. Rachel has become a great influence on my classmates as well as myself. I am opening up more; talking to people I’ve never talked to before, smiling at ones I don’t even know, and getting more involved in my school. You don’t have to be popular to fit in. You don’t have to be involved in sports to be noticed. You are you, so be yourself, learn from mistakes, and experience a great variety of experiences life has to offer. Thinking and staying positive helps not only yourself but others around you. Being yourself will get you going in life. It takes guts to be known for who you are rather than the person everyone wants you to be. Everyone needs to be honest with themselves and you need strength to become honest. We got together with some teachers and created our own Friends of Rachel’s Club. It’s made up of students who accepted Rachel’s Challenge to ‘start a chain reaction.’ It’s great to have friends who really DO want to make a difference in our community. · We took Rachel’s quotes and wrote the inspirational words on the concrete outside the sports complex for Senior Night. · We signed a banner and hung it up for our community to see. · We made strips of paper available for people who wanted to write on them and tell about something good that had been done for them or that they had done for somebody else. We are using those strips of paper to form a chain. The paper chain will form our own chain reaction in our own town to spread kindness throughout to everyone in our community. Remember, “You will never know just how far a little kindness can go”

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rachel's challenge essay

Rachel’s Challenges and Its Benefits to the Youth. Columbine School Shooting Essay

Introduction, the killings, rachel’s experiences, rachel’s challenge, benefits of rachel’s challenge.

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The incident which occurred on Tuesday 20 th April 1999 has been simply referred to as the Columbine High School Massacre. At the center of the killing were two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. The two went on a killing spree; killing twelve students and a teacher and injuring twenty-four others before turning the gun on themselves and committing suicide. The incident was ranked fourth-deadliest in the history of United States after the Bath school case in 1927, Virginia Technical College disaster of 2007 and the University of Texas, 1966 Massacre (Cullen, p.214). The incident elicited a heated debate on the law on gun control and gun violence, among the youth. Also included in the debates were the high school cultures and subcultures, cliques as well as bullying; the role played by violent movies available to everyone in the movie stores were also discussed. This essay paper will look at the case of the Columbine Massacre and draw emphasis on Rachel’s challenges, a program that was established to address the above-highlighted problems impacting the youth regarding the overall security of schools, morals, gun culture, teenage internet use and effects of violent games and movies.

According to a witness statement, the first victims of the gun-wielding duo were Rachel Scott and Richard Castaldo, who they found taking lunch on a grassy loan at the Western Entrance. Rachel died on the spot while Castaldo was critically injured. Some reports hold that the rampage targeted Christians, and that the gunmen first asked Rachel if she believed in God, and when she replied affirmatively, the shooting began…she received four deadly shots at a point-blank range and her friend got eight. A lot has been said about the experiences of Rachel Scott, but none could be satisfying were she around to give her own account of the real ordeal.

The best next character though to fill her shoes was therefore her father, Darrel Scott. Darrel gave a powerful speech, which was deeply personal and quite penetrating worth being listened to by parents, sociologists, psychologists, educational experts and all professionals at every level. The challenges faced by Rachel during her life were just a manifestation of the existence of evil and good forces in the society, and while the good can not be differentiated or rather be appreciated in the absence of bad, it should be eliminated by any means possible. The resultant of what happed was more of a spiritual force, something which Rachel alone could not counter, but called for the intervention of the whole society to address (Brown and Rob, p.3).

Rachel’s kindness and compassion could never be marched, through an organization started by her parents–Rachel’s Challenge, individuals have learned to make the best out of their lives and create a positive environment for themselves. By bringing back the memories of Rachel to the scene, it helps teens as well as parents to realize the benefit drawn from returning good for evil and how important is to treat others the way one wants to be treated. Such will help the school administration in addressing bullying and oppressive related incidences that were blamed on the Columbine Massacre. Some Americans upon hearing of the massacre rushed to a quick conclusion that the “Trench Coat Mafia Outcasts” were on a revenge mission against the bullying and the unbearable treatments that the school administration had on them. They therefore resorted to such a horrific violence to send a strong message to the society which they believed was wholly against them (Brown and Rob, p.4).

The challenges that Rachel had to endure are made public so that the number of people who will be moved to a point of striving to live in a society of peace and stability would increase. If told in the right context, tone and by a person who really understands the predicament, Rachel’s challenges are bound to have a profound effect on students and inspire them to spread the dream that Rachel held all her life; that was to ” create a chain reaction of kindness” (Cullen, p.222). The experiences and challenges Rachel are the best place for this course. It has helped students dispel any fear that they have and overcome shyness as well as pride. Self-confidence has been made a priority and above all, the students will come to realize their needs and worth in the society. Even the society takes pride in the youth, the youths therefore will strive to make a difference and by so doing, Rachel’s Challenge will be averting any incident like the Columbine Tragedy. The publication is a practical proof that all was not lost by slaying the good-hearted Rachel, but all the remaining students, including the survivors, the teachers and parents can carry the message of good hope to greater heights. It doesn’t need a saint or a perfect being; only a kind heart is required for one to be good.

It is a great value to always have a positive influence on the people that surround you; and never take anyone for granted. The Rachel’s Challenge, which is composed of five Columbine students is making its rounds around America’s middle and high schools talking to an audience of students, teachers and parents on how to forge a way forward against all odds. Even though life may deal you a blow, it is better to pick up your pieces and start all over again. When such goodwill messages are spread to pupils from a lower educational level, there is no doubt that such acts of violence will never be witnessed again. The streamlining of students should never be left to teachers alone; but parents, community leaders and law enforcers need to put together their might and help in shaping the youth. The problem however presents itself when the whole responsibility is left to the school administration. The youths get exposed to a lot of stuff that contributes to violent behavior. The violent packed video games, movies and sex explicit magazines are attributed to the latest character development in the teens. The tragedy could not be solely blamed on gun control, but on the latest rot in the society; thus putting all stakeholders on the spot and not only the parents, police or the teachers (Brown and Rob, p.4).

The memories of Rachel for over ten years now are being used to inspire students the nation over to realize the best character in them, thanks to the Rachel Challenges foundation. On the day of her death, Rachel was carrying a notebook in which she had written “I won’t be labeled as average” and surely just had she had stated, the foundation has ensured that her short-lived life has had positive impacts in the lives on many teens, parents and teachers. Rachel’s Challenge is driven by her family and friends who are geared to make the world a more compassionate place. The organization’s objective is to reach as many schools as possible. For the period that it has been in operation, Rachel’s Challenge has managed to initiate programs that encourage students in middle and high school to recognize their purpose in life and see the best there is in others in the society. The simple writings of Rachel have become a spring of consolation to many. The organization has sparked hope and encouragement and made a difference in the lives of many individuals; young and adults alike.

The foundation has made the entire American society look positively at the tragic event…so it is true that something this good can come out of such an evil act. It ha has been received positively world over. The K-12 is even making a proposal to have it accessible in colleges to spread the great kindness and compassion there. Tragedy does exist everywhere and it is never known when it would finally strike, Rachel’s smiling picture and soothing words have managed to help people understand senseless tragedy that befalls them. To Darrel, Rachel was a daughter who had time for everyone and friends to all; very soul was important to her. Much about her and her programs are presented on her website which also features more news that brings hope to the downtrodden. The movement has so far touched the lives of millions of people and presented Rachel’s real philosophy, just the way she could have done it were she alive. She was denied life beyond teenage, but her legacy and dream continue to live despite the odds. To show how much she loved to help people, the Scott family made public a discovery in Rachel’s dresser drawer her drawing (trace hand) and writings “these are Rachel’s hands, someday; they will touch millions of hearts”. She surely did, but not with her hands, but her good heart (Cullen, p.219).

All said and done, the facts represented in this essay paper holds it that, it is the responsibility of all the members of the society; parents, leaders, adults, teachers, police and the youths themselves to ensure that any evil act is routed out, or rather made public before it develops into a monster. There should be collective responsibility and the community should ever try to support one another rather than commit felonies against one another. But until then, peace will still be a far off dream and the younger generation would never live to appreciate one another. The challenges and the life that Rachel lived should be like an inspiration to every living soul, which needs to lift the spirits of the faint-hearted and give hope to the hopeless. Limitations and restrictions should be put on what the youth get their hands on; be it the video games, movies, internet, guns and anything that might prove dangerous to the developing minds, lest they get corrupted. Repots in ( revealed that it is through the internet that Harris and Klebold got the recipe for making explosives. But despite all these, Rachel’s dream of having a society that serves the public interest will surely come to pass, thanks to the publication of her challenges.

Such kinds of tragedy related to the Columbine clearly show that there is need to capture the life of every individual before they are finally punctuated by death, we should make the best of whatever we have in life. In a nutshell, Rachel’s Challenges have reinforced positive behavior in many social systems.

Brown Brooks and Rob Merritt. No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine . New York, NY: Lantern Books. (2002). pp. 3–4.

Cullen, Dave. Columbine . Grand Central Publishing. (2009). pp. 214-226.

Harris, Eric. Eric Harris web pages. 2009.

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IvyPanda. (2021, November 3). Rachel's Challenges and Its Benefits to the Youth. Columbine School Shooting.

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IvyPanda . "Rachel's Challenges and Its Benefits to the Youth. Columbine School Shooting." November 3, 2021.

IvyPanda . 2021. "Rachel's Challenges and Its Benefits to the Youth. Columbine School Shooting." November 3, 2021.

IvyPanda . (2021) 'Rachel's Challenges and Its Benefits to the Youth. Columbine School Shooting'. 3 November.

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What does it mean to Accept Rachel’s Challenge?

Rise to the challenge, be the difference.

Rachel’s last words come to us through an essay she wrote, just before her death. In it, she challenged us to, “Start a chain reaction”.

It begins with you . We have found that there are many ways one person can be the start of something big, something important, that makes a difference and changes people’s lives. And it’s simple. Give these actions a try – you just might start your own Chain Reaction .

Look for the best in others . Something worthwhile is always there, you only need to be willing to see it. Speak with kindness . It’s a choice – because you can’t always know what someone else is going through or experiencing. Chances are, if someone is being difficult, a little understanding and compassion will open a door. Choose positive influences and role models. The ideas and inputs you take in shape who you are. Curate your collection wisely. And above all, Dream Big . Anything is possible. Make goals and write them down, to make them real. Believe in yourself, and the power you have to affect your future and those around you. The hardships – and the opportunities – that you’ve been given are part of the journey. Where you go is up to you.

It’s your story. You can be the difference. Will you accept the challenge?

Join the nearly 30,000,000 people around the world who have accepted Rachel’s Challenge to start a chain reaction of kindness.

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The Lasting Impact of Kindness: Rachel’s Challenge

rachel's challenge essay

Inspired by kindness and the idea of paying it forward, Rachel’s Challenge channels positivity from tragedy. Rachel’s Challenge is named for Rachel Joy Scott, a student who lost her life in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Known by her peers for her remarkable kindness, Rachel made a point in her daily life to make everyone feel included, whether they were new to school or socially isolated. Even one-time interactions she had with her classmates are remembered fondly by those she had them with to this day. In Rachel’s final essay for school titled, “My Ethics, My Code of Life,” 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. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.” Her message and her mission lives on to this day through the words she left behind in journals and school papers.

The cornerstone of Rachel’s Challenge is how kindness creates chain reactions as well as the importance of not judging people on first impressions because you never know what they’re going through.

The five steps of Rachel’s Challenge are:

rachel's challenge essay

In the presentation for the Lower School, students were challenged by the speaker to create “chains of kindness.” For every act that happens or is seen, a paper chain will be created, and linked to others. The goal is to make the chain as long as possible, a feat that can only be accomplished through steady commitment.

In the Middle School presentation, another tool was introduced, “positive gossip.” The concept of positive gossip promotes telling others compliments that happen behind their back. A historic example of the positive effects this can have is in the once-adversarial relationship between the second and third presidents of the United States, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Thanks to their mutual friend, Benjamin Reach, Jefferson and Adams eventually became best friends. Reach made a habit of telling the other compliments they had given without the other knowing, which led to a positive outcome.

By having speakers from Rachel’s Challenge visit schools across the country, and hopefully sparking compassion, the organization aims to create a ripple effect in schools to reduce bullying and acts of violence. One of Rachel Joy Scott’s most poignant drawings is a tracing of the outlines of her hands. Inside the sketch she wrote, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.” Twenty-five million people to date have heard the Rachel’s Challenge presentation. Safe to say, she has. Learn more about Rachel’s Challenge by visiting .

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In September 2011, the East-West community joined  Rachel's Challenge  to promote a positive school culture through tolerance. Ms. Marinos described her motivation for bringing this powerful program to East-West:

The goals were to create a safe learning environment for all students, prevent school violence and bullying, improve academic achievement by engaging students' hearts, heads and hands in the learning process, and provide them with a social/emotional education.

Rachel Scott was the first student who was killed in the Columbine High School tragedy in 1999. During the school day portion, a Rachel's Challenge speaker shared Rachel's story and her message: Start a chain reaction with simple acts of kindness. Teachers gave special lessons and activities about anti-bullying during their regular classes.

  • East-West branch of the Friends of Rachel club

rachel's challenge essay

A class discussion on "What is Bullying?"

rachel's challenge essay

Rachel's Challenges.

rachel's challenge essay

Students and staff signed a banner to honor their commitment to Rachel's Challenge.

rachel's challenge essay

"I accept the challenge to dream big."

Family, friends, and community members were welcomed to an evening assembly, where they participated in the same presentation the students had earlier in the day and invited to share in the mission to create a lasting positive change in the school culture.

In order to keep the positive impact of the program alive at East-West, a group of teachers and students from grades 6-12 were trained to be in a "Friends of Rachel" club. Hiba Rashid '12 described her experience:

As the members of the F.O.R. met for the first time to discuss our goals and the purpose of this club, many people surprised me. I began to see many people in a new light, a side of them I’ve never seen or expected. It just made me realize that everyone has a story and before understanding that individual’s story, you shouldn’t even begin to judge them. I hope that East-West students will be able to continue Rachel Scott’s memory and create their own ways of how to change the point of view of others. The advice I have to offer to those who experienced the extended presentation of Rachel’s Challenge is this: I hope everyone will dedicate themselves to the F.O.R. club, not just for the first couple of days, or a few months but for this entire year and onward. If you were truly touched today, then take a chance to change someone else's life too.

For more information, visit  Rachel's Challenge .

rachel's challenge essay

Friends of Rachel training.

rachel's challenge essay

Students shared ways they promote kindness within their community.

rachel's challenge essay

"I will look for positive influences in life so it can help me exceed more and & learn what I can't learn on my own."

rachel's challenge essay

Wall of Kindness

rachel's challenge essay

Students developed their own "code of ethics" after studying Rachel Scott's essay.

rachel's challenge essay

A class discussion on the impact of the presentation.

rachel's challenge essay

A signed commitment to Rachel's Challenge. The banner will be displayed in the hallway.

rachel's challenge essay

Elected officials and community leaders attended the assembly.

rachel's challenge essay

Signing the banner.

rachel's challenge essay

Rachel's Challenge moves to inspire California

rachel's challenge essay

In February of 1999, Rachel Scott, a 17-year-old Columbine High School student, wrote an essay that told of how just one act of kindness can certainly start a chain reaction.

Six short weeks after Scott completed her essay, "My Ethics, My Code of Life," she was the first of 13 casualties of the Columbine shooting.

Twenty years later, her words of encouragement are being shared across the country through a group of presenters. One such presenter made her way to California Sept. 4.

Claire Sundermeyer is one of 28 presenters for Rachel's Challenge, a bullying and violence prevention program that was founded by Scott's father, Darrell. Darrell founded the program based on his daughter's essays and diary entries.

"Rachel knew in her heart that she was going to change the world," Sundermeyer said. "She loved to write and told her mother her biggest dream was to be a writer and a journalist. After she died, her father found six diaries filled with ways she, and others, could make the world a much better place."

Within the pages of those diaries was a list of challenges Rachel entrusted the world to begin. During Sundermeyer's presentation, her audience learned how they could start.

"The first challenge Rachel wanted to give was to ultimately eliminate all prejudice toward people who are different than you," she said. "Rachel urged us to look for the best in others. She wrote that it's important to give people three chances before you decide you don't like them. Who knows? Maybe they're just having a bad day. Rachel said to simply look in their eyes, look for the best in them and bring it out."

The second challenge is to dream big.

"Write all your goals and dreams down and keep a journal," Sundermeyer said. "Find some way to keep record of your journey. It's highly important to see your movement and your progress."

Thirdly, Rachel asked the world to choose positive influences. Sundermeyer said this challenge largely stemmed from peer pressure occurrences Rachel would see in her day-to-day life at school.

"Don't let your character change color with your environment," Rachel wrote. "Find out who you are and let it stay its true color."

Challenge number four is to make sure one always speaks with kindness.

Lastly, Rachel asked her readers to start their own chain reaction.

"I want you all to place your hand over your heart and close your eyes," Sundermeyer said to her evening presentees at the performing arts center. "I want you to think about all the people in your life that you love the most. Go to these people and start your own chain reaction. Tell them how much they mean to you and encourage them to enact kindness to everyone they see."

Words of appreciation were shared by California Middle School principal Matt Abernathy.

"About seven or eight years ago, Rachel's Challenge came to California and it transformed our school district and community for two to four years after that," Abernathy said. "Students and staff at the schools and even businesses in California were reminded of the event through paper chains of kindness that were made."

Abernathy said these chain links each had an act of kindness written on them and were connected together to form a chain long enough to line the perimeter of Old Riley Field.

"Knowing the community is in support of this sort of thing makes me so proud to be a Pinto."

Print Headline: Rachel’s Challenge moves to inspire California

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  8. Advocate for School Safety

    Rachel's last words come to us through an essay she wrote, just before her death. In it, she challenged us to, “Start a chain reaction”. It begins with you.

  9. The Lasting Impact of Kindness: Rachel's Challenge

    Rachel's Challenge is named for Rachel Joy Scott, a student who lost ... In Rachel's final essay for school titled, “My Ethics, My Code of

  10. Rachel's Challenge

    Students developed their own "code of ethics" after studying Rachel Scott's essay.

  11. Rachel's Challenge moves to inspire California

    In February of 1999, Rachel Scott, a 17-year-old Columbine High School student, wrote an essay that told of how just one act of kindness can

  12. Students and parents learn about Rachel's Challenge

    ... Rachel's Challenge by Westfield Police and the Rachel's Challenge ... The idea for Rachel's Challenge was originally from an essay that

  13. Rachel's Challenge on Tumblr

    Read Rachel Scott's Essay "My Ethics, My Codes of Life". #Rachel Scott#Rachels Challenge#rachel joy scott. Close notes. 0 43 58. Comments and tags. Avatar.

  14. Rachel's Challenge

    Train adults to inspire, equip and empower students to affect permanent positive change. Learn More About Rachel's Challenge. Read Rachel's Essay here. See