It is named for Rachel Scott who was among the first students killed during the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
Darrell Scott, Rachel’s father, established Rachel’s Challenge to perpetuate his daughter’s example and the two-page “Code of Ethics” she wrote a month before her death.
The organization’s mission statement is to “motivate, educate and bring positive change to many young people.” The Rachel’s Challenge presentations are given in schools and communities by members of her family and other speakers, using video footage of the Columbine High School massacre and its aftermath, combined with Rachel Scott’s drawings and writings, in a campaign to quell school violence, bullying, teen suicide, and being kind to each other and doing kind acts for others.
County School Superintendent Steve Hansen and Assistant Superintendent Pam Teel have adopted the program for Rachel’s Challenge to happen in Lincoln County, which it did last week.
Pahranagat Valley Elementary Principal Brian Higbee said the local administrators went to Denver last year to hear a presentation.
Last week, all the elementary school kids in the district, Pre-School – 6, came to Alamo for a day of service projects and heard a presentation from Theo Wilson of the Denver headquarters, learning how the program can be of benefit to the schools and individuals.
“We had over 400 students here,” Higbee said, “and were able to do some community service. We pulled a bunch of weeds around the town. Some of the older kids did some cleanup work for certain individuals. We made the town look really good and the kids were loving it.”
Later in the afternoon, Wilson gave the same assembly to the Pahranagat Valley High students.
On Friday, the school teachers and staff heard a presentation from Joe Coles of Rachel’s Challenge, learning a bit more about specific skills for how to implement the concepts every day in the schools.
Higbee said sometime in the future, the students will do other service projects in other communities of the county.
Hansen said the appearance of the speakers from Rachel’s Challenge was sponsored by Robert Ellis, a businessman and his wife Sandy, from Henderson. Ellis said Mrs. Teel had contacted him and asked if he might be interested in helping. Initially he sent a check for $2,000, but decided he and his family, would sponsor and attend the event in Alamo.
In past years, Ellis has made donations to at least four other elementary schools in Clark County, of tennis shoes and toys. In 2013, he purchased presents for all the classes at Caliente Elementary.
In addition to sponsoring the Rachel’s Challenge visit this year, Ellis donated $5,000 to Pahranagat Valley High School and told principal Mike Strong to use it how he sees fit to benefit the students.
“It’s the teachers, the volunteers, the staff, who are the heroes,” Ellis said. “They see the problems of these kids everyday, and they have to help. Our reward is seeing the smiles and joys when the kids get their tennis shoes, socks, and toys at Christmas.
Ellis estimated it will amount to over 4,000 pairs of tennis shoes and 4,500 toys this year.