Mt. View students ‘smile’ for Rachel

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Presenter Jim Kennedy shaes a moment with Mountain View High School principal Robert Presley. STAFF PHOTO/TOM FONTANA





Mountain View High School is wrapping the recent “Rachel’s Challenge” presentation into its anti-bullying program.

Students, faculty and parents pledged to “look for the best in others” following a presentation of “Rachel’s Challenge” on Thursday night, Sept. 19.

Earlier in the day, during school, Jim Kennedy, a physical education and health teacher in Rhode Island, who has been a Rachel’s Challenge presenter for two years, offered the 50-minute program to Mountain View students.

Rachel Scott, a 17-year-old student at Columbine High School in Colorado, was the first person killed during a shooting rampage by two fellow students on April 20, 1999.

Following her death, Rachel’s journals and tributes by family and friends revealed her commitment to “reaching out” to help others.

That reaching out began at Mountain View with the first of other activities being planned by a select group of students, including sophomore Brandon Freely.

“We’ve created ‘Hi-Five Fridays,’ Brandon, 15, explained.  “Everybody is being encouraged to hi-five each other.  We tried it Friday after the Rachel’s Challenge program, and it was great.  It made us smile every time we got or gave a hi-five.”

Junior Jolie Winemiller, 16, said Rachel’s story is inspiring.  “Rachel teaches us not to judge people by how they look, or dress, or their ethnic background,” Jolie explained.  “We should get to know a person first, from the inside out.”

The presentation made seventh-grade student Bobby Gray, 12, more aware of the needs of others.  “One time, I remember seeing a student having trouble getting their locker open,” he recounted.  “I just walked by, thinking that student would be late for class.  If I ever see something like that again, I’ll stop and help that student because that’s what Rachel would have done.”

Keegan Mack, 15, a freshman, felt Rachel’s message has a spiritual side.

A drawing Rachel made in her journal just hours before her death showed two eyes dripping tears on a flower,” Mack recalled.  “The flower was growing.  It was a drawing about life and death.  Rachel’s death is helping to grow a new life into all of us.”

“The concepts of Rachel’s Challenge blend perfectly with our anti-bullying campaign,” high school principal Robert Presley said.

He  added, “A group of about 50 students, grades 6 to 12, have been selected by teachers to find ways to encourage our school community to continue the message and goals of Rachel.”

On Thursday evening, Mountain View High School students, faculty and parents also pledged to “look for the best in others” following a presentation of “Rachel’s Challenge.”

Sponsors of the program were Northern Tier Industry & Education Consortium, Chesapeake Energy, Wyoming County Community Health Foundation, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center.