Uncle of Columbine victim urges students to be positive

Kristen O'Brien

It was the first warm spring day in Littleton, Co. It started out as any other spring day. Rachel Scott, who was just 17, packed her book bag and headed off to school with her brother Craig. As Craig watched Rachel head toward her classroom, he never would have guessed that would be the last time he would see his sister alive.

Rachel was the first victim of what has been called the Columbine High School massacre.

Kent State students, faculty and staff gathered in the Student Center Ballroom Tuesday at 7 p.m. to hear Rachel’s uncle Larry Scott present “Rachel’s Challenge,” a list of goals Rachel made before her death.

The five goals of Rachel’s Challenge

Goal No. 1: Eliminate prejudice and look for the best in others.

Goal No. 2: Dare to dream. Write goals down and a keep a diary or journal.

Goal No. 3: Choose positive influences. Input determines output.

Goal No. 4: Use kind words and perform little acts of kindness.

Goal No. 5: Start a chain reaction. Make others use the other four goals.

The parents, family members and friends of Columbine students heard about the shootings and anxiously awaited the names of the victims. Larry was one of those individuals. Larry had both his son and daughter enrolled in Columbine High School, but the phone call he received wasn’t about his son or daughter. It was about his niece Rachel.

Rachel’s family and friends travel all around the country to spread “Rachel’s Challenge,” five goals she had made for herself through her multiple diary entries. Rachel’s story has touched over 13 million individuals.

Larry was the only one of Rachel’s family members present, but through videos and audio he explained the tremendous impact this event had on the lives of his family members.

Rachel was known for her bubbly personality and her ability to make friends with anyone. She was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in. She had a vision that began when she was very young.

She used to tell her friends and family members that she was going to die young and that her death would somehow impact the world. Two years after Rachel’s death, her family members found a note that she had written when she was just 13 years old. Rachel had traced her hand and had written in the middle of her palm, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.”

Larry concluded his speech by asking the audience not only to remember Rachel, but also to carry on Rachel’s goals by telling a family member or friend how important they are to you. By doing this you will start your own “chain reaction.”

“Family is so important,” Larry said. “Friendship is so valuable and sometimes we take it for granted. I want you all to make a phone call tonight to your parents. They need to hear those words come out of your mouth and they need that desperately. Don’t do it through texting — do it though your words.”

Kelsey Fisher, a junior communication studies major, said that Larry’s speech was very moving and powerful.

“I was really excited to come,” Fisher said. “It really puts things in perspective. You don’t realize your life can change at any moment in time.”