WAXHAW, N.C. – Alexis VanKoughnett is one of those students teachers and principals like to brag about.
"If you're being bullied, definitely speak up about it. If you see someone bullied, reach out to them,” said Alexis VanKoughnett, a junior at Cuthbertson High School in Waxhaw.
"We are incredibly proud of Alexis," said Kim Warr, principal at Cuthbertson High.
VanKoughnett was recently recognized nationally. This school year, she was named to the National Youth Advisory Board for the group SAVE--Students Against Violence Everywhere.
"I've always wanted to do and be involved with something that helps raise awareness for bullying and violence because it's something that's very close to my heart," said VanKoughnett.
It’s close to her heart because long before her days at Cuthbertson, there were some unpleasant days in middle school when she said she was bullied.
"It wasn't any physical, it was more verbal. I wasn't the coolest kid around,” she said. "And, you know, middle school's a time when it's all about the labels and the popularity.”
But having grown from that experience, she said, “It kind of shaped me into the person I am today, so now I know how to help others through it…I know that I got through it and others can, too.”
That’s also the message of Rachel’s Challenge, a program that Cuthbertson has adopted that shows kids compassion and kindness.
"Those are traits that can't be taught and for our students to experience those through a program like Rachel's Challenge, they're certainly going to be more contributing members of our society,” said Warr.
That just might be one of the most important lessons of all.