At Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, Rachel Joy Scott’s heart stopped beating as a bullet passed through her body and got stuck in the journal that was sitting in her backpack. Two troubled teen boys came to the school in a rage after placing bombs throughout the building and coming in with guns. Rachel was the first to be killed on that tragic day, because she would not lie about her faith in God. Out of 1900 students, 12 were murdered, along with 1 teacher. Out of 1900, 12 may seem small, but dozens were also injured, and hundreds were traumatized.
Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott were the parents not only of Rachel, but also her brother Craig, who survived the attacks. After Rachel had passed away and they got her journal back from the police, they began to learn even more about their daughter. They also found papers with writings or drawings on them, hidden throughout her room, that taught them about their 17-year-old martyr of a daughter. Rachel died for her faith, but her story lives on through Rachel’s Challenge as well as Beth and Darrell’s book, Rachel’s Tears.
In her journal, Rachel prayed to God. As it turns out, you can discover a lot about a person from what they pray for. In her journal, Rachel called Columbine “halls of tragedy”, and it’s amazing how right she became.
Being so into writing and journalism, Rachel’s mother got Rachel a beige casket that came with markers so that people could write their final thoughts and wishes that would be buried with Rachel. This made it like another piece of her journal and scattered writings.
Reading through her journal, Rachel’s parents began to see not only how close she was with God, but it also began to seem as though Rachel knew of her unexpected death, and she understood it. In one of her entries she wrote, “This will be my last year, Lord. I have gotten what I can. Thank you.”
This entry was less than 11 months before the Columbine shooting.
This 17-year-old girl was completely willing to lay down her life for her religion. In one of her journal entries, she stated, “I am not going to apologize for speaking the Name of Jesus, I am not going to justify my faith to them, and I am not going to hide the light that God has put into me. If I have to sacrifice everything… I will,” and she did.
In many other entries, she mentioned how she knew her home was temporary and that none of what she had would last. Then, on a piece of paper, Rachel had a drawing of eyes and a rose; falling from the eyes to the rose, were 13 tears; drops of blood fell around the rose. This picture is truly amazing, because 13 people died in the shooting.
That day, when everyone was waiting to find out what happened to their loved ones, many people were very scared for Rachel, as if a part of them knew too. When Craig made it safely to his mother, he told her that he had a bad feeling about his sister. When Darrell was headed to the place where he was supposed to wait for students being bussed from the school, he said that for some reason, he didn’t fear for Craig, he feared for Rachel.
This fear became a reality the following day when the coroner’s office called at 11:30 a.m. to tell them that Rachel Joy Scott was amongst the deceased victims.
Though Rachel’s life was short, she was a very spiritual person and had a close relationship with God. In Rachel’s Tears, her parents tell about the lives she changed and the differences she made. They tell about her life, her death, and her faith.
I find the story truly inspiring, sad, and amazing all at the same time. Such a devoted and spiritually loyal girl truly set an example for Christian teens around the globe. Through this tragedy, Rachel changed many lives with her journal and her thoughts; ones that may not have come out if she were still here today.
I am also very amazed at all of the premonitions that Rachel had of her own death and how calmly and maturely she dealt with them. This piece of the story still moves me each time I think of it.
I definitely recommend the book to anyone who is interested in Rachel’s story. It can make you smile and bring you close to tears within pages of each other and her story sets a great example for teenagers today.
Rachel’s Challenge was created in memory of Rachel Scott and everything that she stood for and believed in. The purpose of the challenge is to help spread kindness, dream big and live to the best of your ability in the time that you are given.
In her life, Rachel reached out to people who needed kindness and she stood up for what was right. She lived to not judge others on her first impression of them and she sought out the best in each and every person. She was a big dreamer and she wrote down her dreams and goals and she worked every day on accomplishing them.
In Rachel’s Challenge, people are challenged to live like Rachel. Be kind, try not to be prejudiced, find the best in people, and finally, dream big and keep a journal. You never know what a difference all of these things could make in someone’s life.
Many people told their story about how Rachel, one single 17-year-old girl, impacted or even completely changed their lives for the better. If one person can have this kind of impact on the world as a whole, who’s to say that you couldn't, too?
If you had the ability to make the world a better place, to make people look forward to coming to school, to make insecurities go away, to make people see that they do matter, would you? You can, and Rachel is challenging you to do so.