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INSIDE THE FLX: Students bring positive change to community through interactive program (podcast)

“Rachel’s Challenge” is coming to Seneca Falls.

Thanks to a joint-effort between school officials, students, and community partners – a national program will be making its way to Seneca Falls – allowing members of the community, parents, and students to learn about kindness and respect toward others.

The event will take place on January 8th, 2019 and will be open to the public.

Rachel’s Challenge, the program for students and community is the inspiring story of Rachel Scott, who was the first victim of the Columbine High School tragedy. The program focuses on improving classroom culture, an evolving educational experience, and more.


Mynderse Academy Senior Louis Smith was a member of the panel, discussing the benefits of a program like Rachel’s Challenge for students and parents. School officials credit Smith and Kenya Blackman-Lowe with being the true driving force behind the project. The duo worked alongside officials to make sure that Rachel’s Challenge, and other student-faculty partnerships could be formed over the last year.

“Positive culture just doesn’t have to be maintained in the school district, really it starts at home and in the community,” he explained. “If a kid sees someone in the community and they just smile and say ‘hello’ the impact that could have is important. It’s also an opportunity for people in the community to see what the life of a student is actually like,” Smith added. “Their fears, worries, and joys, too, because that all happens throughout a single school year,” he continued. “I’m hoping that Rachel’s Challenge is able to give a little sense of why we need to be a little more positive and also a glimpse into some of the struggles students face.”

Superintendent McKeveny expressed his gratitude for the Bonafiglia family, who made the presentation possible through their contributions. “We’re so thankful for [them] because these are not easy things to do and events like these are not easy to book, and we’re very fortunate in that regard,” he explained.

Programs like this one are a pivotal tool in the educational tool belt. “It’s become a global understanding now that in 2019 a classroom is not four walls and a bunch of desks. Classrooms are the greater community and we all share a responsibility in the education process,” he concluded.

McKeveny will retire at the conclusion of this school year, ending a 38 year career in education. The superintendent said that the evolution of the student has been one of the most-rewarding things to observe as an administrator. “Students are doing so much good, and having such an impact on the community – it’s really become an invaluable asset.”

Verkey said that she hopes this continues to encourage engagement on all fronts. “The goal is create a chain reaction,” she explained. “We hope to provide parents and our community with an opportunity to say ‘Lets all do this together.'” She continued, “It’s not just about what happens within the walls of Mynderse Academy or the Middle School, but the partnerships and what our district is able to accomplish together.”

The event is free, and open to the public on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019, and will begin at 5:45 p.m. The community presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m.