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Rachel's Challenge makes impact at Cape

Alex Jackson of Nashville, Tenn., presents Rachel's Challenge to the freshman class at Cape Henlopen High School. More than 160,000 students skip school each day because they are bullied, teased or humiliated by other students. Rachel's Challenge is trying to put an end to the harassment and create a safer learning environment for all students. BY DAN COOK
October 15, 2013

Rachel's Challenge, a student empowering program, offers strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and end feelings of isolation and despair, by creating a culture of kindness and compassion. The program was presented at Cape Henlopen High School Oct 10.

Presenter Alex Jackson delivered the message of Rachel Joy Scott, the first student killed in the tragedy at Columbine High School April 20, 1999, when 12 students and a teacher were gunned down by two fanatical students who followed the teachings of Adolf Hitler.

The Columbine shootings rank as one of the worst mass shootings in United States history and one of the worst episodes of school violence.  

Rachel Scott was a 17-year-old student who believed in reaching out to students who were different or who were bullied by others at school. She left a legacy of writings that live on through the program started by her father and stepmother, Darrell and Sandy Scott.

Shortly before her death, Rachel 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 of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go."

Since its inception, Rachel's Challenge has touched the lives of more than 19 million people from all parts of the world. Cape students have been touched by the program for the last two years, and they have created a chain reaction to end violence and bullying, and create a safer learning environment at Cape.

"It really touched me," said freshman Noah Piper of the program. "It was really a great experience."

"Rachel's Challenge inspired us to be kind to others and to be grateful for the time we have with the people we care about," said freshman Molly Weeks.

"In order to carry on the acts of kindness of Rachel's Challenge, we have created Friends of Cape," said guidance counselor and club advisor Chris Mattioni.

"We do special events to spread her legacy, such as Mix it up Day, where we change the cafeteria around so students have to mingle with others rather than their friends. We meet once a week to plan and discuss our program."

Students at Cape Henlopen have realized that Rachel's legacy can be achieved through their actions.

"Rachel's Challenge really opened my eyes to how important my relationships are with my friends and family," said freshman Payton Heck. "Never take a day for granted, because you never know if it will be the last."

For more information about Friends of Cape, phone 302-645-7711.