Rising to meet Rachel’s Challenge

Sarah Volante, Copy Editor

On Thursday, October 14, all Joliet West students reported to the auditorium during their assigned periods for a Rachel’s Challenge presentation. It was an emotionally moving assembly in which attendees laughed, cried, and reflected on their own lives. The presentation focused on the 1999 Columbine shooting and the goals of Rachel Joy Scott, one of the girls killed by the gunmen.

The speaker told stories of that tragic day, showed video clips, and shared excerpts from Rachel’s written work. It was her journals and essays that made Rachel’s Challenge a reality. The way she lived left a legacy of its own, but her writings put everything in motion. She wrote about how she was going to touch people’s lives and the chain reaction that one single act of kindness could make.

By the end of the period, students were asked to accept a few challenges. The goals were ultimately aimed at starting chain reactions of love and compassion. All it takes is one friendly gesture to begin the chain. Those small demonstrations of love and kindness can change someone’s life or even the world. Students were encouraged to set aside prejudices, look for the best in others, and simply to be kind.

During a video clip that featured a song and various pictures of Rachel, everyone was asked to reflect on their lives. It was a time to remember loved ones who have already passed and to think about who means the most to us. At that point in the assembly, many students were moved to tears by their memories. In many cases, they were comforted by those around them. Throughout the day, students that were emotionally affected by the message of Rachel’s Challenge began telling their friends how much they mean to them and some of the reasons why they love them. The chain reaction of kindness began instantaneously.

Rachel’s Challenge demonstrates that a little kindness goes a long way. We all need to make some changes, including putting an end to prejudice. Additionally, people need to start showing others more kindness.  The speaker also discussed the importance of telling people how much they mean to you because you might never get the chance again. Will you accept Rachel’s Challenge? A simple act of kindness could take as little as one second of your time. Take the challenge and make the world a better place, one small act at a time.