BROOKVILLE — Students recognized as Friends of Rachel gave a brief presentation to the Brookville Area School Board Monday night, saying they hope to bring their mission into the community.
Lauren Hergert and Kira Powell, club presidents, gave a brief review of Rachel’s Challenge, which was first presented in the Brookville schools in February 2016.
Powell talked about Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim in the Columbine school shooting in 1999. “Throughout her short life, she wanted people to know that they were accepted and not outsiders. She wanted everyone to know that there was someone out there for them,” she said.
Last year Hergert and Powell approached teacher Cheri Keys about establishing a Friends of Rachel club at the high school to show “kindness and support to other kids.”
Keys told the board, “this was totally student-driven. They came to me and wrote the club’s constitution and by-laws. They made posters and we probably have 50 posters hanging in the school,” she said.
The Friends of Rachel Club now has 65 members in grades six through 12. “We are always looking for more members,” Hergert said, adding that they are hoping to expand the club all the way down to the kindergarten classes.
“We are hoping to visit the elementary schools so they can hear about kindness from other students rather than people they may not know,” she said.
Advisor Kristen Drake talked about the anti-bullying commercials the students have made. The first was filmed on the Hickory Grove playground and the second in the high school cafeteria. The third commercial, which aired during Red Ribbon Week, had students talking about the things they would rather do than take drugs. The commercials have been shown on the “big screen during family movie nights.” Drake said her dream is to sometime have them air on television.
The girls gave a brief powerpoint presentation, sharing some of the past activities as well as goals for the future.
The club’s purpose, Powell said, “is to spread kindness, keep Rachel’s legacy alive and show kids that one little act of kindness goes a long way.”
Club members have made posters for the schools and posted boards in all the schools where students can add notes telling about random acts of kindness being done in the schools.
Powell said some of the club’s projects have been to celebrate International Kindness Day on November 13, to continue the chain reaction of kindness started after the first assembly, to hold free family movie nights and to participate in Christmas Tree Lane during Brookville’s Victorian Christmas celebration.
Drake said she believes the club “is making a difference. I heard that students who get the little notes on their lockers are taking them to someone else, keeping the kindness ongoing, which is exactly what Rachel’s plan was.”
In the future, the club hopes “to go forth into the community and let the whole community know that we are here to spread kindness all throughout Brookville,” Powell said. Anyone in the community who might have an idea for the club is encouraged to share that idea.