Mural of Kindness
By Michael Edwards and Kassia Star
(Fourth-graders at Ridgeline Academy)
Mural, Mural on the wall, who is the kindest of them all? The students, faculty and staff at Ridgeline Academy, of course! Martin Moreno, artist and teacher, participated in a joint venture of kindness with the students at Ridgeline Academy by honoring Rachel’s Challenge with a painted mural artistically created by Mr. Moreno and students from Ms. Lane’s fourth-grade class. The inspiration came from Ridgeline Academy’s initial participation in Rachel’s Challenge.
Rachel Scott was the first student killed in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Rachel’s father, Darrell Scott, established Rachel’s Challenge to perpetuate his daughter’s example and the two-page “Code of Ethics” she wrote a month before her death. Every student’s pledge for kindness was represented by tracing their own hand and then painting them around a heart surrounding a picture of a teacher that represents all the teachers at Ridgeline Academy.
The mural represents the classroom’s commitment to taking an oath of kindness in honor of Rachel Scott and the many people who serve the community. “The theme of the mural is kindness in the community. When making the mural, Mr. Moreno asked our class to bring in pictures of people or services in the community that help others so that we could draw and paint them on our mural. We chose a police officer, veterinarian, service dog and a teacher,” Ridgeline fourth-grader, Kelsi Simpson, said.
After Rachel’s death, many students that Rachel had helped reached out in order to share stories with Rachel’s parents about the profound impact her simple acts of kindness had on their lives. Today, Rachel’s story started the non-profit organization that is Rachel’s Challenge today. The organization goes to schools making presentations asking for participation in a pledge for kindness.
The Mural of Kindness hangs in Ms. Lane’s class today, serving as a reminder to be kind to one another. “The heart is red and symbolizes a big heart for love and kindness; the hands traced by our fourth grade class are blue, yellow, tan and pink and the kindness banner is blue,” added another fourth-grader, Cody Temple.
As Rachel wrote in her final school essay: “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”
To learn more; visit http://rachelschallenge.org
To learn more about Ridgeline Academy visit; http://ridgelineacademy.org