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Rachel’s Legacy inspires high schoolers

POULSBO — On April 20, 1999, Rachel Scott may not have known the chain reaction her life would create.

But now the world does.

North Kitsap High students gathered in assembly Monday morning to hear Rachel’s Legacy. Stemming from the death of Scott, the first of 13 killed in the heartbreaking Columbine shooting in Colorado, Rachel’s Legacy is a program that works to curb high school violence and suicide and encourages actions of heart.

The presentation is a follow up to Rachel’s Challenge, which visited NKHS last year.

On Monday, iPods were turned off and cell phones put down as enraptured students watched a video presentation chronicling a day America watched in horror, and the life of Scott, who was described as joyful, kind and someone who stood up for those around her.

Family and friend testimonies displayed Scott’s call for compassion and the impact she had on many, both while she was alive and after her untimely death.

“Rachel never got to see all of these things come to pass, but her story continues to ripple out in this chain reaction,” said Scott family friend and speaker Brandie Orozco. “When your heart talks to you, follow it, don’t let your head talk your heart out of something you’re supposed to do.”

Orozco spoke of the “power of one,” a power Scott exhibited in her small but transforming acts of kindness and a power each person has inside them, no matter where they come from or what they have done in the past.

“If you start to look ahead, if you start to look inside and see the person you want to become, you can get there,” she said.

Junior Clayton Button said though Scott’s story is sad, the message is a meaningful one.

“It’s kind of uplifting that one person can make so much of a difference,” he said.

Only a second-grader when the Columbine shooting occurred, Button said he remembers the event “pretty vaguely.” Though it’s been nearly a decade since the shooting, ASB Activities Coordinator Doris Ahrens said the story is still one that has an impact.

“I just saw a real need here at North for students to somehow change the culture of the school,” she said. “We have all seen a change from last year to this year. ... I really feel that Rachel’s Challenge had something to do with it.”

Ahrens hopes to see more kindness and compassion in the NKHS hallways. After the morning assembly, her ASB and leadership students attended a special Rachel’s Legacy training, which covered how to break down the message and spread it to surrounding students. For more information, visit www.rachelschallenge.com.

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