MICDS educated students about Rachel’s Challenge during the 2014-2015 school year, beginning with an introduction to the program for 9th graders. The School’s commitment to the program continues, with additional training provided to 10th graders, and introductory sessions for 9th graders and parents on October 20.
Rachel’s Challenge is a national movement inspired by the life and writings of Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim of the April 20, 1999, shootings at Columbine High School. Rachel believed that even the smallest acts of kindness could start a chain reaction that transforms entire communities. Rachel’s Challenge includes a series of student empowering, educator motivating programs and strategies called the Awaken the Learner Five-step School Improvement Process that equips students and adults to create and sustain safe, caring and supportive learning environments essential for academic achievement.
Presenters for Rachel’s Challenge include family and friends of the Scott Family. At MICDS, the presenter, Nate, spoke about prejudice in our everyday lives. “If we can pre-judge, then we can pre-accept. We talk about tolerance, but I believe acceptance is even better than tolerance,” he told students. His challenges to students included:
- Leave a Legacy of Kindness
- Show Compassion
- Practice Pre-Acceptance
- Learn From Your Mistakes
- Forgive Yourself and Others
MICDS has also formed a Friends of Rachel club (FoR) to continue this important work. Student leaders have created sub-committees dedicated to implementing different aspects of the program. They are: New Students, Tolerance and Acceptance, Focus on Arts and other Activities that don’t get a lot of publicity, and Special Projects. “I think the FoR club will be very beneficial to the MICDS Upper School because it will be a reminder to us all of Rachel’s story. FoR represents a community where anyone and everyone is welcome, encouraging pre-acceptance and inclusion,” said Liz Hughes ’18.
Bringing Rachel’s Challenge back to MICDS early in the school year was key for the Friends of Rachel group to build upon the energy and fresh commitment that immediately follows the Rachel’s Challenge presentations. “Our 10th grade FoR club members are passionate about including others and spreading the messages of kindness, inclusion, acceptance, and going out of your way to make a difference,” said Vicki Thurman, Director of Student Support Services. “Everyone in our community benefits from considering how our relationships with people we come into contact with every day are impacted by seemingly small interactions. By keeping this front and center for our community, our students can find meaning and purpose and truly make a difference for each other.”
MICDS FoR Student Leaders (all from the Class of 2018)