Reporter Staff Report

The national program Rachel's Challenge came to Glen Rose last week to show students how to be leaders and just better people. And the junior high and high school students who participated said they got the message and planned to act on it.

"I thought Rachel's Challenge was a great program to show kids, all around the world, how to be good leaders," said Hance Burney, a sophomore. "The best part was learning about Rachel and her legacy."

Rachel Scott was the first person killed at Columbine High School in Colorado. She left behind a legacy and a simple challenge to anyone who will accept it — create a "chain reaction" to treat others with kindness and compassion and you just may change the world you live in. Rachel’s Challenge has become a successful national program and is sweeping across Texas.”

About 900 high school and junior high students met in separate assemblies last Thursday morning. In the afternoon a peer training session was held for 75 high school and junior high students and a session was held for the community that evening. More than 100 people attended.

Students said the things they learned will help them become more understanding and compassionate.

"I liked that (Rachel's Challenge) gave simple rules that, if you follow them, will make people genuinely nicer," sophomore Austin Gibson said.

"I think Rachel's Challenge has given our school a chance to have a fresh start so we can begin our 'chain reaction,'" senior Carly Payne added.

A group of high school students is forming with the charge of keeping the message alive through activities through the rest of the school year, Glen Rose High School teacher Randy Haney said. "We had 120-plus high school kids sign up for this group."

Other teachers also applauded the program and said the positive impact will flow into the community.

"The program creates unity within the community; and as it develops, what a great way for students to see the result of their efforts," high school teacher Laura Harlin said. "The immediate impact of the program was hopeful.

"I am blessed that I get to see students carrying out their goals and creating a more compassionate environment," Harlin added. "Nothing is perfect, but we can't give up trying."