Teachers in the Morehouse Parish School System underwent two days of training in preparation of the new school year Tuesday and Wednesday.
Superintendant Dr. George Noflin Jr. presented a state of the district address to the facility Tuesday morning in the auditorium of Bastrop High School along with an overview of planned classes the teachers would be in. He then introduced Dave Gamache of Rachel's Challenge, who spoke about the program, how it was began and how to incorporate the lessons learned into their classrooms. By turning the story of a tragic death at Columbine High School into a mission for change, Rachel's Challenge is helping create safer learning environments and making a world-wide impact. Rachel's Challenge is a series of student empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and allay feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion. The programs are based on the writings and life of 17 year-old Rachel Scott who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999. Rachel left a legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others, or who were new at her school. Shortly before her death she wrote, "I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go." Rachel's Challenge was started by Rachel's dad and stepmom, Darrell and Sandy Scott when they realized that the writings and drawings Rachel left not only had an impact on her friends and classmates, but also resonated with students around the world. Although Rachel was a typical teenager who even wrote about her "ups and downs," she had a passion and conviction that she would someday change the world. The Scott family knew her story and passion had to be told to inspire others to make their world a better place. Teachers returned to BHS after lunch and divided into grade level groups, where they received instruction on topics such as Compass Rubric, team building, physical education, and SucessMakers. They continued with this instruction through Wednesday.