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Rachel’s Challenge: Try a little kindness

Rachel’s Challenge: Try a little kindness
NANNETTE KILBEY-SMITH La Vernia community members gather to sign the Rachel’s Challenge banner, pledging to promote kindness and compassion, following an April 24 presentation in the La Vernia ISD auditorium.

“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.”

This quote, from a high school essay, is the powerful impetus behind Rachel’s Challenge.

Students at the La Vernia high school and junior high campuses, along with community members, were introduced to Rachel’s Challenge April 21-24. Named for and inspired by the life and writings of Rachel Joy Scott, the first student killed in the Columbine High School shootings 18 years ago, the program invites each person to make a difference in their life and the lives of others, through kindness and compassion.

The quote at the beginning of this article was written by Rachel, just weeks before she was shot and killed by fellow students.

In the wake of the recent alleged sexual assaults in the La Vernia High School boys athletic department, the La Vernia Education Foundation helped the district provide the program to aid students and community members.

Cody Hodges made the presentations at the high school and to the community Monday.

Rachel’s Challenge invites participants to promote a positive climate in their schools and communities. It also encourages people to:

¢Look for the best in others

¢Dream big!

¢Choose positive influences

¢Speak with kindess

¢Start your own chain reaction.

“When we choose to do these things,” Hodges said Monday evening, “that’s when things change. Let’s change our culture.”

After the high school presentation earlier that day, he said students were inspired to immediately put the challenge into action. Students wrote encouraging messages on sticky notes, and placed one on each locker at the high school campus, so students returning from lunch would see them and be uplifted.

“It was incredible,” said one student who witnessed this. “I hope it makes a difference.”

“Think about the words you say every day, the words you post in a Facebook rant,” Hodges said. “We’d never say these things if we were face-to-face with that person. é Words can hurt or heal. They can speak death, or life. Our words have a lot of power.”

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