“How does my next decision reflect the rest of my life?”
Rachel Joy Scott believed those words could make an impact on many people.
Rachel was the first victim in the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999. She had five challenges she lived by and believed could change the world if pursued. Rachel had faith these challenges could stop bullying and create a safe environment for everyone.
Marshfield began Rachel’s Challenge with an assembly telling Rachel’s story. Friends and family of Rachel came together to make a presentation to show at schools across the United States. A group of superintendents in the area saw the presentation, and Coos Bay School District superintendent Dawn Granger made the decision to bring the program to Marshfield. The presentation includes news clips of the shooting, an essay written by Rachel and her five challenges.
Senior Alicia Hatzel thought the event was tragic, but also felt it could have been fate.
“It’s not cool what happened to her, but I think it’s really cool what has come out of the circumstances,” Hatzel said.
According to sophomore Colby Gillett, the assembly impacted him and many others.
“The assembly made me think that there’s an ultimate plan everywhere in the world,” Gillett said.
Rachel challenged people to look for the best in others, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness and start their own chain reaction.
In remembrance of Rachel, MHS is not only participating in Rachel’s Challenge but now has a Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club.
FOR Club director and math teacher Megan Free feels the club will be good for MHS and the community as a whole.
“It’s just changing the feeling of the high school,” Free said. “We’re hoping that there will be an atmosphere of kindness.”
The club is made up of different committees working within a group of 70 students. They include the Welcoming Committee, the Athletic Committee, the Recruiting Committee, the Marketing Committee and the Compassion in Action (CIA) Committee. Each group brings a different angle to the club.
However, FOR Club is not the full extent of Rachel’s Challenge. All students have been encouraged to take part in being kind to others. This can be as simple as holding the door open for someone or giving them a smile in the hallway.
Among many other students, Hatzel, ambassador of the club, believes FOR Club will help the atmosphere of MHS.
“I’m passionate about FOR club because I have a desire to encourage people and serve people,” Hatzel said.
According to junior Lindsay Brown, many of the members of FOR Club are drawn to the group because they have been victims of bullying.
“Most people in the club have been bullied and feel strongly about it [FOR Club],” Brown said.
Making MHS a better place for students is a goal, but for Free, so is spreading kindness across the community. Free hopes to get families and community members involved in Rachel’s Challenge as well.
“We just need to be nicer to people,” Free said. “There’s so many little things we could do as an individual like writing a little note to someone you don’t know.”
Members of FOR Club meet every other Tuesday at lunch to discuss what they can do in the future.
Students such as Gillett are enjoying FOR Club. Gillett trusts in the goodness of the club and hopes for a rise in membership.
“More people need to join, we need all the people we can get,” Gillett said. “The more of you we have, the better the school will get.”