NORFOLK -- It's unusual to see teenagers crying in class, but for the very first time, students at Granby High School in Norfolk were exposed to the power of Rachel's Challenge -- a program that gets them thinking about how they can make their school more unified, kind, and compassionate.
At times it got emotional. Topics ranged from other students harming themselves to students dealing with the death of a loved one.
"You guys are family," said Alex Jackson, a Rachel's Challenge trainer. "You spend more time here than you do at your house. So, if we can learn to trust in one another and confide in one another, imagine how much better things would be here."
The first training session encouraged students to stand up and confide in their peers.
One student stood up and said there are stereotypes and barriers at school. After the program, she said it's her goal this year to break those barriers.
"Compassion and kindness seem like weak, small words, but this assembly, this challenge, really proves we can have more here", said educator Mary Hightower.
The program is all about acceptance and communication. Then, students will meet on a regular basis in workshops to develop activities and programs that emphasize kindness and compassion over hatred and violence.
"It's so cool to hear them care now," said Social Studies teacher Catherine Kammer.
The school district sees Rachel's Challenge as part of its core character building plan.
13News Now will follow Granby High School throughout the school year to monitor their progress.