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Brothers host ‘Rachel’s Challenge’

Craig Scott, brother of Columbine High School shooting victim Rachel Scott, conducted one of two community meetings this week at the Hilton Garden Inn Tuesday. He and his brother, Mike Scott, are in Albany to help implement “Rachel’s Challenge into the community.

Craig Scott, brother of Columbine High School shooting victim Rachel Scott, conducted one of two community meetings this week at the Hilton Garden Inn Tuesday. He and his brother, Mike Scott, are in Albany to help implement “Rachel’s Challenge into the community.

ALBANY, Ga. — Twelve years after one of the deadliest school shootings in United States history, the legacy of one of its victims has continued to live on.

And it is now making an impact on Albany.

The community was invited to hear more about “Rachel’s Challenge” at the Hilton Garden Inn Tuesday night, one of two community meetings set for this week to educate people about the initiative.

The meeting consisted of various members of the community, some of whom brought their children. They heard messages similar to what others in Albany have heard about Rachel Scott and the impact she has had through her actions and writings.

“My sister wanted to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion,” Craig Scott, Rachel Scott’s brother, said Tuesday. “I hope there are some lessons that can be learned that will prevent this (another Columbine) from happening again.”

Rachel Scott was the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Her acts of kindness and compassion coupled with the contents of her diaries and other written works have become the foundation for “Rachel’s Challenge.” Her brothers, Craig and Mike Scott, continue this week to deliver the organization’s message to students in Albany’s public and private schools as part of an effort to combat teen bullying and violence.

In so doing, they have reached out to roughly 10,000 students in the Albany area.

At the community meeting, a video was shown that the two Columbine shooters — Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris — had made, demonstrating that they wanted to “start a chain reaction” of violence and death.

This was something that led Craig Scott into the idea of choosing positive influences. He also showed a photo of the back cover of the journal his sister was carrying the day of the shooting.

On the cover, the 17-year-old had written: “I won’t be labeled as average.” Directly underneath that line is damage from where a bullet lodged into the cover.

“This perhaps provides (emphasis) to that statement,” Craig Scott said.

On Tuesday, the community also heard of the importance of character building as opposed to just focusing on academics.

“I knew two kids at Columbine that had excelled academically,” Craig Scott said of Klebold and Harris. “The problem wasn’t education of the head, but of their hearts.”

Craig Scott also participated in the same panel discussion that Bill Cosby was a part of in the Albany Municipal Auditorium on Friday.

“He (Cosby) said that there are walls of communication that are going up,” Scott recalled. “He said that a lot of older people don’t share their experiences with younger people, and they need to.”

Craig Scott was a student at Columbine at the time of the shootings. It was hard for him to tell Tuesday evening’s audience that what he initially thought was firecracker were actually the gunshots that were taking his sister’s life.

“The day of the shooting changed my life forever,” he said of those moments in the school library. “The worst moments of my life were under that table.”

The meetings taking place this week, as well as the assemblies of middle school and high school students, is a follow-up to a visit Darrell Scott — the father of the organization’s namesake — made to Albany last month to introduce the concept to community leaders and educators.

“Whether we’ve admitted it or not, we’re in,” said Angie Barber, director of Phoebe Network of Trust, of Rachel’s Challenge. “We are here to move the community and our hearts forward.”

A second community meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Thursday at Byne Memorial Baptist Church.