Columbine victim’s message lives on

Ben Smidt

Find out more about Rachel Scott.

One month before she was killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, Rachel Scott proclaimed a theory she had in an ethics essay she was writing for school, thinking only her teacher would read it. “I have this theory, that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then they will start a chain reaction of the same,” she wrote.

Little did she know that her father, Darrell Scott, would be spreading this message to millions of people around the world just a few months later.

Speaking to a crowd of over a thousand people, Scott touched many more with the story of Rachel’s life Wednesday night in Schofield Auditorium.

“It was a really great, moving experience that words just can’t describe,” freshman Amber Warthesen said.

Scott described many of the journal entries and other writings that Rachel, who would be a college sophomore right now, kept throughout her life. Her motto, “You can start a chain reaction by acts of kindness,” was found in many of her writings. This saying was something Rachel lived by and encouraged others to do as well.

“My daughter started a chain reaction at her funeral,” Scott said.

Describing the later years of Rachel’s short life, Scott told stories of Rachel telling her friends that she was going to die young. Through her faith, she knew she was going to die soon, yet she accepted it.

Rachel always said she was going to be an actress and famous someday, Scott said. She even said, “Someday you’re going to see me on ‘Oprah.’ ” She was right – Walking on the stage of the “Oprah” show commemorating the Columbine tragedy, Scott saw the picture of Rachel on the big screen.

“He made a big impact on me. I have a strong faith, but it just renewed that in me and opened my eyes to how much we overlook and don’t realize,” freshman Heidi Gassert said.

The presentation, which Student Impact sponsored, attracted so many students that a live video feed was set up in an overflow room of Davies, said freshman Julie Theobald, a member of SI.

The group brought Scott to speak for many reasons. “We wanted to open peoples’ eyes to God and their future and so a lot of people could see Rachel’s life and her chain reaction,” Theobald said.

Scott also reminded students that while they are in college preparing for their future, they shouldn’t lose sight of what is in front of them right now.

“Don’t forget you can make a difference now,” he said. “I want to encourage you to take a step to make a difference.”

With slideshows, video clips and photographs of the Columbine tragedy, Scott moved much of the audience to tears. After telling the story of Rachel’s life, Scott left students with a challenge.

“Look in your own heart and consider if you’re willing to do what Rachel did,” he said. “You’re not going to lose anything by giving God a chance, he just might surprise you … I believe you’re going to start a chain reaction.”