Austin school answers Rachel's Challenge

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by ANDREW CHUNG / KVUE News and photojournalist KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @AndrewC_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on May 16, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 16 at 5:43 PM

AUSTIN -- One by one, elementary students at Brentwood Christian School in North Austin marched long chains of paper around campus, but these were no ordinary decorations.

On each "link" students wrote about an act of kindness by one of their classmates.
 
It's part of Rachel's Challenge, named after Rachel Scott. She was the first student killed in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School.
 
No doubt you've heard many stories in the news about bullying at schools. In some of those cases, the stories have turned tragic. The people at Brentwood Christian School want to teach kids at a young age about kindness and compassion.
 
Before Rachel's death, she had written about being kind to other students who may feel left out.
 
After the tragedy at Columbine, her parents started Rachel's Challenge to raise awareness about school bullying – a challenge the kids at Brentwood Christian School gladly accepted.
 
Chase Blackman is a fifth grader. "It helps you see how kind you can be, and it helps represent that you can start a chain reaction by just doing one simple act of kindness," he said. 
 
Fourth grader Emma Nguyen was excited about taking part in this cause. “I seen people like younger people, or older, to go over there and help them, to be kind to them like their own family members," she said.
 
Fourth grade teacher Jodie Coyle says the chain helps students understand their actions are all interconnected.
 
"It's been very humbling to watch our children who, year after year, we try to teach them to do this, but this activity has just kept them focused on almost a daily basis of thinking of others," said Coyle.
 
Kindergartner Lauren Rutt summed it up best. "We took these little papers, and we put 'em together to make one big chain reaction," she said. 
 
These kids hope that chain reaction of kindness and compassion spreads to other schools too.
 

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