Friends of Rachel Attendance Declines

Look for the best in others. Dream big. Choose positive influences. Speak with kindness. Start your own chain reaction. Do any of these phrases sound familiar? That’s because these five statements are the call to action from the Rachel’s Challenge Foundation, a group that works to promote the idea of kindness and acceptance towards others in communities everywhere. In January, a representative from this foundation came to Anchorage and gave the Rachel’s Challenge presentation at Dimond High. This presentation had a huge impact upon the students here at Dimond. By signing the donated poster, liking the Facebook page, and joining the Friends of Rachel club at Dimond, hundreds of students pledged to accept the challenge and spread kindness in the Anchorage community. The Friends of Rachel club in particular was extremely popular. Over 100 students attended the first meeting, which was held in MPR1 due to the sheer mass of people who showed up. Now, a little over two months after the club began at Dimond, attendance is slowly dwindling week by week. “I don’t know what’s going on,” said English teacher Kristen Melican, who sponsors the upperclassmen division of the club. “At the first meeting we had over one hundred people, and now we’re down to like ten.” Christine Fischer, physical education teacher and the head of the freshman division of the Rachel’s Challenge club, had similar things to say about the recent attendance rates. “It’s really tapered off quite a bit, so we need to refocus,” Fischer said. The decline in club participation has left many wondering why so many of those who pledged have lost interest. Teresa Rath, a sophomore who has been going to meetings from the beginning, has some theories about it. “When things like this happen, the first two weeks are really good, but after that it kind of goes down,” Rath said. “Everybody’s busy in their life and has their own personal life at home.” Melican agreed with this statement, and there are no hard feelings towards those who haven’t been regularly showing up at meetings. “I’m not disappointed. I think that we as a club need to get more organized and then we’ll see. I think people were really fired up at first, but there is just a lot going on.” As far as reviving previous attendance rates, the club has a lot planned. In addition to plans to become an official club, the Dimond chapter of Friends of Rachel has a lot in store as far as future events go. In April, there was a one mile walk on the anniversary of the Columbine shootings so that people would keep the event and the Rachel’s Challenge cause in their minds. A program to welcome to new students is also in the works, along with a Freshman buddy system program. The club is still accepting new members, and meetings are on Thursdays in A105.