Berkeley’s third Rachael’s Challenge Chain Reaction proves to be a success
For three years the students of The Berkeley Institute have taken part in the Rachel’s Challenge Chain Reaction campaign. Rachel’s Challenge is a school-outreach programme that was started to prevent teen violence. It came about in memory of Rachel Scott.
She was the first of 13 killed in 1999’s Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, USA. Students and a teacher were fatally shot by two other students before the gunmen committed suicide.
Rachel left behind a diary in which she spoke about a chain reaction, how one good deed can lead to another thus combating violence, hatred, discrimination and other unwanted social behaviours.
This was introduced to the school by Pastor Gary Simons of Cornerstone Ministries.
Several times during the year, Pastor Gary and his team would visit the school and speak to the assemblies; very often his guests would include former victims and perpetrators of violence. Their message is always to spread love not hate.
At the school the Chain Reaction group, headed by Faculty Advisor Ayesha Vickers-Brown, organises several activities to promote positive behaviour among the students.
These include an annual teacher appreciation car wash, a morning meet and greet with Johnny Barnes at the Northern Roundabout, and a breakfast programme at Victor Scott Primary.
In addition, the group has also organised a number of activities where students can work in their advisory groups and engage in friendly competitions such as scavenger hunts.
One event that was very exciting was the Cupcake Wars which pitted the baking and cake decorating skills of students.
The Chain Reaction advisory wanted to get the whole school involved in an activity and we decided to have a bake sale. Different advisory groups took part.
The objective was to put differences aside and work together as a team.
The advisory groups had to bake cupcakes and decorate them together. The cupcakes were judged and the winners were announced and treated.
One advisory group had a slumber party at one of the advisee’s house.
Not everyone was allowed to sleep out on a school night but Asha Jones, Abigail Charles and I stayed up until 3am baking and decorating more than 60 cupcakes.
Even though the rest of the advisory group didn’t sleep over everyone did their part and baked and decorated cupcakes. Each cupcake was sold for a dollar.
I believe this event was a huge success because not only did people come together and participate but new friendships and bonds were created.
Indeed, this is the dream of Rachel and Rachel’s Challenge.
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