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Student column: The impact of one

In today's society individuals are often overlooked. Many people are working for good just by everyday acts of kindness, but their impact is not known until they are out of the picture.

On Tuesday, Farmington High School held an assembly featuring a program called Rachael's Challenge. It was dedicated to pushing students to challenge themselves in areas emphasized by Rachael, the first person to be shot in the Columbine High School shootings. The assembly explained Rachael's life and her heart towards people. Then the speaker gave a set of five challenges to the audience. Those challenges were to write down your goals, show acts of kindness, eliminate prejudice, fill yourself with positive influences and start a chain reaction.

Rachael was a girl who never did anything drastic like finding a cure for a disease or setting an Olympic record, but the legacy she left behind is truly amazing. She was nice to everyone and encouraged other people to be the same way. By showing love and compassion to people who otherwise might not receive any, she changed lives. The incredible thing is that even after her death her life is still making a difference. Her family members travel all over the world talking to schools and groups of people, challenging them to follow the guidelines that she had in place for her life. They preach a strong message of embracing acceptance, thoughtfulness and peace rather than hatred, violence and cruelty. Rachael's life story is now known throughout the world and is making a difference in people. She is just one girl but she has made a huge impact.

Anybody can have that kind of impact. Most people have at one time or another dreamed of somehow changing the world, but the dream was quickly lost because of the preconceived vision of the enormity of it. The reality is that it doesn't take anything huge; it doesn't take traveling all over the world, or getting the best job, or becoming the most powerful. All it takes is a heart of love and a desire to help people. It starts with reaching out to one person. If each of us does our part in small ways it can make a big difference. So, go, and make an impact in the world. All it takes is kindness.

Karissa Martin is a junior at Christian Life School. Her columns appear every other week. If you'd like to be a student columnist call Nathan Hansen at 651-460-6606 or e-mail