In 1999, a girl named Rachel Scott in Colorado had a dream to change the world.
She drew the outline of her hand on the back of a dresser, where she wrote, "These hands belong to Rachel Jay Scott and will one day touch millions of people's hearts."
For five years now, Scott's hands have touched the hearts of students in Upshur County who participate in Rachel's Challenge. On Thursday, more than a thousand students from Buckhannon Academy, French Creek, Rock Cave, Union, Washington District, Hodgesville and Tennerton elementary schools along with Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School joined together at Buckhannon-Upshur High School for the Rachel's Challenge Field Day. Some Buckhannon-Upshur High School groups such as the American Red Cross, Future Educators of America, 4-H, Teen Institute and the B-U Drum Line also participated.
Buckhannon Police Department Chief Matt Gregory visits with elementary students during a Rachel’s Challenge event this week at Bukhannon-Upshur High School.
West Virginia Wesleyan College's coach Patrick Beilein signed autographs, while West Virginia University Mountaineer Jonathan Kimble also made an appearance. All of this happened because of a chain reaction sparked by one high school teenager.
According to a video on the Rachel's Challenge website, Scott "went out of her way to show kindness and compassion." She was the first to die in the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, the website states. She was just 17 years old.
She left behind a journal that described her plans to start a chain reaction of kindness and a statement that was written near the time of her death, the website states.
"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," Scott said in a quote used om the Rachel's Challenge website.
After her tragic death, Scott's father and stepmother, Darrell and Sandy Scott, founded Rachel's Challenge. It has since swept through schools in the nation as more and more schools and students accept Rachel's Challenge. Participating students perform acts of kindness and raise awareness about bullying.
Through Rachel's Challenge, Scott has been able to fulfill her dream to touch millions of hearts and has even saved many lives. The website states that in just three years, nearly 500 students sent unsolicited emails to Rachel's Challenge to say that they sought help after hearing Rachel's story, because they had considered suicide.
More information about Rachel's Challenge is available at www.rachelschallenge.org.