Accepting Rachel's Challenge, Anti-Bullying Program - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Accepting Rachel's Challenge, Anti-Bullying Program

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LEWES, Del. - "I've been involved in education for 20 years, and this was the most powerful message that I've seen," says Chris Mattioni, guidance counselor at Cape Henlopen High School about the Friends of Cape program.

Friend's of Cape is a series of programs which arm students with tools to create a more accepting school environment.

Officials say 160,000 students, across the country, skip school each day because they're teased, harassed, or bullied.

"The only people that can really stop the bullying are the kids themselves, you have kids talking to kids, they listen -- a lot more than they do when an adult talks to a child," says Delaware House Speaker Peter Schwartzkopf.

Wednesday, AT&T Mid Atlantic presented a $10,500 grant to Cape Henlopen High School to fund the program.  J. Michael Schweder, President of AT&T Mid Atlantic says" the lack of a high school degree can jeopardize a student's ability to succeed on the job and in life.  That's why AT&T supports organizations like the Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation, to inspire students to stay in school and equip them with the skills they will need to achieve their dreams."

Friends of Cape is an off-shoot of Rachel's Challenge, a national program based on the writings of 17-year old Rachel Scott, the first student killed in the Columbine High shootings of 1999.

"Rachel's whole mindset was that if one person can start random acts of kindness, it can produce this whole chain reaction that could change the whole attitude of the school for the better," says Romy Stancofski, a senior at Cape Henlopen, and one of the members of Friends of Cape.

That "chain reaction" is hanging on the walls for everyone to see, with students' acts of kindness written on links in a cardboard chain in the school cafeteria.

"Everyone has things in their past life and in their present life that's going on, and it's almost as if some of us don't realize that, says Cape Henlopen student Olivia Bloom.

Sophomore Mozella Matthews says simply, "our main is to make our school like one big family."

Cape Henlopen High also has three faculty members going to an anti-bullying conference next month, in Baltimore, and the school hopes to incorporate information learned there into the "Friends of Cape" program.

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