BUCKHANNON - For the sixth year, Upshur County students followed in the footsteps Tuesday of a young Colorado girl who wanted to make the world a better place.
Rachel Scott, only 17, was the first victim of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, but her acts of kindness toward others became her legacy.
On Tuesday, the Upshur County students' field day program for the annual Rachel's Challenge event was held indoors because of the wet and rainy weather. Students in grades 3-12 gathered at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, with many being recognized for their acts of kindness through the school year.
"(Rachel's Challenge is) a chance for the kids to work on their acts of kindness, come together as a group and try to work on stopping bullying," Superintendent Roy Wager said, adding that the field day program is a way for children to see "that it's a lot better to be doing good things for your community and your school than it is getting in trouble."
According to the Rachel's Challenge website, Scott left behind a journal that described her plans to start a "chain reaction of kindness."
"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 wrote.
After her tragic death, Scott's father and stepmother, Darrell and Sandy Scott, founded Rachel's Challenge. Participating students perform acts of kindness and raise awareness about bullying. Upshur County school students are taught that every act of kindness can create a link in the chain reaction of kindness.
Buckhannon Academy Elementary School reported 9,670 acts of kindness performed by its students this year through fundraisers, events and other means.
Hodgesville Elementary School reported 8,633 acts of kindness this year, while Rock Cave Elementary School reported 1,936, French Creek Elementary School reported 1,878, Tennerton Elementary School reported 1,640, Union Elementary School reported 1,552, Buckhannon-Upshur High School reported 1,400, Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School reported 1,300 and Washington District Elementary School reported 918.
More information about Rachel's Challenge is available at www.rachelschallenge.org.