STANLEY, N.C. -- A new school year is underway and so is the mission of Rachel’s Challenge.
For the first time, Gaston County Schools is implementing the program in all of its schools in hopes of teaching kids an important lesson about life.
Students at Stanley Middle School in Stanley got to hear the message.
“I thought it was amazing and very moving,” said Jameson Bodenheimer, an eighth grade student. "I know one kid right behind me was crying actually.”
It was part of an assembly program, but this one was a little different.
"I think this will actually get to some of the kids,” said Bodenheimer. “I think this will stop some of the bullying."
That’s the idea, but the hope is that Rachel’s Challenge will do even more. It’s named after Rachel Scott, who was killed during the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
"They see somebody who's a lot like them in Rachel and they connect with their hearts to the story and then we really have seen that once you connect to a kid's heart, then you can get to their head and then their hands and change behavior in that way," said Daryn Jackson, a Rachel’s Challenge presenter.
Before Rachel’s death, she had written about compassion and even starting a chain reaction of kindness, something these students have already started.
“You have to do an act of kindness because each chain represents one act of kindness,” said Bodenheimer.
"[It’s] just being there for our friends, helping out someone who fell, standing up for someone being pushed around by a bully,” said Felicity Cannon, a seventh grade student.
Students at Stanley Middle are also starting a Friends of Rachel Club to continue spreading acts of kindness.
"An act of kindness can be anything from just holding the door for somebody who's carrying a big load of books to just walking by somebody and saying hey, how are you doing,” Bodenheimer added.