NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. - “You Just May Start A Chain Reaction.”
This remarkable statement is not from a worldly philosopher or famous actor, but it is the words of a 17-year-old girl named Rachel Scott.
The story behind this sentence was shared at Melican Middle School on Monday night, as more than 120 parents and students were encouraged to accept Rachel's Challenge.
Rachel's Challenge is a pro-compassion campaign created in memory of Scott, who the first person killed during the 1999 Columbine High School shootings.
On behalf of the organization, presenter Shane Micheel came to Melican, talking about how Scott chose to live her life as well as how she is and will impact the lives of millions of people.
Two months before the shooting, Scott wrote an essay entitled “My Eithics, My Code of Life”, which challenged her readers to create “a chain reaction of compassion and kindness.”
From this written work and several journals, Scott shares how she felt that if she treated one person with kindness, then they would do the same to someone else, continuing on to cause a ripple effect around the world.
Part of Micheel's presentation was to challenge the audience to five different tasks, including choosing positive influences. One of Scott's mentors was Anne Frank, with whom she shared dreams of changing millions of people's lives through acts of kindness.
“They found Anne Frank's diary next to Rachel's bed the day she was killed,” said Micheel. “If you have read the diary, you can see how it impact Rachel's world and the influence it had on her.”
By leaving behind these journals, Scott and her mentor have helped their messages live on forever.
“If Rachel hadn't kept her writings and journals, we wouldn't have known nearly as much about her as we do,” Micheel added. “If Anne Frank hadn't kept her journal, we wouldn't have even known her name. She would sunk into the other six million faces.”
Following Scott's death, many students came forward and shared how Scott had left a positive impact on their lives.
Adam, a special needs student and classmate of Scott, was constantly bullied at school until one day, she stood up for him against two bullies. Adam has said the kindness Scott showed him saved his life, as the young man had thought of committing suicide.
During the final montage of video footage, the audience gained a first-hand look at Scott as a sister and daughter through a compilation of family home movies. The powerful footage showed images from childhood to high school, moving several people in the audience to tears.
The assemblies' impact at Melican and in Northborough has already gone viral, as dozens of students and parents have left messages on the organization's Facebook page, proclaiming their acceptance of Rachel's Challenge.
“She is so far beyond her years, it's cool to be part of the movement, but honestly the biggest honor is getting to share her story,” said Micheel. “I'm so glad we're impacting millions of people, but Rachel is really impacting people, I'm just the messenger.”