AT&T contributes $10,500 to Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation

Rachel’s Challenge program keeps kids on track for graduation
On hand for the AT&T check presentation are in back (l-r) Sen. Steve Smyk, Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, Friends of Cape advisor Janeen McGinley, Sen. Ernie Lopez, Superintendent Robert Fulton, Friends of Cape advisor Mike Connors, AT&T representative Dennis Dunn, Friends of Cape advisor Chris Mattioni, Principal Brian Donahue, Assistant Principal Janet Maull-Martin, Rep. Harvey Kenton, Senior Secretary Terrylynn Falkinburg, and CHEF Board Member Annmarie Westerfield. In front are  Derek Jones, Shea Sugrue, Romy Stancofski, Olivia Bloom, and JJ Currie. BY DAN COOK
October 28, 2013

The Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation has announced a $10,500 contribution from AT&T to support the Rachel’s Challenge program, an initiative designed to decrease discipline problems and increase student attendance.

To highlight the work of the foundation and discuss the important work it does on behalf of students in the Cape Henlopen School District, Delaware Speaker of the House Rep. Peter C. Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, joined Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes; Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton; Rep. Harvey Kenton, R-Milford; and Mike Connors from the foundation along with officials from AT&T to announce the contribution.

Rachel’s Challenge is a national program inspired by the life and tragic death of 17-year-old Rachel Scott, the first victim of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. She left behind a diary where she wrote a theory that if “one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same.” Many students and community members came forward after her death to tell how her practice of this theory had actually changed their lives. The program is designed to equip students and adults with skills to combat bullying and allay feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion in the school and community.

“This program resonates with me,” said Schwartzkopf, who said he was bullied in middle school. “What these kids are doing is wonderful. Kids taking a stand is the way to stop bullies. I’m glad At&T is a sponsor. I think this is a great program.”

Lopez agreed. His children attend school in the Cape Henlopen School District. “As a parent and as a public official, I can’t think of anything more important right now for our corporate community than to be working side by side with our local teachers and administrators to make sure children have a safe social environment in our schools.”

"CHEF is very excited to be working with AT&T to bring Rachel’s Challenge to Cape Henlopen High School," said Rick Grier-Reynolds, CHEF president. "Students can’t succeed in school if they are afraid to go. This program has shown around the country how students and teachers can help make schools a better place for students to attend, without fear."

J. Michael Schweder, president of AT&T Mid Atlantic, said, "Rachel’s Challenge is a great example of a local nonprofits' teaming up with local schools and the private sector to keep students engaged in school and on a path to success.

“The lack of a high school degree can jeopardize a student’s ability to succeed in on the job and in life,” said Schweder. “That’s why AT&T supports organizations like CHEF, to inspire students to stay in school and to equip them with the skills they will need to achieve their dreams.”

Schweder said the contribution is aligned with AT&T Aspire, one of the largest corporate commitments focused on helping more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers. Last year, AT&T announced an additional quarter-billion-dollar expansion to the program, bringing the total commitment to $350 million since the program was launched in 2008. Learn more about AT&T Aspire by visiting

The Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation exists to develop resources and increase community awareness for the Cape Henlopen School District.  Learn more about CHEF by visiting