Filed underIndependent Schools
Rachel’s Challenge is a program that was introduced last year on October 25th when Saint Margaret School of Bel Air decided to develop a Rachel’s Challenge Club. Rachel’s Challenge is a new anti-bullying program named after Rachel Scott, the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. The program is a comprehensive and proactive approach to encouraging kind and compassionate behavior that involves the entire school community. Rachel’s challenge kicked-off with two sessions: a one-hour presentation for students to motivate them to treat others with kindness, and a similar presentation that evening for the parents and community leaders. It was then followed up with a year-long curriculum called Friends of Rachel, which was designed to create a “chain reaction” effect of positive behavior among students and the school community. All students of Saint Margaret School were invited to join Friends of Rachel, and ultimately had 50 students participate. Students were allowed to choose the group they wanted to work in:
Compassion in Action Committee (CIA) – Students did periodic checks on new students to Saint Margaret School during the school year to make them feel a part of the school and welcome. The students also developed a commercial that was shown in the morning on how to intercede if you saw or heard a “bullying incident”
Marketing and Recruiting Group – This group kicked off the club every week by reading a quote during the morning accouchements and following through to make sure the topics were discussed in their religion class or homeroom.
Chain of Kindness Committee – Organized The Chain of Kindness, which was paper strips with kind words that students would make to others. The Chain of Kindness Committee worked on organizing the chain, gathering the materials, retrieving, and storing the strips to later compile the chain. Once finished, a commercial was made explaining the process and meaning.
Historian – keeps track of the events for the school year
Ambassadors – This group was responsible for networking to other schools across the nation.
Rachel’s acts of kindness and compassion on that tragic day at Columbine High School coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the foundation for this insightful and instructive school program that has been featured on CNN, The Today Show and Good Morning America.
With the new school year, current members will invite all incoming 6th graders to join the Challenge by making a commercial to recruit the incoming 6th graders for the 2012-13 school year. Saint Margaret School is proud to be a part of this program and looks forward to continuing Rachel’s Challenge year after year.