Rachel’s Challenge: Vinemont hosting anti-bullying event Wednesday night

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VINEMONT – Vinemont High School is fighting bullying and violence head on. On Wednesday, the school will host an event, Rachel’s Challenge, and hopes to make a community-wide impact. Rachel’s Challenge is based on the life and writings of Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first victim of the Columbine school shootings in 1999.

According to the organization, Rachel’s Challenge exists to equip and inspire individuals to replace acts of violence, bullying and negativity with acts of respect, kindness and compassion. Rachel’s inspiring story provides a simple, yet powerful example of how small acts of kindness and acceptance motivate us to consider our relationships with the people we come in contact with every day. Rachel’s Challenge renews our hope that our life has meaning and purpose. Rachel’s story gives us permission to start our own chain reaction of kindness and compassion, which positively affects the climate in our schools and communities.

“This was very life-changing in some of our other schools. I know Fairview did it a few years ago. So this is something we’ve been wanting to do for a few years; it’s just now been able to get going,” said Vinemont High School teacher Mandy Redding.

“There’s a quote that Rachel’s Challenge uses . . . it says, ‘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.’  So, that’s kind of what we’re wanting to happen in our schools.”

Continued Redding, “One thing that we’re excited about is the speaker that’s coming is Rachel’s uncle . . . His name is Larry Scott.  That’s a big deal, that he’s coming to be the speaker.  So that’s a family member; not just a speaker, but a family member of Rachel.”

More from the organization: “A few weeks after the tragedy, Darrell Scott, Rachel’s father, spoke to a Congressional House Judiciary Committee regarding issues of school violence. His speech has become one of the most widely read document on the internet. Shortly afterwards, he founded “Rachel’s Challenge,” a bullying and violence abatement program. More than two million students annually experience Rachel’s Challenge and have the opportunity to accept the challenges, modeled after Rachel’s life and writings.”

The administration of Vinemont Middle and High School shared, “Here at Vinemont Middle/High School we value our community and seek to reestablish it as a priority for our students and ‘for our students.’  All the people in this community deserve students that show empathy and love for one another.  We want to use Rachel's Challenge to energize and excite our young people to show kindness and be a light in any dark place they encounter.  We want our students to lift up others and be a lighthouse for the lost.  Rachel Joy Scott was murdered in cold blood at Columbine High School because of her Christian beliefs.  We want to challenge our students to believe in something bigger than themselves.  Rachel's Challenge is a program, unlike any other character education program.  Rachel's challenge is meant to change our school and our community.  We hope to see the effects of this program for many years to come.  We want to invite all members of the community Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Vinemont High School Gym to join us in accepting Rachel's challenge.”

The Cullman community is invited to the Rachel’s Challenge event which will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Vinemont High School gymnasium. An event will be held for Vinemont students Wednesday morning at 8:30.

Find out more at http://rachelschallenge.org.

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