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Random acts of kindness multiply fast

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POSTED June 4, 2009 1:40 a.m.
Random acts of kindness and compassion come in all shapes and forms.

Last Friday, students at George McParland School, for instance, demonstrated the rippling effect created by those good deeds in the form of a chain link that extended from the main site at the corner of London Avenue and Northgate Drive, to the Annex some two blocks away at 1370 London Ave.

In all, nearly 1,200 kindergarten- through- eighth-grade students from both sites were lined up on both sides of London Drive, demonstrating their commitment to Rachel’s Challenge.

The national program is the legacy of Rachel Joy Scott, the 17-year-old Columbine High student who was the first victim of the April 20, 1999 massacre.

The student body took the Rachel’s Challenge pledge last October – included were five powerful challenges based on the writings and life of Rachel Scott – and, like Scott, kept a journal of their good deeds during those past seven months.

At last tally, McParland generated a link totaling 7,068 random acts of kindness.

But those numbers are only one part of the program.

The objective of Rachel’s Challenge is to get youngsters to incorporate this practice in their everyday lives.

“It’s a lifelong challenge,” Principal Dale Borgeson said.

Established by the family of Rachel Scott after her death, the program hopes to reach as many people as possible with the message of kindness and compassion.

McParland students have been involved with the program for the past two years, with 125 – mostly seventh- and eighth-grade students – taking part in the Year 1 pledge.

Incidentally, the older students from that first year have since moved on to high school, with many continuing the program by pledging the next step in the program.

Brenda Scholl, the McParland vice principal, handles the Annex, where she indicated a watered down version of Rachel’s Challenge was introduced to her kindergarten- through second-grade youngsters earlier in the school year.

Many took to the program with great enthusiasm, bringing along some positive changes that endured throughout the school year, Scholl noticed.

Rachel’s Challenge served as a positive experience at McParland, culminating in last week’s chain link event and school-wide assembly held in the playing field.

It should be quite interesting to see what the school does next year in promoting Rachel Scott’s rippling effect that started with the power of one.

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