As Layton Wall walked around the campus of Columbine High School in Colorado this past summer he was in awe.
And when he came upon the Columbine Memorial he called it a "sobering and enlightening" experience.
Wall and his wife, Brenda, were in Colorado for the Rachel's Challenge Summit. Rachel Scott was the first of 12 students and a teacher killed by students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in the April 20, 1999 shooting spree.
"My wife and I attended the first annual Rachel's Challenge Summit this past summer. I was deeply impressed with the conference and Rachel's father, Darrell Scott," Wall, White River Valley School Corporation's superintendent, said.
He later walked the campus with Debbie Phelps, a junior high principal and strong supporter of the program.
Wall was so impressed with the program that he's bringing it to his students at WRV as part of its anti-bullying campaign.
All students will take part in a convocation Nov. 8. Rachel's uncle, Larry Scott, will be the guest speaker.
Scott will speak several times Nov. 8 at White River Valley Jr./Sr. High School. He will speak to a general student assembly at 1 p.m. and to the student council and other leadership organizations at 2 p.m.
At the student leadership in-service training, Scott will give student leaders key tools to help them implement and maintain the Rachel's Challenge Kindness and Compassion Campaign among the WRV student body.
In addition, Scott will talk about Rachel and her vision of kindness and compassion for all at an evening appearance for Greene County parents, students, church members and community members in the WRV Jr./Sr. High School gym at 7 p.m.
Rachel was killed while eating lunch outside Columbine High School. A devout Christian, she was known for her friendliness and compassionate nature. She left behind six diaries and several essays about her belief in God and her desire to change the world through small, random acts of kindness.
Rachel's father, Darrell Scott, started Rachel's Challenge after finding, a week after the Columbine massacre, an essay by Rachel titled, "My Ethics, My Code of Life." In it, she wrote, "I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same."
"I believe Rachel's Challenge is a very effective program and curriculum. We are pleased to have the chance to bring it to White River Valley," Wall explained.
"Our kids will learn more about how kindness and compassion combat bullying and other negative behaviors. I certainly encourage parents, WRV staff members and our communities to support Rachel's Challenge."
Wall feels strongly in being proactive and not reactive when it comes to bullying.
"We are bringing Larry in to officially kick off our anti-bullying campaign and curriculum. I feel too many programs and events focus on reactive rather than proactive measures," Wall said.
"The Rachel's Challenge curriculum focuses on kindness and compassion. If we can foster this in our students we do not need to worry about many negative behaviors. We hope to see less disciplinary infractions, a safer and kinder school system and core values such as respect, tolerance, kindness, etc."
Wall has written a book about anti-bullying and he reads it to his corporation's elementary students. It's titled Rat Fishin' with Ralphie Rat: A Bully Learns A Lesson.
"All of our students were given a copy. We hope this was a great springboard activity to bring about awareness to students," Wall said.
"I firmly believe it must first begin with our elementary students and continue through grade 12."