St. Edmond High School students have started a Friends of Rachel club. The FOR club endeavors to support the goals of Rachel's Challenge, of spreading to others and starting a chain reaction of kindness.
"We want to keep our school involved in Rachel's Challenge and we're coming up with ideas our whole school can be involved in," junior Rachel Fossbender, club member, said.
Rachel Joy Scott was the first victim in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Her journals, discovered afterwards, were filled with messages of compassion and inclusion.
Club member Jaci Brungardt, a junior, said Scott's message is an important one.
"I think it's a good way for people to learn that one small thing can make a difference and I think High Five Friday will bring the school closer," she said. "Even if you don't know the person you can give them a high five and it's, like, I know you're there. I see you. It just acknowledges you know people and understand."
The club's four students were chosen by their teachers for their leadership skills and coordinated by St. Edmond Principal John Howard to organize events, including creating a video for High Five Friday.
"I think the kids have done a great job in organizing it, putting together specific things we can do in memory of Rachel Scott that will help our school environment become even better," Howard said.
The FOR club begins its first initiative March 8 with High Five Fridays.
"Every Friday the whole school is just going to go around the hallways giving high fives to each other and try to make each other's day better and spread happiness," junior Lauren Moeding, club member, said.
Club member Casey McEvoy, a junior, said High Five Fridays will enhance the already positive atmosphere in the Catholic school.
"People are more likely to be open with one another if they're happy and they're just going to have a better day," he said. "There's always things you can do to make the school better. High Five Fridays is just something small we're going to do, but it will put a smile on somebody's face."
Fossbender added, "It helps motivate kids to have a positive attitude in school, with classes and stuff like that, instead of being sad. It makes people happy."
The club started in January, following the introduction of Rachel's Challenge to the St. Edmond Catholic School and Fort Dodge.
"She didn't (spread kindness) for attention," McEvoy said. "She did it because she knew the smallest thing, doing something nice for someone else, is going to make them happy and give them a better outlook."
Brungardt said Scott's message is an inspiring one.
"She actually did care about what other people said and did and thought, and how they responded to each other. She did it because she actually did really care about people," she said.
The group of students will work to create more positive activities and inspire kindness throughout their school for the rest of the year, and hope to continue their efforts into the next school year.
According to McEvoy, it can start with something as simple as a high five.
"If we can keep doing that," he said. "I think students are really going to embrace the idea."