October 24, 2013
October is National Bullying Prevention month and Albemarle High School (AHS) students did something special this year by asking for a program called Rachel’s Challenge.
The presentation focused on the kindness and compassion felt by Rachel Scott. She was one of the victims of the mass shooting at Columbine High School in April of 1999, where two students shot and killed 12 other students and one teacher and later took their own lives.
“You'll never know the shootings that were prevented by an act of kindness,” says Theo Wilson, presenter for Rachel’s Challenge. “You'll never know the kid who decided not to take his own life or take someone else's life because someone reached out.”
Wilson went to a high school near Columbine when the shootings took place and talked to students about Rachel's life and her message on compassion and kindness for others.
“Five or six school shootings have been prevented because people have come forward after seeing this presentation and that's what we choose to focus on,” says Wilson.
Rachel's challenge is made up of five points students should follow. Students should for the best in others, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness and start your own chain reaction.
Students at AHS have already started the chain reaction with their "Stop One Save One" campaign.
“The biggest thing that we are trying to do is promote kindness,” says Hannah Williams, senior at AHS. “So with or without a bullying problem kindness is always needed.”
Stop One Save One was founded two years ago by students at the high school and strives to make AHS a safer place by stopping a bully and saving a victim.
“I definitely don't think there is a huge problem with bullying at Albemarle, but of course we are in high school,” says Ann Yu, senior at AHS. “Being in high school, being a teenager comes with judging people, the isolation and there is that bullying aspect of it.”
Williams wants to remind students that there is help out there.
“They are not alone, but even with what they are going through, they are sharing this with someone else and there are always people who are willing to talk to them and love them.”
After hearing Rachel's story, students signed their name pledging that they would take on the challenge and strive for kindness in their school and community.