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Wilson County Fair teams with LSSD to host Rachel’s Challenge Rally
Aug 15, 2012 12:00 am
In February, Lebanon Special School District hosted Rachel’s Challenge at both Winfree Bryant and Walter J. Baird Middle Schools. Rachel Scott was the first student killed in the 1999 Columbine shootings. After her death, fellow students contacted the Scott family and shared how Rachel positively impacted their lives. Time and time again, her family heard stories of her targeted acts of kindness. Through her many diaries and essays, Rachel challenged her readers to start a chain reaction of kindness. With those events being such a success this year, the Wilson County Fair will team up with the LSSD to host a Rachel’s Challenge Rally during the fair.
“Since our students heard Rachel’s story in February, they have been busy performing
acts of kindness,” said LSSD Family Resource Center Coordinator Beth Petty. “Many
acts of kindness have been documented by our students creating a paper chain link every time someone does something nice for someone else. Students have created original artwork that hangs in the hall of each school. School Age Child Care students even created five public service announcements that are on the lssd.org website. We have data from a student survey that confirms that our students saw positive change in the school as a result of the program: 46 percent of students reported that they feel more safe at school; 30 percent said they have missed less days of school; 55 percent said they see less students getting bullied; 61 percent said they see more acts of kindness; 46 percent said they have joined the Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club that is ongoing throughout the year; and 92 percent said that their school needs to host a Rachel’s Challenge event each year.”
To kick off the 2012-2013 school year, the Wilson County Fair will host a Rachel’s Challenge Rally. Rachel’s Challenge presenter Daryn Jackson will donate her time and serve as guest speaker. At the February events, Jackson immediately captivated the student audience with her depiction of the events that occurred the day of the massacre, and the subsequent events that led the Scott family to memorialize Rachel in the most befitting way – educating and equipping students to carry on Rachel’s chain reaction of kindness.
“We are very thankful to Ms. Jackson for agreeing to serve as our guest speaker," said LSSD Director Scott Benson. "We are also thankful to Wilson County Fair officials for helping us host this event. An event with this kind of positive impact on students needs to be continued each year.”
The Rachel’s Challenge Fair Rally will be held at the Wilson County Fairgrounds
Fiddler’s Grove Opry Stage on Sunday, Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. In addition to Jackson, other guest speakers will include Walter J. Baird Principal Pam Sampson, Winfree Bryant Principal Becky Kegley and various students.
Middle School students who bring their Rachel’s Challenge Rally flyers will receive $2 off an adult admission on Sunday, Aug. 19 only. That Sunday is also Church Bulletin Day at the Fair. Those bringing a bulletin will also receive $2 off an adult admission. However, the two promotions cannot be combined.
“This event is exactly what we envisioned would happen. Rachel’s story touched students, who have kept acts of kindness going throughout the school year. But none of us want to stop there. We want the community to know Rachel’s story and accept her challenge to start chain reactions of kindness. The Wilson County Fair is an amazing entity to work with. They always bend over backwards to help Wilson County families," said Linda Schenk, the Wilson County Rachel’s Challenge Coordinator.
Both Schenk and Petty have worked with the fair on several endeavors, including Wilson County Christmas for All.
“Former LSSD Director of Schools, and current school board member, Andy Brummett, knows what it takes to help children thrive and always supports any projects we ask him to help us with. Fair President Hale Moss, has contacted me many times throughout the summer to ensure that this event would take place and that we had everything we needed at our disposal. Fair Coordinator Helen McPeak has thought of every detail to make our event successful. No wonder the Wilson County Fair is so wonderful,” said Petty.
A lucky student from both Walter J. Baird and Winfree Bryant will win an iPod shuffle the day of the event.
“Any LSSD middle school student who attends the rally will be placed in a drawing to win the iPods. We hope to have hundreds of students and their families attend the rally," Petty added.
To be eligible for the drawings, the student must sign in and remain present until the end of the rally, at which time the winners will be announced. A third iPod shuffle will be given away to a general audience member. To be eligible for this prize, you must get a ticket from the table at the Opry Stage and be present when the winner is announced.
After such a successful event during the last school year, the LSSD plans to host a second Rachel’s Challenge presentation this year.
“School budgets are tight, so we have to depend on the community to help us fund this kind of event. Our first sponsor for this year’s event is the Lebanon Police
Department," Petty noted. "Chief Scott Bowen will be working with us throughout the year, as well as helping us fund the student and community events. We thank him and his staff for their ongoing support of our school system.”
Officer P.J. Hardy will represent the LPD at the Rachel’s Challenge Fair Rally. February’s sponsors included: Jerry and Lee Anne Warren -Warren and Associates Engineering: Wilson Bank and Trust; Hal Bone of Horizon Construction and Development; Joseph and Joanne Embury of Retail Builders, Inc.; LSSD Special Education; LSSD Coordinated School Health; and LSSD School Age Child Care (SACC).
Petty said that money is already being set aside within the different school departments and she hopes community sponsorships will come in to help fund the event again this year. The public is invited to the rally.
For more information or to make a donation, contact Schenk at 615-804-5464 or Petty at 615-453-2693.
For more information about Rachel and the Rachel’s Challenge Foundation, visit
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or via email at email@example.com
RC Fair pix 1 Photo: Submitted
Rachel's Challenge presenter Daryn Jackson will be the guest speaker at the Aug. 19 event at the Wilson County Fair.