Friday, November 2, 2012

I accept the Challenge. Do you?

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Rachel Joy Scott. Okay, so maybe she was not a storybook character, but sometimes her story seems like it could be the plot of a best seller.  Rachel was a senior in high school who went out of her way to make the world a better place.  She stood up to bullies, sat with new kids at lunch, and never hesitated to reach out a helping hand. However, her mission to change the world came to a halt on April 20th, 1999, when she was became the first victim of the Columbine Shootings. Her journey may have ended that day, but that of her family and friends had only begun. They traveled across America, visiting millions of schools to spread Rachel’s story and asked students to continue Rachel’s journey to make the world a better place; they asked them to accept Rachel’sChallenge.

We had a representative come to my school two years ago.  After he gave his presentation, he invited the students who were interested in hearing more back for an afternoon session.  During that second session, he asked people to come up and talk in front of the whole auditorium. At least ten kids got up and talked about how much the presentation affected them and made them cry.  I wanted to talk more than anything, but I was absolutely terrified.  My palms were sweaty, heart was pounding out of my chest, and I was shaking uncontrollably, though looking back on it, my sister later commented that she had no clue I was so nervous.  Three, Two, One, Go. I counted the numbers down in my head and then stood up.  There was no going back now. Walking down the aisle of the auditorium felt like an eternity, but it soon proved to be worth it once I received the microphone.

“Hey. So I guess we’ve already said how much this has affected us.  I think the question now is: What are we going to do about it?”  Then, I proceeded to tell them what I did in between the first and second session instead of going to lunch.  I wrote compliments and inspirational quotes on sticky notes and stuck them on random lockers. At this the 500 kids in the audience let out a huge “Awwwww!” But honestly, I didn’t tell them to get a response like that.  I told them that so they would do the same. Sure enough, the hallways were filled with sticky notes for the next two weeks.

So maybe the sticky note project didn’t last forever. After all, two weeks is a relatively short period of time.  My memories of the event will never fade, though.  That day, I spoke in front of my school, and they actually listened to what I had to say.  And the best part? When I sat back down in my seat afterwards and my sister whispered in my ear, “I was proud of my little sister up there”

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