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Columbine 25 years later: Rachel's Challenge continues to impact lives

Rachel's Challenge continues to impact lives 25 years after Columbine
Rachel's Challenge continues to impact lives 25 years after Columbine 02:25

This week marks 25 years since the deadly shooting at Columbine High School. Twelve students and a teacher were killed by two gunmen on April 20, 1999.

Some survivors and families of those who were killed want the day to be about more than what happened.

"Stories have always changed the world," said Darrell Scott.

Rachel Scott Scott family

Scott will be the first to tell you he never imagined his daughter, Rachel Joy Scott's story, would be among them.

"They say hindsight is 20/20 and vision is limited, and the truth is, my vision was just to honor her for a year. I thought, maybe if I could honor her for a year, let people know who she was through her diaries her writings," he said.

It started when Rachel's backpack was returned to the family.

Investigators kept it as evidence for several weeks after the shooting.

CBS / Courtesy

"I rushed over to get it and I went out to my vehicle and when I opened up her backpack her final diary was there and I pulled it out, like any parent, I wanted to see the last thing she had written," he said.

Instead, he found a drawing, there were eyes with tears pouring out into a rose, that was growing from a Columbine flower. With it were pages of short poems. On the back was a message.

"Her final diary became a huge part of the story that we share with students because she wrote all over the cover and the back, and on that back of that diary, her final diary was a hole in her diary where a bullet entered and right where that bullet entered, she had written, 'I won't be labeled as average,'" Scott said.


Today it's a mantra for students across the country, shared as part of a program known as "Rachel's Challenge."

"We go into schools, we do assemblies we do we create a "Friends of Rachel Club," we call them "for clubs;" we are for things, not against things. We are not against bullying, we are for kindness," he said.

Darrell Scott CBS

Twenty-five years later, they continue to expand and Rachel Joy Scott's story continues to change -- even save lives.

"We see 150 suicides every year prevented and for every school shooting, for every child like my daughter Rachel, who was killed at Columbine, for everyone that was killed in a school shooting, 362 die from suicide, they never get news media coverage. The world doesn't grieve for them but the parents and the loved ones and the family feel just as much loss as we did," Scott said.

Which is why he says they must do more.

"We have to because if we are seeing the negative increase -- which we are -- we have to see the positive increase," he said.

Rachel's brother Craig was also at Columbine during the shooting. He launched his own program called "Value Up," which focuses on valuing life.

For more information, visit Rachel's Challenge and Value Up's websites.

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