Bullying overpowered

Date: Thursday, January 20, 2011

Courtesy photo
Jana Stephens, Layne Tarby, Brett Mayfield, Ally Phillips and Jessie
Keener sign the banner vowing to prevent bullying.

By Jean Ann Collins
PISD Communications Coordinator

Students at Princeton High School gathered last week during lunch to sign a banner that symbolizes their commitment to accept Rachel’s Challenge following the nationally recognized presentation.
“I hope the people who sign the banner really mean it and stick to what they say,” sophomore Monica Becker said. “Our whole school environment could change.”
More than 1,700 people were able to hear the message about the importance of showing compassion to those around them. Students and teachers from Huddleston, Clark and Princeton High School, as well as community members, crowded the auditorium following Monday’s snow day.
“Honestly, when I first went in to Rachel's Challenge I thought Rachel would just be a girl who everyone made look amazing and good after she died, but once I saw the whole presentation, I knew I was wrong,” senior Krista Simandl said.
“The person she was really inspired me. I want to have a dream that big. I am sure a lot of people want to change the world, but she really wanted to. I think God really made something beautiful out of the tragedy that was Columbine.”
Rachel Scott was the first victim in the shooting rampage at Columbine High School in April of 1999. Her brother, Craig, who was in the library of the school (the worst of the killing zone), narrowly escaped death and watched as two of his friends were murdered.
A few weeks after the tragedy, Darrell Scott, Rachel’s father, spoke to a Congressional committee regarding issues of school violence. Shortly afterward, he founded the bullying and violence abatement program, Rachel’s Challenge.
“The scene at Columbine High School shocked the most hardened of law enforcement veterans,” said Cody Hodges, the speaker at Tuesday’s assembly. “It became the scene of the worst high school shooting in history.”
Students at PHS sat in silence as they listened to the actual 911 call that came from a teacher in the Columbine library – the site of the most intense shooting. She was detailing information about the gunmen to the dispatcher as she was yelling at the students to get under tables to hide from their attackers.
“It was very intense,” junior Tim Beasley said. “Surprisingly, no trouble makers made a scene during the showing. It was cool how everyone was paying attention and giving their respect during the program. It just showed how much of an impact it was making to kids here.”
Hodges recounted the happenings on April 20, 1999.
“Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold put bombs in the cafeteria and planned to shoot students as they ran from the building after the bombs went off,” Hodges said. “They failed to detonate so they just started shooting randomly from room to room. When those 49 1/2 minutes were over, 12 students and one teacher was dead and family frantically waited outside as one by one they were reunited with their children. But some families weren’t that lucky.”
It’s the aftermath of the shooting that continues to reach the hearts of those who hear Rachel’s Challenge. It’s her acts of kindness and compassion coupled with the content of her six diaries that have become the foundation of the school program. 
“People watched her funeral on CNN,” Hodges said. “It became the largest viewing audience in CNN history.”
It’s not your typical anti-bullying campaign. Rachel’s Challenge takes a different approach by encouraging compassion in hopes that it will lead to a chain reaction of kindness.
“Just one act of kindness to someone can make their whole day 10 times better,” Becker said. 
According to Hodges, there are five challenges that come from Rachel’s “codes of life,” which she wrote about in an essay in the months before she died.
No. 1: Look for the best in other people – eliminate prejudice
Craig Scott, Rachel’s brother, sat between two of his best friends as they were gunned down under a table in the library.
“He was staring down the barrel of a gun; he was next,” Hodges said. “But what he remembers now is how his black friend Isaiah was killed, and that the last thing he heard before he died was racial slurs from the two gunman.”
No. 2: Dare to dream – write goals down and keep a journal
Hodges recalled his own dream of playing football at the college level. He sat on the bench at Texas Tech for three years after an injury with coaches telling him he would never play.
“If I had listened and gave up on my dreams, I would have left Tech, but in 2005-06, I was the starting quarterback and Tech went 9-2 and we played in the Cotton Bowl,” he said.
No. 3: Choose positive influences
“If junk is the only thing we are putting in our lives, that’s all that is gonna come out,” Hodges said. “The biggest influence is your group of friends and it doesn’t make any sense to choose the wrong crowd. Don’t let your environment change who you are.”
No. 4: Kind words – huge impact
Rachel decided to make it a goal to be nice to people she came across. On two particular instances, those kind contacts made life-changing impacts.
“After her death, her parents received calls from people who wanted them to know Rachel had touched their lives,” Hodges said.
Adam was one such kid. He told her parents he had planned to end his life the day Rachel intervened and stopped a bully from taunting and harassing him.
“He planned to end his own life until he saw the good in someone,” Hodges said. “You never know what someone is going through.”
No. 5: Start a chain reaction of kindness
Leaders from the PHS chapter of FCA and National Honor Society on Thursday morning were continuing this idea by creating a real chain of their own. Colorful pieces of paper (or links) were distributed to students. Each link represents a person committed to the challenge as well as actual acts of kindness.
After students write their commitment to Rachel’s Challenge or an act of kindness they have committed or witnessed on the paper, they can put the link on the chain. It will start at the PHS office and stretch as far as students can get it.
“I think it is a good idea to make a real chain,” sophomore Cheyenne Fallis said. “I’m curious to see how long it’s gonna be. If we have enough people doing good deeds, it shouldn’t be too long before it stretches longer than the 3-mile chain they showed in the video.”
In 2005, Rachel’s Challenge was awarded the Friends of Education award from the state of New York. The school program has been credited with drastically reducing bullying, preventing numerous suicides and a known school shooting.
Rachel’s Challenge continues to gain attention nationwide for its powerful impact on students. Studies are showing declines in office referrals and other discipline issues where the program has been presented.
“From a district standpoint, I think it was an excellent program, and it appears by the student reaction that they are up for accepting Rachel's Challenge,” PISD superintendent Phil Anthony said. “They were focused, and by how quiet the group was, the presentation seemed to captivate them. I know it was an emotional experience for a lot of them.”
Hodges stressed the need for students to act now on what they are feeling after Rachel’s Challenge.
“You are not guaranteed next week, not tomorrow, not 15 minutes from now. You have to start your story now from the choices you make and how you treat people. You get to decide. Accept the challenge because you mean it.”

Courtesy photo
From left, Jonae Isaac and Amber Wakefield sign the Rachel’s Challenge 
banner at Princeton High School following last week’s presentation.

Courtesy photo
From left, Kristen Carpenter, Kristina Black and Cassidy Standridge
sign the banner during the Rachel’s Challenge presentation.

Courtesy photo
Cody Hodges speaks to students on behalf of Rachel's Challenge. Hodges is the former quarterback for Texas Tech and travels to represent Rachel's Challenge and spread the message of compassion in hopes of creating a chain reaction for kindness.

Share This Story:


Related Articles:

Sumo takes over Lacy
Thursday, April 03, 2014
Lacy Elementary School recently witnesses a battle of epic proportions...
Learning the ropes
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Students from Godwin and Lacy Elementary Schools tour city establishme...
Teachers of the year awarded
Thursday, January 30, 2014
The Princeton Independent School District honored two teachers at thei...
Fired up about story time
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Kids of all ages enjoy a good story now and then....
Giving thanks
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Schools in Princeton have been celebrating Thanksgiving this week with...
Say no to drugs
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Students at Harper Elementary School learned to say no to drugs during...
Noteable success
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The Princeton High School Marching Band earned a superior rating at t...
Top Scientists
Thursday, October 17, 2013
These students were chosen as Scientists of the Month for Harper Elem...
Students enjoy first pep rally
Friday, September 13, 2013
PHS students were ready for Friday night football during the pep rally...
Panther Pride
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Students and fans participate in Meet the Panther Aug. 23....
Achieve and succeed
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Students at Princeton High School were honored at the end of the scho...
Teachers honored by Princeton ISD
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Princeton Independent School District celebrated the end of the 2012-2...
Princeton Spanish Club shows off for board
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Princeton Spanish Club performed the Mexican Hat Dance at the May ...
Godwin holding St. Jude Math-a-Thon to raise funds
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Godwin Elementary School students are helping to fight cancer by par...
Learning from the Mayor
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Princeton Mayor Ken Bowers speaks to the Harper Elementary School seco...
Debate team headed to Nationals
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Princeton High School debate team, Yellow Rose District of the NFL Nat...
Band students right in tune
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Princeton High School band students competed in the UIL Solo and Ensem...
Slurping up a story
Friday, February 22, 2013
Students at Harper Elementary School recently enjoyed Soup and a Story...
Students start back to school
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Students at Harper Elementary School work quietly on their morning pro...
Learning about giving
Thursday, December 06, 2012
Students at Lacy Elementary School recently learned about the rewards ...
New PISD Board takes office
Thursday, November 29, 2012
The Princeton Independent School District welcomed two new members to ...
Chains of positivity
Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012
The Huddleston Intermediate School life skills class has been busy bui...
Clowning around
Thursday, October 18, 2012
MoMo the clown (Monica Love with the Collin County Fire Marshals Offic...
Quartet earns honors
Monday, September 29, 2012
Harper Elementary Schools Scientists of the Month are recognized....
Students exposed to college, career options at school fair
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Representatives from nearly 60 colleges and universities and speakers ...
Grandparents Day 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Grandparents shared lunch with their grandkids in honor of Grandparent...
Panther pride shown with meet, greet
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The annual Meet the Panther night boasted a large attendance Aug. 24....
Grab your pens, backpacks and iPads
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Preparing children for a new school year is no longer just about stock...
Reading leaders
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Sofia Lujan receives a certificate and prizes for participating in th...
Peer Assistance and Leadership looks forward at PHS
Thursday, July 26, 2012
The PALs program, or Peer Assistance and Leadership, was implemented a...
Scouts help grow sprouts
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Community Park is blossoming again....
Cafe Fresh to offer homemade items for next school year
Thursday, June 07, 2012
On Fridays during third and fourth periods, the sweet smells of Prince...
Princeton High students prepare for trip to Europe
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Several high school students are leaving the country for the first tim...
Student receives chamber scholarship
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Guadalupe Miralrio received a $500 scholarship from the Princeton Cham...
PISD teacher receives state award
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
The Princeton ISD school board recently recognized coach Richard Borin...
Learning about science
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Students selected as the April Scientists of the month are, back row f...
Godwin students recognized by Duke
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Each year, Duke University sponsors a program called the Duke Talent ...
PISD sees major costs coming
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Because the jump of this story was not in the March 29 edition of the ...
Lacy Service Project earns cash
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Princeton Mayor Ken Bowers along with librarian Cathy Dunkle hold a po...
Filling in the field
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Princeton Youth Sports Association volunteers work to break up newly l...
We are No. 1
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Princetons 5th grade girls basketball team finished the season 11-0 an...
Scientists of the month
Thursday, February 16, 2012
These students were selected as the January and February Scientists of...
Realignment smiles on Princeton
Thursday, February 09, 2012
All those people who thought Princetons last football season ended bit...
STAAR preparation uncertain
Thursday, February 02, 2012
TAKS is out and STAAR is in. Parents and teachers alike might have hea...
Davis named KLTY teacher of month
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Halina Davis thinks shes the last person who should be receiving an aw...
PISD takes on Rachels challenge, learns about school violence
Check out the videoIn 1999, Columbine High School was the scene wher...
Sports banquet
Check out the students honored at the Booster Club Sports Banquet...
Angel tree donations way up
Those walking into Princeton ISDs bus barn would have thought a cargo ...
Band students make Regionals
Clark Band students named to the All-Region......
Selecting favorite reads
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Godwin third grade teachers sport their favorite finds at Godwins rec...
Family book fair
Princeton ISDs Godwin Elementary School is hosting a book fair this we...
First-graders get tools, tips for brighter smiles
All the first-graders at Lacy Elementary were given free dental kits a...
Learning goes hi-tech
Princeton ISD is looking toward the 22nd Century as it pilots a new pr...
Class store provides valuable life skills
The life skills students will be one step closer to independence after...
PISD fights drugs
Princeton campuses are preparing to recognize Red Ribbon Week by plann...
State fair ends with high note, big bucks
More than $35 million traded hands for food and rides in less than a...
Students learn lessons from police
A Lacy Elementary School pre-K class with about 50 students had a busy...
Students learn skills, break in new digs
Thursday, September 15, 2011
The gloves snapped and the pills were counted. This isnt a clinic, but...
Panther fans converge on gym
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The party was wild. At one point, two Panther mascots danced together,...
Reading, movie top library summer
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Take Time to Read continues through July 29 at Lois Nelson Public Libr...
New buildings progressing for PISD
Monday, June 27, 2011
Construction is rapidly progressing on a new addition to the PISD Scho...
Torn ACL leads to career in welding
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
When Corbin Lemley tore his ACL during a football practice, he thought...
Godwin holds charity drive for African orphans
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
For the past few years, Princeton students, parents and teachers have ...
Princeton students show well at Collin County Ag show
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Princeton ag teacher Randy Shaw would put his kids up against any stud...
Bullying overpowered
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Students at Princeton High School gathered last week during lunch to s...
The Science of Success
Thursday, December 23, 2010
These students were chosen from Harper Elementary School to be the Sc...
A wonderland of opportunities
Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010
A King and Queen of the Godwin winter festival was selected. Student...
Junior high students learn at Times tables
Wednesday, November 25, 2010
The students in Jason Brown's class left his room recently looking a l...
Tooth fairy flies by Harper
Thursday, October 21, 2010
What does glitter have to do with good oral hygiene? A lot, if youve e...
PISD board recognizes campuses for TAKS performance
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The board of trustees began their meeting by congratulating each of th...
On your mark, sunset...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Though the sun was setting during their band practice Oct. 18, the Pan...
The engine that could
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Princeton Independent School District kicked off Fire Prevention Week ...
Nothing old hat about it
Thursday, September 23, 2010
September marks a new season for Princetons Lois Nelson Public Library...
Welcome back brisket
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The churches of Christ Cares for Princeton recently joined forces to h...
Seniors share Baccalaureate service
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Princeton High School seniors found themselves surrounded by a crowd o...
Band awards seniors, director
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Band Boosters hosted the annual band banquet May 21 at PHS....
Kids come out for spring carnival
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Harper Elementary hosted its annual spring carnival May 8....
FFA brings honors home from Houston
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Allyson Parks won the Junior Breeding Beef Heifer Grand Champion award...
UIL team sends 13 to state
Thursday, April 29, 2010
13 students from Princeton High Schools UIL Academic Team have advance...
Gearing up for a grand opening
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Students prepare for their spring musical, Doo-Wop Wed Widing Hood, wh...
Final Act
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Princeton High Schools Theatre Department presented its final performa...
Out of this world musical airs at Lacy Elementary
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Second-graders at Lacy Elementary presented "Space Out," rec...
London calling
Thursday, April 08, 2010
A small group from Princeton went on an educational trip to London, En...
Horse park provides free fun
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Huddleston Intermediates Life Skills class enjoyed a special trip rece...
PHS bands prepare for contest with spring concert
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Princeton High Schools concert bands will be competing in a UIL contes...
Ag team scores in San Antonio
Thursday, March 04, 2010
During February, students from Princetons FFA team were invited to com...
Lacy fourth-graders collect hugs for Haiti
Thursday, February 25, 2010
For all the language barriers in the world, there is a universal, fool...
Lacy cooks up fun, competition
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Teachers and faculty at Lacy Elementary had guests in tears Friday. L...
Hockey players show literary skills at Lacy Elementary
Thursday, February 18, 2010
With the start of the Olympics, area students got to learn a little bi...
Destiny steps in
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The day began like any other. Zoe Byard was picking up the students on...
Student uses larynx to win school-wide bee
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The cafeteria was packed at Harper Elementary Friday. Suspense hung th...
PISD Board honors Pride Corps additions
Thursday, January 21, 2010
During the School Boards Jan. 18 meeting several parties visited to th...
War veteran talks history with sixth-graders
Thursday, January 14, 2010
History may not be a favorite subject for most sixth-grade students, b...
PISD kicks off school year with new stadium
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
2009 was a landmark year for Princeton Independent School District. Ne...
31 PHS musicians earn All-Region honors
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Princeton High School now boasts 31 All-Region Band student, 11 All-Ar...
Sounds of the season
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Three choirs performed at PISD's winter choir concert Dec. 14. ...
Godwin collects cool cash at annual Winter Festival
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Godwin Elementary raised over $2,000 during the school's annual Winter...
Princeton students form STEEM team
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Over the summer, six students from PISD were selected to take part in ...
Robotic success sends team to state
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Oct. 24 the Princeton High School robotics team earned second place in...
Cat in hat, elephant in tree; cast stages Seussical glee
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday night more than 60 cast members took to the stage, for openin...
Red-Ribbon weeks gains strong start
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Godwin Elementary School recently kicked off "Red Ribbon Week&quo...
Magician uses tricks to teach students
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Administrators at Huddleston Intermediate School invited a special gue...
Kids, costumes, candy abound at Lacy fall festival
Thursday, October 22, 2009
For more than four decades Lacy Elementary has hosted an annual fall f...
Students share adventures at science camp
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Being in a classroom is boring, Colt Collins said. His classmates gigg...
Fifth-grade scientists are adventure bound
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Oct. 28 fifth-grade students from PISD will load onto school buses bou...
Professionals share secrets of success
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Wednesday, Sept. 23, dozens of professionals from the Dallas area desc...
Parents participate in Freaky Friday
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The turnout for Princeton High Schools third annual Freaky Friday was ...
FFA brings in the bacon
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Sept. 12 the Friends and the Family of the FFA hosted their annual BBQ...
City accepts check, tax rate
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Aug. 25 the Princeton City Council met to discuss taxes, budgets and s...
School board salutes PHS, second in state
Thursday, September 03, 2009
After a long summer break, the PISD School Board held its first meetin...
New kids on campus get schooled
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Before students head back to school, the teachers at PISD must first b...
Abbott wins big with Braunvieh
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Madison Abbott has kept busy over the summer, traveling with her prize...
Americas top Model UN teams unite in NYC
Thursday, July 30, 2009
July 15 four Princeton High School students took off to New York City,...
Graduates leave PHS with scholarships
Thursday, June 25, 2009
June 1 Princeton High School held its annual Academic Awards ceremony....
Express stops at Fellowship Pointe
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Fellowship Pointe held Vacation Bible School in the Outback last week....
PHS graduates face their futures
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 30 minutes before seven the graduates began lining u...
Baccalaureate speaker encourages grads
Thursday, June 04, 2009
May 31 approximately fifty graduates and their families gathered for a...
UN team NY bound
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Princeton High Schools Model UN was one of ten in the nation selected ...
PISD trustees take oath
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Clinton Lowrance, Tim Tidwell and returning trustee Kenneth Chuck Camp...
Harper holds first-annual Spring Fling festival
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Harper Elementary held its first-annual Spring Fling festival Saturday...
Artistic winners from Onion Fest
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Sixth-grade students from Huddleston Intermediate competed in an Art S...
Students shine dancing shoes for 'Oz' musical debut
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Students from Godwin, Lacy, and Harper Elementary have been hard at wo...
'Cover of Life' comes to town
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Princeton High School's regional qualifying One-Act Play team will per...
Godwin preps for TAKS with campouts
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The day before the TAKS tests, students at Godwin Elementary held a ca...
Wonder-full world
Thursday, April 23, 2009
A marketing company from Wylie brought a sense of wonder to Princeton ...
Show must go on
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Princetons one-act play team left early April 8 in order to pack every...
Seeing stars at Lacy Elementary
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Lacy Elementary students were treated to star sightings during the Hol...
Hope Floats
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Students at Clark Junior High enjoyed ice cream and cola floats during...
Science trip
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wallace Jackson tries to think of an answer while on a recent Harper ...
Band is number 1, 1 ,1
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The Princeton High School bands competed at the UIL Region 25 Band Con...

Below the Fold - Sponsored by:

Princeton Herald

Wylie News Murphy Monitor Sachse News Farmersville Times
Contact Us Advertise With Us About Princeton Herald Meet The Staff
Copyright © 2008 Princeton Herald. All Rights Reserved. View Our Privacy Policy. Site Terms.