Teaching Students About Rachel Scott
Rachel Joy Scott was a student at Columbine High School and was the first victim of the tragic Columbine High School shooting in 1999. However, she left behind a lasting legacy, not just in remembrance of her life cut short, but of her inspiring commitment to compassion and kindness.
Rachel’s Challenge, a non-profit organization established in her memory, is an initiative committed to making schools safer and more connected places where bullying and violence are replaced with kindness and respect. The program is based on Rachel’s writings, which revealed a unique perspective on life. It aims to help students and educators create a culture of kindness in their schools, focusing on the values of empathy, respect and connectedness.
One way to teach students about Rachel Scott is by introducing them with her life story through a biographical narrative. This begins from her early life — highlighting qualities such as her love for writing and acting in school dramas — leading to the fateful day of the Columbine massacre.
Next, showcasing excerpts from Rachel’s personal diary can provide students with a more intimate look at who Rachel really was. Her writing presents mature, profound thoughts filled with empathy towards others. They are an excellent tool for discussions on personal growth, empathy, and kindness.
An integral part of teaching students about Rachel Scott also involves teaching them about the core elements of Rachel’s Challenge. Activities like the chain reaction activity — where one act of kindness leads to another — or discussing stories from the program where Rachel’s philosophies have made an impact can help students understand these concepts better.
Integrating these lessons within existing topics can also be helpful. For instance, during discussions on bullying or violence prevention: teachers can utilize stories of Rachel’s kindness as practical examples on understanding its effects toward creating safe school environments.
Lastly, participating in or organizing a community event such as “Friends of Rachel” club focusses on initiating continuous projects promoting kindness within their communities. Such activities allow students to carry forward what they’ve learned about Rachel Scott in their own unique ways while promoting positive change.
Teaching about Rachel Scott isn’t just about discussing her tragic end or remembering her as a victim but understanding and internalizing her philosophy towards life: spreading kindness unconditionally. This way, it transcends beyond being just a lesson; it becomes a way of life for many who are influenced by it.