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Rachel's Challenge comes to Plymouth Elementary


October 23, 2010
PLYMOUTH -- It started as a simple class assignment.

When 17-year-old Rachel Scott was asked to set her thoughts on the subject of ethics down on paper, what emerged from her young mind was a philosophythat stunned those who read it, and that would one day ignite a nationwide movement.

"Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer," she wrote. "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."

Shortly after handing in "My Ethics, My Codes of Life," the essay that would one day serve as her personal manifesto, Scott became the first victim gunned down during the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colo. on April 20, 1999.

In the years since her tragic death, Scott's words, and the impact she made on others in her efforts to live by those words, have inspired those who knew her to spread her message of respect for all, regardless of who they are or what their background may be, through the "Rachel's Challenge" program.

On Wednesday morning, Oct. 27, Plymouth Elementary School will have the privilege of once again hosting "Rachel's Challenge."

"Having had Rachel's Challenge here in eyars past has left our students challenged, moved, and motivated," the team that brought the successful program back to Plymouth this year -- Principal Julie Flynn, student council advisor Jan Panagoulis, and "Rachel's Challenge" advisors Ellen Hand and Andy McDonald -- wrote in a letter recently sent home to local parents.

"Though originally designed for students and schools, this program reaches across all ages, backgrounds, and barriers and strikes at the heart of what is needed in every community: kindness and compassion," they added.

The student portion of the program will be followed at 7 p.m. that evening by a community presentation in the gymnasium, providing another opportunity for children and their families to open a dialogue and communicate with each other.

For more information on the "Rachel's Challenge" program, please contact the school or visit www.rachelschallenge.org.

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