Nearly three years after the Apr. 20, 1999 massacre at Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado that killed twelve students and one teacher, Darrell Scott, father of Columbine victim Rachel Scott, shared her life and message with approximately 400 UM students at Guzman Hall last week.
The free event was sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ and co-sponsored by Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Athletes in Action and Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. It was the first event in which these UM religious organizations collaborated.
Scott’s national campaign, known as “Rachel’s Challenge,” focuses on helping administrators, teachers and students create a safer environment at school by replacing fear and violence with kindness and compassion.
The goal of “Rachel’s Challenge” is to “start a chain reaction” of kindness toward others. Ironically, those were the same words used by Eric Harris, one of the Columbine murderers.
The idea behind “Rachel’s Challenge” was modeled after a poem Rachel wrote for her English class a month before her death. It was entitled: “My Ethics, My Code of Life.” In her poem, Rachel emphasized the importance of showing compassion to everyone and to let people know that they are appreciated while they are still alive.
At Gusman Hall, Scott shared Rachel’s life through a multimedia presentation providing video clips of Columbine, interviews, photographs and words spoken by Rachel.
Scott focused on Rachel’s sincere treatment of those she encountered and how she wasn’t afraid to live her life spiritually and share her beliefs with others.
Freshman Mark Cusick and senior Chris Luzuriaga were moved by Rachel’s life.
“It was very powerful and meaningful to believers and non-believers,” Cusick said.
“It was very emotional to see such a young person show her faith in God and helping other people,” Luzuriaga said.
Scott challenged the audience to follow in Rachel’s footsteps by showing love to those around them.
Tintu George, a junior at FIU, was one of the many students who accepted the challenge.
“Rachel wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives,” George said. “Sometimes I get so caught up in everything that I forget what matters the most.”
“I want to get closer to the Lord and seek His guidance in everything I do,” George said.
Luzuriaga says she also wants to seek a change.
“I want to have God more active than he has been in my life,” she said.
Scott, who has traveled across the nation to various schools, visited with two Presidents and spoken with Congress, loves the effect his daughter’s life has had on people.
“Just to see that Rachel’s life really had an impact on others makes it worthwhile,” Scott said.
To learn more about “Rachel’s Challenge,” visit www.rachelschallenge.com.
Marquita Bell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.