SPOKANE -- A young girl shot in the Columbine High School shooting nearly 12 years ago is touching the lives of teenagers in our community today. An essay Rachel Scott wrote before she died inspired a program called Rachel's Challenge. Now KREM 2 is teaming up with the national program to bring her powerful story to schools in the Inland Northwest.
On April 20, 1999 two boys stormed Columbine High School shooting at random. In the end, they killed 13 people and injured 24 others. Rachel Scott, 17, was the first person to be shot and killed.
Rachel was known for her compassion. Students said she looked for the good in everyone and stood up for anyone she felt was mistreated.
"She was a normal teenager who simply had a kind heart and wanted to make a difference in this world," said Rachel's father Darrell.
At first it seemed the shooters had forever silenced the girl who had dreams of making the world a kinder place. But in the days following her death, Rachel's dad discovered an essay she had written just one month before she died. She titles it 'My Ethics, My Codes of Life'. In it she wrote the following:
"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. People will never know how far a little kindness can go."
"In that essay, she challenged her reader to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion that would ripple around the world," said Darrell.
Following her death, people kept asking Rachel's family to talk about Rachel's life. The chain reaction Rachel envisioned finally emerged. Her acts of kindness coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the basis of Rachel's Challenge. Many consider it a life-changing school program.
More than 15 million people have seen the Rachel's Challenge Program making it the largest training and assembly program in the United States. Schools report the pro-kindness program drastically cuts down on bullying and increases attendance. 12 years after her death, Rachel's chain reaction of compassion is alive leaving an indelible impression on so many lives.
"I find in this life that there are two kinds of people: givers and takers and Rachel was a giver. And after her death she's continued to give with her life story to touch and change the lives of millions of people," said Darrell.
KREM 2 is teaming up with Rachel's Challenge to bring her powerful message to schools in the Inland Northwest. Click on the link in this story to learn more about Rachel's life, read her essay, and see how other communities across the country are starting her chain reaction.