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4/5/2012 3:25:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Rachel's Challenge schedule
Wednesday, April 11
8-9 a.m.: Pateros assembly, grades 5-12 12:15-1:15 p.m.: Brewster Middle School assembly, grades 6-8
1:45-2:45 p.m.: Brewster High School assembly, grades 9-12
6 p.m.: Pateros/Brewster community potluck and program at Brewster

Thursday, April 12
9:15-10:15 a.m.: Bridgeport Middle School assembly, grades 6-8
10:45-11:45 a.m.: Bridgeport H.S. Assembly, Grades 9-12
1-2:30 p.m.: Pateros, Brewster and Bridgeport peer leadership training at Bridgeport
6 p.m.: Community program at Bridgeport with refreshments

Schools share anti-bullying program

Jennifer Marshall Best
Herald Staff Writer

QUAD CITIES - The Pateros, Brewster and Bridgeport school districts are welcoming the community to take part in a program next week, built around a victim of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, that promotes positivity between students.

Rachel's Challenge is named for Rachel Scott, the first person who died at the Littleton, Colo. school when two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed 13 people and injured 21 more before committing suicide.

On April 11 and 12, nearly 13 years after the Columbine tragedy, several events featuring Rachel's Challenge will be held at the three schools.

"It's geared around building a healthy learning environment for students, and what students can do to be self-advocates, to prevent bullying, and to keep a positive and inclusive environment," said Pateros Superintendent Lois Davies.

The program shows students video and audio footage of the shooting, along with excerpts from Scott's six diaries found after her death, to motivate them to "positively change the way they treat others," according to an e-mail from Bridgeport High School Special programs Director Diane Hull. "Our goal is to help our students recognize the importance of kindness and how they can create a positive climate in the school and our community."

In an essay for English class, Scott wrote, "I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will show a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go."

Along with some grant funding, each school has chipped in to afford Rachel's Challenge. With a price tag of about $5,000, the schools reported excitement at bringing the nationally-recognized program to the area.

"It is a pricey program, but if it even helps one kid, that makes it worth it," said Brewster High School Principal Linda Dezellem.

Rachel's Challenge kicks off at 8 a.m. April 11 with an assembly at Pateros. Other activities will follow over the next two days, including community gatherings each evening that will include a Spanish translator. See the sidebar for the complete schedule.

"This session is similar to the assembly program and ends with a specific challenge to parents and community members, showing them how they can reinforce the decisions our youth are making," Hull wrote in her e-mail.

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