September 13, 2008 in Voices

Accepting the challenge

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Starting this school year, University High School students have accepted Rachel’s Challenge to eliminate prejudice and encourage compassion.

More than 1,800 students heard about this challenge last week from Darrell Scott, father of Columbine High School shooting victim Rachel Scott. He spoke about kindness, compassion and tolerance based on his daughter’s writings and life.

After his talk last week at an all-school assembly and later the same evening to parents and community members, students could join F.O.R. – Friends Of Rachel – a school group that encourages students individually to start a chain reaction of kindness and positively impact their school and community.

“So much comes across in her essay,” said Britney Jamison, ASB vice-president and U-Hi senior, referring to one Scott wrote on ethics and codes of life. “A simple smile can make a difference. I love Rachel’s message. It has so much caring, so much compassion.”

Rachel Scott wrote about the importance of being honest, compassionate and looking for the best in everyone.

“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same,” she wrote.

Her father shared the essay, journal entries and stories. The 1999 shootings by two students at the Colorado high school killed 13 people. In the years before her death, Rachel had reached out to students who were new or picked on.

“She said the best way to get over prejudice is to look for the best in others,” Scott said. “Rachel convicted me because she said, ‘Don’t go by your first or second impression.’ ”

“With this new school year, start it out not assuming people don’t like you or that you don’t like someone.”

Scott also talked about his son, Craig, who survived the attack but watched many friends get killed. He has since gone on to help make movies with positive messages.

One of Rachel’s role models was Anne Frank, whose famous diary was published after her death during World War II. Ironically, Scott said, both died at the hands of people influenced by prejudice.

Rachel left six diaries. Her family also later found a tracing of her hands on the back of a dresser with her hand-written message, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.”

Her father challenged the students in several ways: dare to dream, write down goals, keep a journal, choose positive influences and start a chain reaction of kindness. More information is at www.rachelschallenge.com.

Community night at Greenacres Elementary

Incoming Central Valley School District Superintendent Ben Small will join new Greenacres Elementary Principal Sue Rasmussen for a community night on Tuesday.

The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Greenacres Elementary library, 17915 E. Fourth Ave. Parents, neighbors and community members are encouraged to visit the school, meet the new school leaders and share thoughts about education. Refreshments will be served and child care will be provided.

For more information, call 228-4200 or 228-5405.

Valley students attend national conference

Spokane Valley students took their business knowledge to the national level.

From June 23 to 30, the students attended and competed in events at the 2008 National Future Business Leaders of America Conference in Atlanta.

Tony Kanago, a Central Valley High School graduating senior, placed sixth nationally in Internet Applications Programming. Another CV student competing at nationals was Will Bernbaum, in Networking Concepts.

Freeman High School FBLA members Dalton Fetsch, Cameron Moore, Isaac Hamilton and Anthony Emtman also did well at the national conference.

Fetsch took a national fifth place in Spreadsheet Application in a two-part event. He first took a one-hour “home-site” test showing his expertise in Excel. While in Atlanta, he then completed an objective test over Excel and other computer technologies.

The team of Moore, Hamilton and Emtman took first in state in Business Presentation and finished in the top 15 in the nation in their category. The group prepared a presentation to give to a company’s board of directors looking to expand overseas. The business needed to know about a country’s customs and culture to ensure success. The Freeman students chose France and developed a comprehensive and educational Web site. They then had seven minutes to present this information to the board.

The more than 7,000 delegates to the national conference participated in events that included business and leadership training workshops, seminars, tours and officer elections. To reach this level, students first participate in regional competitions. The top five students in each regional event earn a chance to go to state competitions in April. Up to two students or teams at the state level become eligible to compete nationally.

If you have news about Valley schools, write: Treva Lind, Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley, WA 99216. Fax: 927-2175. Phone: 218-5042 or e-mail: trevalind320@hotmail.com.

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