Hundreds of students at Abita Springs Middle School attended a presentation of “Rachel’s Story” Thursday, November 8, and as a result have started a new club called “Friends of Rachel.”
Dee Dee Cooper of Nashville, TN, conducted the program, telling the story of a young woman whose life philosophy has touched many around the world since she was killed in 1999. “The message is that one person can make a difference,” she said. “We talk about how one small act of kindness can truly be life-changing for someone else. Kindness and compassion can truly change the world.”
“Rachel’s is a powerful story,” Ms. Cooper said.
The program is connected to the popular “Rachel’s Challenge” program that was given in several St. Tammany Parish public schools last year. It tells the story of Rachel Scott, her winning personality, and her many efforts to reach out and befriend the new students at her school in Colorado.
The program includes interviews with the many young people and adults she influenced during her life, the poetry she wrote and entries from her diary, spotlighting her concerns and hopes for the future.
Miss Scott was the first student shot during the Columbine High School tragedy in 1999.
The new Friends of Rachel club will have close to 100 members whose goal will be to help each other and help others overcome bullying and being felt left out. They are given a list of projects they can do and are asked about what they would like to see changed at the school. The students “brainstorm” about projects to do to make things better. There are more than 1000 clubs already across the nation.
There was also a parent and community meeting at Abita Springs Middle School that evening, when PTA members and visitors had the opportunity to view a presentation about Rachael and the impact her life has had on millions of middle school, junior high and high school students over the past 12 years.
Several family representatives have been visiting schools all across the country to bring the message of the importance of friendship and reaching out to others.
Abita Springs Middle School has conducted a strong anti-bullying program in the past few years, incorporating rallies, games, and many other activities. “This presentation will carry on what the students learned last year,” said Principal Donna Forrest.
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