Rachel Scott, the first victim in the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, had a theory — “If one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.”

Inspired by her theory and journal writings, Rachel’s family created the Rachel’s Challenge program to spread her powerful message and inspire people to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. Rachel’s Challenge is now the largest in-school assembly program in the country and has been seen by more than 12 million people.

As part of our ongoing community involvement efforts, Dakota Electric Association is helping to sponsor the event at eight local schools between Oct. 19 and Nov. 3.

Each school program consists of three parts:

  • A one-hour school assembly — During the assembly, students learn about Rachel’s life and are challenged to live in a way to make a positive impact on their world. Students listen intently as the speaker talks about Rachel’s life and code of ethics during the 60-minute presentation.
  • Friends of Rachel (FOR) training — Students and staff receive training that will develop leadership skills and help bring lasting change to their schools through the Friends of Rachel club.
  • An evening assembly for the public — The public is invited to attend an evening assembly where they will hear the program, but also learn more about Rachel’s family life.

Dakota Electric sponsored the event at three schools in 2008: Cannon Falls, Eagan and Farmington high schools. The program was so well received that we decided to bring it to more schools in 2009. “This program has a proven track record, and it is such a quality program, we wanted to help bring it to our local schools,” Greg Miller, Dakota Electric’s CEO, said.

“I have been in education for 35 years,” said Steve Fredrickson, Cannon Falls 7-12 principal, “and this is by far the most effective school assembly I have ever seen.”

“It was incredible. The students were absolutely riveted,” Polly Reikowski, principal at Eagan High School, said of two assemblies with 1,200 students each. “They were awestruck and silent. There was a lot of emotion.”

“I have had nothing but positive responses from the program,” Ben Kusch, principal at Farmington High School said. “The response from students has been impressive.”

Following are the dates for the program this year:

Oct. 19     Rosemount High School, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20      White Bear Lake H.S., 7 p.m.
Oct. 21     Simley H.S., 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 22     Burnsville H.S., 7 p.m.
Oct. 26     Lakeville North H.S. (student events)
Oct. 26     Lakeville public events combined at
                   South H.S. 7 p.m.
Oct. 27     Lakeville South H.S. (student events)
Oct. 28     Apple Valley H.S., 6 p.m.
Oct. 29     Northfield H.S., 7 p.m.

Oct. 30      Owatonna H.S.
Nov. 2      Rosemount Middle School, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 3       Faribault H.S.

The listing contains all the schools where Rachel’s Challenge presentations will occur during this Minnesota tour. Dakota Electric is sponsoring the events at schools in or near our service territory (listed in bold).

The evening program times are not yet known. Once the times are finalized, we will update this page. Also, check the local school Web site to for details on the evening program. To find out more about the event, visit www.rachelschallenge.org.