Rachel's Challenge coming to Kecoughtan High


by Lasalle Blanks, 13News


Posted on November 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 15 at 5:22 PM

Kecoughtan High School

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HAMPTON -- Monica Smith is on a mission at Kecoughtan High School in Hampton.

She's recruiting students to join "Rachel's Challenge" to help make a difference.

"It's great to see the kids get empowered and take on something so positive it's very moving and they are powerful -- they can do more than they realize they can," said Monica. "We want to do that here."

Rachel's Challenge is a national program that inspires young people to make positive changes at their schools through acts of kindness. It's inspired by writings left by Rachel Scott, the first student killed in the mass shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999. Student gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher before turning the guns on themselves.

It is the 4th biggest school shooting massacre in U.S. history.

Out of that tragedy, Rachel's father began this program to try and improve school environments.

So far, he's reached more than 2 million students.

"Those students were the essence of hate," Monica said. "But with this program, they turn it around and get kids to see that hate, in any form, is wrong."

The program costs each school $5,000. It includes schoolwide assemblies with national speakers who tell Rachel's story; special training for students to combat negative behavior at school; and learning materials to keep the program going for years to come.

Karen Leckemby is the president of the Parent Teacher Student Association. She believes it's money well spent.

"This program is going to show them the bully side -- and all the violence -- and how to counter that - make a positive change," she said.

To help offset the cost, Monica has been seeking support from area businesses.

She's received help from Old Pointe National Bank and a promise of support from Abuelos Mexican Restaurant at the Peninsula Town Center.

"It's about kids helping kids and being there for each other," Jen Register said, of Old Pointe National Bank,"We believe in positive programs that effect our children."

Monica and Karen and the rest of the Parent Teacher Student Association plan to hold a communitywide assembly for parents and students of any school to get more information about Rachel's Challenge.

The event takes place Tuesday night, December 6th at 6:30 at Kecoughtan High School in Hampton.