Rachel’s Challenge: School fulfills mission of kindness for beloved teacher


by WHAS11


Posted on July 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 15 at 6:19 PM

RADCLIFF, Ky. (WHAS11)- Out of tragedy came kindness, and an incredible program called Rachel's Challenge.    
Rachel Scott was the first of 12 students and one teacher killed at Columbine. In Rachel’s name, her family has built a now-global organization that fosters kindness and compassion.

The colorful links that have come to be known as a symbol of Rachel’s challenge made a long chain at North Hardin High School.  Each link in the chain carries encouraging words about life and love.    

All of this, from the Friends of Rachel at North Hardin, is for Sgt. Maj. Gray.
This spring, WHAS11 first told you the story of Sgt. Maj. Paul Gray and Rachel's Challenge.
The greatly admired ROTC instructor, who founded the ROTC at North Hardin and helped it thrive, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The students at North Hardin decided that the Sgt. Maj. needed these links of love, created by students who have accepted Rachel’s Challenge and have agreed to spread kindness and compassion.

“I can see the change in our school from it,” Robin Schlobach, North Hardin Junior, said. “As soon as it happened, as soon as they told us, it hit everyone.”

The Sgt. Maj. has an army behind him, helping fight his battle against brain cancer.

“Kids care a lot for him and would do anything for him,” Maj. Steve Fisher of ROTC said. “We used to kid about that but I think if Paul told one to jump off the roof of the building they might jump, so he has to be careful what he says.”

When the project began, students signed about 25 feet of good wish links in one lunch period. The school’s goal is by the middle of May to sign enough so they can circle the entire football field.  And just before school ended for the summer, the students reached their goal.

 All the links of love with words of encouragement were taken to the football field where hundreds of the North Hardin warriors lined up around the field, turning those pieces of paper into a powerful message.

Three high schools and five middle schools in Hardin County have accepted Rachel's Challenge.