Hobbs middle school students next week will hear a national presenter speak on the topic of replacing acts of violence and negativity with acts of respect, kindness and compassion.
Because the district believes the message is so important, the public is also invited to communitywide presentation on Rachel’s Challenge – the program based on the life and writings of Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first victim of the Columbine school shootings in 1999.
Rachel’s inspiring story provides a simple, yet powerful example of how small acts of kindness and acceptance motivate us to consider our relationships with the people we come in contact with every day, according to HMS Deputy Supt. Eppie Calderon, who helped bring the challenge to Hobbs.
Presentations will be made at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week (Oct. 20-22) at the district’s three middle schools. The community is invited to hear details of Rachel’s life and her challenge at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the HHS Commons.
A few weeks after the Columbine tragedy, Darrell Scott, Rachel’s father, spoke to a Congressional House Judiciary Committee regarding issues of school violence. His speech has become one of the most widely read on the Internet. Shortly afterwards, he founded “Rachel’s Challenge,” a bullying and violence abatement program.
More than 2.5 million students annually experience Rachel’s Challenge and have the opportunity to accept the challenges, modeled after Rachel’s life and writings. The message of kindness and compassion told by Rachel’s story has been heard by students in several other countries and more than 17 million people. The message is particularly important in schools today because of escalating problems such as bullying, student isolation, teen suicide, discrimination, school violence and increased disciplinary actions, Calderon said. Rachel’s story gives us permission to start our own chain reaction of kindness and compassion, which positively affects the climate in our schools and communities, the administrator added.
“I know the presentation will have an impact on our students. I’m hoping it also will have a communitywide impact after Tuesday night’s presentation,” Calderon said.