After two snow days off this week, and a two hour delay on Wednesday January 13, Nashville Tennessee resident Meichelle Gibson came to Jasper High School to teach the kids about compassion and kindness, and treating others with respect and to be aware of your classmate’s feelings. Meichelle is friends with Rachel Scott’s family, who was first shot in a school shooting on April 20th, 1999. Rachel wanted change in the world, and skeptically knew she would die young, but wanted to touch millions of people’s hearts before she left the world. Rachel Joy Scott wanted happiness to be spread, not hate. She stood up for what she believed in, even if it made her made stand out against her classmates for going against what’s expected of them. Rachel also wanted to make new students feel welcome, by sitting with them at lunch when they felt alone and vulnerable. She stood up to bullies, thinking what she did didn’t make much of an impact, but it did. Like Anne Frank, Rachel kept a diary. Often she would draw in it, and write analogies and how she would change the world one day. In one particular drawing, she drew eyes with tears falling down, 13 tears to be exact. The tears poured onto a flower, which blossomed from the ground. She drew it the same day she passed away, and as 13 tears were drawn, 12 students and a teacher were shot and killed, leaving 22 wounded.
What Rachel wanted in her life was to spread happiness and joy. Meichelle shared that with the Rachel’s Challenge program, which gave students a challenge to better live their life and challenge others to do the same. The 5 steps to kindness into the challenge was first to get rid of prejudice. Meichelle presented a video in where Rachel’s brother Craig Scott explained about he had a black friend, and was ridiculed in the last few minutes of his life, before Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot him, and the others. The second was to dream big and write down your goals. Rachel did that by writing down how she felt, and how she dreamed of touching millions of people’s hearts. The third is to choose positive influences, the fourth is to speak with kindness, and the fifth was to start your own chain reaction. Students were asked to then bow their head down and think about how many people were in their lives and to be appreciative of them, because no one knows when you can lose somebody so close.