Rachel’s Challenge set for Thursday

Robert Smith

A series of events is planned Thursday with the intent of helping to make Pawhuska schools safer places, characterized increasingly by respect and kindness. The events mark the school district’s decision to implement the principles of “Rachel’s Challenge.”

The Pawhuska Journal-Capital carried a story last week about the planned Rachel’s Challenge events, but due to an error the story headline contained an incorrect date. A correct version of last week’s story is posted online, on the newspaper’s website.

This story contains updated information, as there have been changes in the schedule of events for Thursday.

Rachel’s Challenge, a non-profit based in Littleton, Colo., is based on the life and writings of Rachel Joy Scott, who was the first victim of the Columbine school massacre in 1999. Twelve students and a teacher died in that incident. Rachel’s Challenge offers presentations, training events, community events and professional development.

The Thursday sessions in Pawhuska will be the result of the efforts of school boosters at Indian Camp Elementary School. The Indian Camp Elementary boosters applied for a grant from the Pawhuska Community Foundation, and that grant is being spent to cover the cost of the events.

Beverly Moore, assistant superintendent of Pawhuska Public Schools, said Monday night that the schedule for Thursday now begins with an 8:30 a.m. assembly for elementary school children at the Constantine Theater on Main Street. That is to be followed by a 10 a.m. assembly for students in grades 6-12 at the Constantine, she said. The assembly for elementary school children is to be focused on subjects such as showing kindness, while the assembly for youth in grades 6-12 is to delve into “deeper” subject matter, Moore said.

The change with regard to these two assemblies is in the order of them. The secondary school assembly had previously been set for 8:30 a.m., but Moore explained there was concern about getting the elementary children back to school for lunch.

At 12:45 p.m. Thursday, a “Friends of Rachel” training session is scheduled to be held at the Calvary Baptist Church auditorium, Moore said. This session is intended to serve some 100 or more students in grades 6-12 and some 30 or more adults, she said. The Friends of Rachel component of the schedule was moved to Calvary Baptist for space reasons, she said.

At 5 p.m. Boy Scouts are to cook hot dogs at the pocket park between the Constantine Theater and Pawhuska City Hall. Then, at 6 p.m., a “Rachel’s Challenge” session for the general public is scheduled for the Constantine.

Since Rachel’s Challenge was created, more than 23 million people have heard Rachel Joy Scott’s story in live settings around the world, at least eight school shootings have reportedly been prevented, and more than 500 suicides have been averted, the organization says in literature describing its activities. The Scott family and other Rachel’s Challenge certified presenters have also reached large numbers of people via popular broadcast media outlets.