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Viewfinder: Rachel's Challege Culminates in Community Rally

Students and community members were reminded that just because the paper links will no longer be visible that acts of kindness and compassion should not cease.

It was a chilly evening Tuesday at Enumclaw Stadium but the students, family and community members who attended Rachel's Rally were warmed by the sight of more than two miles of paper links representing individual acts of kindness and compassion advocated as part of Rachel's Challenge.

Rachel Joy Scott was the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Her acts of kindness and compassion coupled with the contents of her six diaries have become the foundation for Rachel's Challenge. ()

This was a six month endeavor to see indeed how many links the community could produce, and as Black Diamond Mayor Rebecca Olness announced, the final length stretched to 2.05 miles which represents more than 42,240 individual links. (Editor's Note: If anyone caught the actual number of links, please tell us in the comments as our audio quality was drowned out by the roaring cheer of the crowd.)

The ceremony began with the Presentation of Colors by Boy Scout Pack 422. Sierra Carlson sang the National Anthem and led the crowd in America the Beautiful.

Enumclaw High School students Ryan Chynoweth, Michelle McKinlay, Sara Mongrain and Tyler Salsbury recapped their journey of the last six months.

Rebecca Olness and Enumclaw Mayor Liz Reynolds presented the chains and read a few samples for the audience.

Black Diamond Elementary School student Grace Doleshel shared her vision of what kindness looks like.

And Enumclaw School Board Vice President Corey Cassell introduced Rachel's Challenge speaker Dave Gamache who told the community, "Today you've revealed yourselves and you've shown yourselves to be a powerful community that can take care of people doing the little things every day. Please do not let that end today. ... Take care of everyone. Lift everybody up and continue to be this amazing community that you've proved yourselves to be."

Nancy Merrill March 07, 2012 at 03:35 PM
April and The Patch - thank you for such a wonderful mix and tribute to our Rachel's Rally last night! You've captured and recreated a bit of the spirit that was so powerful. What will be our next step? How inspiring to have such a positive event celebrating our communities.
April Chan March 07, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Thank you, Nancy, and everyone involved in making this great project happen. It has been beautiful to watch it start from just an idea and manifest into what we saw last night!
Rebecca Olness March 07, 2012 at 11:30 PM
April, I am proud to announce that the grand total was 43,443 links! Liz and I were so proud to part of such a wonderful celebration. Thanks for the great article. Rebecca Olness
Michael Nelson March 08, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Beautifully done, April! Thank you so much for putting together such an amazing visual and audio presentation from Rachel's Rally.

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