There was no getting around the fact that it would be a tough night. A father coming to share the legacy of his daughter, a 16-year-old girl shot and killed in the worst high school shooting in American history. There were tears, but also applause, laughter, and song.
People filled Glacier High’s new auditorium to hear the message of Rachel Joy Scott. Rachel was one of the first students killed in The Columbine shootings on April 20, 1999.
“Rachel wrote; ‘compassion is the greatest form of love people have to offer,’”Kalispell 8th grader Haylee Sauer told the crowd, “she can be described in many ways; kind, compassionate, loving, but I describe her as a good friend.” Haylee is one of the reason’s Rachel’s father came to speak in Kalispell. She along with Devinne Schultz, Krista Andersen, Haylee Sauer, Kelsey Davis, Whitley Newberry, Jenny, Mary, and Amy Snipstead, and Chloe Smith read “Rachel’s Tears as part of the Alpha Omega Youth group led by Rya Diede of Faith Lutheran Church. The girls then spent about a year raising $14,500 to have Rachel’s father, Darrell Scott, bring Rachel’s Challenge to the Flathead. The money goes toward the Rachel’s Challenge program and partner programs which focus on ending school violence and helping the needy.
Rachel’s Challenge has become a vehicle for her goals. Darrell, his son Craig, and many others go to school’s throughout the country, and the world, to speak. They tell Rachel’s story, and encourage students, teachers, and the community to wipe out violence with kindness.
“Sometimes people say, ‘I don’t know how you can do this,’” Darrell Scott said, “I always say I don’t know how I couldn’t.” Just weeks before she was killed, Rachel had written an essay called “My Ethics, My Code of Life.” She cited honesty, compassion, and looking for the best in people as key elements of her “code”.
“Rachel challenged her reader to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion,” Darrell Scott said. Rachel’s Challenge does the same.
After Rachel’s murder, Darrell and his wife found Rachel had traced an outline of her hands on the back of her dresser. Inside, where her palm had rested, she wrote “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott, and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.”
On the web: www.rachelschallenge.com
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