A Year in Review for the Po-Hi Friends of Rachel Club
Team Radio Marketing Group - July 26, 2017 4:11 pm
Written by: Terri Calhoun
A-E Po-Hi Counselor
FOR Club Sponsor
Each day, 160,000 students do not go to school for fear of being bullied, teased and harassed.
Rachel’s Challenge (F.O.R. Club or Friends of Rachel) is making a worldwide impact by turning the story of the tragic death of Rachel Scott at Columbine High School into a mission of change.
Rachel’s Challenge is a philosophy of life expressed through strategic, relational programs designed to liberate the inner desire to treat others with respect. This simple, yet profound philosophy defuses bullying, disrespect and prejudice, bringing hope where there is isolation and despair. Most significantly, in a recent 24 month period, Rachel’s Challenge received more than 450 emails from students who indicated they had changed their minds about taking their own lives after Rachel’s Challenge made their school a better and more caring place.
Last July, the F.O.R. Club, under the leadership of Katie Nichols as president, guided the students of the club in creating informational packets for the upcoming freshmen and new students. These packets were colorful on the outside and full of good information that every student new to the high school should know, such as: bell schedules, bus pick-up locations, and times to avoid certain staircases due to congestion.
Students were given diagrams for the floors and layouts of the lunch lines and menus, as well as information about Oklahoma’s Promise, with lists of club and organizations at the high school. This kept many students busy through the summer. With the assistance of other clubs and organizations, new students and freshman could come to the high school for a complete tour of the buildings and facilities.
With the aid of some of the faculty members, the F.O.R. club had a “welcome to Po Hi” luncheon in the assembly center for all the new Po Hi students during all three lunches. The assembly center was decorated, and information about the club and the high school were provided as students and teachers were greeted by the club members.
“This is to help prevent that awkward feeling of having to eat and sit with siblings because you can’t locate your friends yet. The high school can be a very big place,” Katie said.
KLOR and KPNC hosted an anti-bullying campaign through the summer, and area students spoke on the radio about bullying and what they felt could be done to help prevent it. Katie Nichols and Jared Kimble were both featured during this time.
As the year began, the F.O.R. club members worked diligently to make all the staff, both new and returning, feel welcome as they delivered an artificial rose and card with a special message to each staff member. Roses were also delivered to the Board of Education in both buildings.
With school in full swing, the F.O.R. Club wanted to do a “Pay it forward” project. Popcorn was provided free but … you had to give it away. Students were encouraged to give it to someone they did not know to help build relationships. Each bag had a special quote stapled to it and some of the bags even had a special candy surprise inside. Community members Pastor Matt Hanshaw and Brandy Gober came and helped with the popping of the popcorn and taking donations.
The movie, “To Save a Life” and popcorn was offered in the Howell Auditorium free of charge to the community and area schools. Churches were invited to attend to assist with any additional concerns attendees may have regarding the subject matter. Churches were also encouraged to share information about their youth programs. Tracts and other information regarding anti-drinking, anti-drugs, etc. were provided by the local Elks club.
Football homecoming was a huge success. The F.O.R. club was excited to be a part of this activity. Members passed out candy to the youth and gave artificial roses to the women watching the parade.
Throughout the year, the club stayed busy assisting with community events such as the Veterans’ Day parade, “Queen for a Day,” Santa’s Cause 2, Po-Hi Pride and the Okie Celebration at ConocoPhillips.
Leadership activities and parties were attended where club members heard from guest speakers Lori Evans of Pioneer Technology Center and Sgt. Osborne of the U.S. Army. The ability to do these projects was made possible by donations from community members, businesses, churches, National Guard, and our sponsor, the Construction Safety Alliance.
As the year closed, we were saddened to lose club members due to relocation and graduation, as well as faculty and community members that were club sponsors. Andrew Dressen, with CSA, left earlier in the year. He was very well informed with the purpose of Rachel’s Challenge and kept us in the loop with different activities and ideas. Chuck Bayha was our club principal and he retired this year. He was a great asset for the club and assisted in many of the endeavors the group took on. Judith Vanduzer, large group sponsor, and Leigh Tasker, small group sponsor, both will be missed. VanDuzer was very supportive at each and every group event. She was very helpful with her ideas. Student will miss Tasker and her creative ideas for the poster group.
As the 2017-18 school year starts anew, the F.O.R. club would like to welcome DaLana Hawkins as the club principal and Barbara Scherick as large group sponsor. Returning to the F.O.R. club are large group sponsor – Terri Calhoun, technology group sponsor – Mary James, Debbie Meyers – card group sponsor, and Debbie Shelton – bookmark and notes group.
From 4:30 to 6: 30 p.m. Aug. 8, the F.O.R. club would like to invite all freshmen and new students to the high school for freshmen orientation. Parents will meet with the principals in the Howell Auditorium on the second floor of the high school. Students will meet with the club members for a selfie scavenger hunt and then a meeting with principals and counselors.
Everyone is invited to attend meetings and join the F.O.R. club. If you have ideas or suggestions or would like to have more information about the group, go to the Ponca City High School website and click on the Rachel’s Challenge link.