RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ Plus) — Rachel’s Challenge attempts to promote safer and more connected schools so that teaching and learning can thrive.
Today, a speaker from the program visited Richland High School in Johnstown to talk with students about the challenge.
The program is named after one of the victims of the Columbine shootings.
“Rachel Scott, she was a junior at Columbine High School in 1999 when the shootings at Columbine happened,” says Kayla Bergholz, a speaker for Rachel’s Challenge.
Rachel was the first person shot during the attack.
“Her family had started Rachel’s Challenge shortly after that and began going to schools and communities to spread more about her message.”
Richland High School Principal, Tim Regan, says that the message is simple.
“Rachel’s Challenge instructs students on how to make the world a better place by really promoting kindness and compassion within our culture, our district and even our community.”
The students are given five challenges during presentations.
“Looking for the best in others, things like dreaming big, and choosing positive influences, that’s another challenge and speaking kind words,” says Bergholz.
For two students, it’s been a day full of learning.
“I think that we take for granted some interactions that we have with each other and how much they actually mean to us and also how much kind gestures should actually mean,” says junior Emma Richards.
“I realized that when you focus more on the positive things and don’t really look into the darkness and you try to flip on the switch for your own light, you can bring your own light into the community, into the student body and just make a better community overall,” says junior Rylee Morgan.
Bergholz says the project has seen lots of positive results with students.
“Every year, 150 people will email us saying that they decided not to take their own life because of the message that they heard.”
That’s why Rachel’s Challenge will continue to spread Rachel Scott’s message in schools and in communities.