Sulphur Springs Middle School Principal Rusty Hardin speaks to
some 250 assembled on Monday night, as he announces that over
1300 students had attended the Rachel's Challenge Seminar on
Anti-Bullying at the school, Monday.
Rachel's Challenge Event
Motivates Local Youth
by: Bobby McDonald
Joseph Manning, the keynote speaker for Rachel's Challenge, addresses
Middle School students and their parents, on Monday.
Some 250 parents and students were at the Sulphur Springs Middle School Gym, on Monday night, to attend the final segment of the Rachel's Challenge Anti-Bullying Seminar, that Principal Rusty Hardin announced had already been attended by over 1300 local youth, in the previous sessions. "We're extremely pleased with the attendance to this event that is sure to make a difference in our school and our community," expressed Hardin, as he introduced keynote speaker, Joseph Manning.
Manning then showed the group a film regarding the life of Rachel, a victim of the Columbine Shooting in Colorado, and an essay that she had written only weeks before her death, about the way we should treat one another. Manning encouraged the students to adopt the wisdom in Rachel's essay as a part of their lives. "Change is possible and your acts of kindness to one another can make a difference," stated Manning.
7th & 8th grade students at one of Monday's presenations at the Middle School.
Manning adopted a different presentation on Monday night than the three previous ones he'd given on Monday, as he addressed the adults and parents in the crowd. "You have the ability to make a difference in the way your children treat others around them," expressed Manning. "Led by example, your children will and can treat others with compassion and love!"
Students met Rachel, the first victim of the Columbine Shooting, in Colorado, who left behind a challenge to all students of
teaching them to be more compassionate to one another and their differences.
"We're excited about the great response from the students," expressed Jeff Harris, a Coach and Teacher at the Middle School and one of the promoters of the program. "They've expressed awe and a desire to change their attitudes all day long!"
"I'd really never considered some of the messages that I might be delivering to someone who is different," expressed a young lady who attended a Monday seminar. "I don't think I meant it unkind, but now I can see just how it might have been perceived by someone looking at it from a different perspective!"
Parents and even grandparents joined their students at Monday night's presentation.
"My friends and I don't mean to not include some people in our group, but I can now see how someone would feel left out, when we get together having fun," expressed a young man in the 8th grade. "This just makes you more aware of other people's feelings!"
Parents attending Monday night's session, many with their children, felt that Manning's message was "on target" and made them aware of how important it is to encourage you child to extend the smallest of courtesies to others, that can make a big, big difference of someone who is having a problem or feeling left out!"