Dublin Villager

Rachel's Challenge

Successful fundraiser may put Batman in principal's office

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JENNIFER NOBLIT/THISWEEKNEWS
Dublin Davis Middle School eighth-graders (from left) Hannah Burigana, Lorraine Burger and Sarah Groh spent their lunch period last week working on ways to get students involved in the Rachel's Challenge Walk-a-Thon. Proceeds will help bring back the program that works to stop bullying and teaches students to accept one another.
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If students at Davis Middle School raise $5,000 for the Rachel's Challenge Walk-a-Thon, they have a great prize awaiting them: Principal Brian Lidle will dress as Batman for a day.

Faculty at Davis have willingly put up prizes that could make a school day a little embarrassing for them, all in the name of bringing back a program that aims to curb bullying by teaching students to accept one another.

Davis Middle School first welcomed the nonprofit Rachel's Challenge to the school last year. The program returned in the fall and a May 2 fundraiser will gather funds to bring it back next fall.

The Rachel's Challenge program was created by her parents after the 17-year-old was killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.

"We thought if the kids raise money, they would be more invested," Davis Guidance Counselor Suzanne Hicks said of the May 2 fundraiser.

A group of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students have been invested in the program all year, meeting during their lunch time to work on Rachel's Challenge activities.

"I really wanted to make a change and help," eighth-grader Ally Chan said, of joining the Rachel's Challenge group.

"I got involved because I wanted to learn more about the program and make more friends and help out," Hannah Burigana said.

After Rachel's Challenge came in the fall, eighth-grader Sarah Groh said she noticed some changes among her classmates as they realized bullying is wrong and treating people kindly is important.

"I learned it's really important how you treat people. It makes a difference," she said. "You never know when you're having an impact on someone."

Eighth grader Austin Murphy learned that bullying really can hurt people.

"I knew the bullying thing did happen, but it made me realize it makes some people kill themselves or other people," he said.

Rachel's Challenge hasn't focused entirely on the bad, though.

As part of the Rachel's Challenge group, Murphy said throughout the school year, he's gotten to help add links on a chain that symbolize kindnesses.

"When you see an act of kindness, you put a link on the chain," he said.

During the May 2 fundraiser that will aim at bringing Rachel's Challenge back in the fall, Sutter Parkway will be closed so students can walk. Music and activities at the school will follow.

To participate, each student must raise at least $10 for the walk-a-thon.

There are rewards for raising more, though. Top fundraisers in each grade can win prizes such as an activity pass, breakfast from Starbucks or a chance to drench their teachers in a water tank.

Grades also have fundraising goals that will be rewarded with a drench tank for teachers or teachers dressing as cheerleaders or princesses.

And of course, the whole school could see the principal transformed into Batman for the day, if enough is raised.

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