Phoenix students rise up to Rachel's Challenge

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Hundreds of Valley students sent out a message Friday morning in honor of a tragic anniversary.  April 20, 1999, is a day most will never forget. It's the day two students named Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire at Columbine High School near Denver. They shot and killed 13 people and wounded 23 others.

The first person killed was Rachel Scott. Her family wanted Rachel's memory and message of kindness to live on. They created a nonprofit organization called Rachel's Challenge. The goal: To get not just students, but the community, involved in building tolerance and creating compassion with kind acts.  

More than 700 kids at Mountain Sky Junior High School are taking part in Rachel's Challenge. 

"We've been spreading the message in our lessons since we took on Rachel's Challenge in November," said school social worker Jackie Swigert.

On Friday, they displayed a large paper chain link on a field to symbolize the chain reaction one kind act creates. They then walked around the field with banners, sending their messages to be kind to one another and to show compassion.

Students say they are seeing a difference. As people stand up for each other more, they have risen and met Rachel's challenge.