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Rachel's Challenge Prompts over 10,000 Acts of Kindness

Orchard Park elementary schools, Eggert, Ellicott, S. Davis, and Windom, celebrated a cumulative total of 10,800 acts of kindness this school year in response to Rachel’s Challenge, which inspires kids to act with kindness and respect for one another. 


Rachel’s Challenge is a nationwide character-building initiative that is based on the life and writings of the first Columbine victim, Rachel Joy Scott, who showed small acts of kindness to those around her. Her legacy lives on through Rachel’s Challenge and has been brought to all four Orchard Park elementary schools this year through the Character Education Committee. The goal of this character education program is to encourage students to act with kindness and compassion and to see the positive impact they can have on those around them.


For each kind behavior a student demonstrates, a paper chain link is made to represent an act of goodwill that creates a “chain reaction” of kindness toward others. At the end of the year, the chain links are connected to make one long chain or several long chains, and the acts of kindness are celebrated at each school’s final Character Education Assembly.


Schools have demonstrated kindness in other ways that model Rachel Scott’s compassion for others. For example, Ellicott Elementary students participated in the “Stuff the Sneaker” campaign, which brought in donations of gently used shoes that are stuffed with toiletries and are given to those in need. Eggert Elementary students Reece Politowski and Ellery Jaworowicz raised money from local businesses to purchase two Buddy Benches for the school playground. When someone sits on a Buddy Bench, it indicates to others that he or she needs a friend. 


Based on the number of acts of kindness demonstrated this year, it’s clear to see that Rachel’s Challenge is making a difference in our school community.