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Friday, July 1, 2022

Starting a Chain Reaction in Kennedale – Three students speak about their experience

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Kennedale High School hopes to start a chain reaction that spreads across the community.

On Sept. 18th Kennedale High School had two facilitators from Rachel?s Challenge?came to the school for a Chain Reaction event. It was an all-day activity involving 100 students and 25 adults. The event was designed to draw students together, break down barriers, and address issues like bullying/teasing, willingness to ask for help, gossiping, judging, valuing others, having empathy, having a hopeful outlook. {{more}}

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This is the second year for the high school to be involved in Rachel?s Challenge. ?It involved not only students but teachers and community members.
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Three students involved in the event this year and last year spoke with the Kennedale News about the experience. The three were Hailey Green (Jr), Biancca Colette (Sr) and Kayla Marshall (Sr). The following are their comments.
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What is Rachel?s Challenge and why is it good for Kennedale?
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Hailey, ?It is basically about this girl,?Rachel, who was the first person shot at Columbine [High School]. They found all these journals that she kept. Specifically, there was this essay that she turned in for English about how if everyone was just nice to one another, we could start a chain reaction and the world would be a lot better. So if people had just listened to what she said in her essay and realize that other people were going through the same thing that maybe the shooting would not have happened.

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Biancca, ?I think it is good for Kennedale because there are so many people who are going off with their friends based on clicks and sports and things that they do together. And, they go around talking about people and starting rumors. I think this [program] was good because it gives you a chance to actually learn what someone is going through and you get to understand the other person in a whole new perspective. It makes you open up and think about other people?s feelings; what they are going through; and, actually find out that you are going through some similar things. It makes you understand someone so much better.?
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Hailey, ?Also Kennedale is so small, everybody kind of knows everybody and [they?re] in everybody?s business. But it is kind of like they just see the exterior. ?Oh, these are the popular kids? and they think they know them. And then through this I found out things, like people I thought had it altogether and were just living the life, actually had some the same problems and going through some of the same things that I do.?
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Kayla, ?The other thing that is so important that when we think of the chain reaction some people might think it is just for students, but something I thought was great that came out it was that the teachers were involved. Teachers also had the same problems that students have [now] when they were involved in high school. It was good seeing them go through that process. Because now some students think that we can?t go to our teachers and talk to them about our problems. They don?t feel the same way we do but they actually do because they have been through it.
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Biancca, ?And also, some students who give disrespect to their teachers [now] know them a little better and give them more creditability.?
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Hailey, ?Last year was more like introducing it, team building stuff and a little more into the story of what happened at Columbine. It was only three hours. And we went through a list of things that we could do to make our school better. This [year] was more focused on getting to know each other and understanding that you are not going through things alone. This was more like feelings and I like this one better?
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Biancca, ?It was an emotional rollercoaster?
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Kayla, ?They also mention to us there that we would starting our chain reaction right there in the gym.?
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Biancca, ? I think we did.?
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How do you start the chain reaction?
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Kayla, ?I think that before you try to start focusing on other people, you need to focus on yourself first. Figure out your flaws, because everyone has those flaws and you can?t be judgmental. Everybody is different. So you see the difference in you first. Then if you see other people around you, you might think they might be weird, they might hang around this certain group of people. Don?t be so quick to judge. Because you will know who you are and how you can better yourself. I think that is where you can start [the chain reaction].
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Hailey,??It?s like I would have never known that certain things about some people, if I hadn?t gone to this. There are people that I don?t really talk too, that I just pass [in school]. And I think that they fit in to this group or this group and I realized after going through it that they had the same problems or going through the same things as I do.?
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Biancca, ? I also think the way to try to help is try to help calm down rumors and gossip, is try to listen, to try not to spread it.?
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Kayla, ?It is kinda like you have to close your ears to negativity.
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Biancca, ?If someone sends you a text message you have to think first before you react. And a lot of people don?t do that before they say or do. I think what can also help is when you see someone down you try to help, show them some support, compassion and I think it will make their day and their year go along ways for them. By going through this I made new friends and now I see people in the halls that I never even talked too or knew and now I can say hi to them and have a conversation with them. It?s pretty cool, I like it.?
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Kayla, ?Once you go to someone else and show them some compassion, that you actually care, then you might start a chain reaction. They feel like it is okay for me to go to somebody else who is feeling down and help them out. Then it becomes a continuous process.?
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Biancca, ?The coolest thing for me was that there was a lot of younger classmen there. That was inspiring to me because there was a lot of freshmen and sophomores there and they didn?t know what this was and they went anyway. And they were trying to better themselves. I only wish the whole school could have been involved with this.?
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Hailey, ?To be honest I was looking at certain people and thinking they were not going to take this serious but I was really surprised that everyone did get into it. And I felt really bad because I judged them.?
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Kayla, ?I would recommend it to a lot of people to do. You get a live changing experience out of it. You get to meet new people and to find out about other people.?
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Biancca, ?And not just about others, but about yourself. It opens your eyes to a lot.?
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KHS plans to continue Rachel’s Challenge and hopes more of the community will become involved.?

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