BURKE COUNTY, N.C. – Educators and NewsChannel 36 issued a challenge to end bullying to students in Burke County.
The program is called Rachel’s Challenge, named for Rachel Scott, the first victim in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. NewsChannel 36 partnered with Rachel’s father and hundreds of others in a nationwide effort to bring the message of kindness to area children.
Liberty Middle School in Morganton accepted the challenge Thursday.
For two weeks students at the middle school have been concentrating on acts of kindness. There’s a chain made up of links of construction paper. Each link represents one of those acts of kindness.
Emily Fisher remembers what she did.
“There’s a little girl that comes to the school and she is different than the rest of us and I’m just her friend – and hang out with her a lot,” she says.
On Thursday every student heard about the inspiration for the links, Rachel Scott. She wrote about her belief that simple acts of kindness can make a difference.
“It was very touching and it makes me want to go out and help others and change the world a little bit at a time,” said sixth grader Caitlin Lynn.
The program has already changed the world a little for three girls at the school.
“It really touched me because I’ve been mean to Lillie a lot and other people besides just Lillie,” says seventh grader Cynthia Nichols.
Cynthia and her friend Amber wrote a letter to Lillie after the assembly.
“I said ‘hey, I just wanted to say sorry for everything that I’ve done to you in the past. I didn’t think about your feelings when I said all that,” Amber Carswell explains.
Lillie was shocked when she read Amber’s letter.
“Last year she was being really mean to me, and I was like, okay,” she says.
It’s the beginning of a friendship they say wouldn’t have happened without Thursday’s assembly. Those are exactly the type of stories that Principal Angela Williams wants to hear.
“I think it’s really helping the students think about things that they can do and it’s actually given us the opportunity to explain to them what an act of kindness really is,” she says.