SNOHOMISH, Wash. —Totem Falls Elementary students headed into summer break with a parade around the school and banners announcing a huge achievement. They successfully completed their first year of Rachel’s Challenge. Named in memory of Rachel Scott who was killed in the Columbine Massacre in 1999, the program encourages compassion and kindness.
The highlight was the announcement of the number of links in the school’s chain of compassion. Each link expressed an act of kindness witnessed by a student. Cheers and applause broke out when School Counselor Rachel Hansen announced the number : 4,993.
“This is not just a one shot deal,” says Hansen. “It’s a mindset, it’s an attitude, it’s the way you view life.”
During the year, the students extended their compassion to the greater community with food and toy drives and a fund drive for Seattle Children’s.
Some students said they learned a lot about kindness. “We helped others and if they were alone, we would go ask them to play,” said third grader Jamie Stout. Her classmate Brie Hebert agreed. “Even if they were having a bad day, we could set them up for a good day.”
According to the Rachel’s Challenge website, the program is in thousands of schools in all 50 states and six countries.