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Father of Columbine school shooting victim to speak at Shreveport-Bossier Mayors Prayer Breakfast


By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

April 20, 1999 began as any day at Columbine High School in Littleton, Col., but just hours later, the school became the horrific scene of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, at that time. A dozen students and one teacher died at the hands of two teenage shooters. Rachel Joy Scott was the first victim.

After her death, many students reached out to the Scotts about the profound impact Rachel’s simple acts of kindness had on their lives. Her family soon realized the transformational effect of Rachel’s story and started the non-profit organization Rachel’s Challenge.

Rachel’s father, Darrell Scott, will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 Shreveport-Bossier Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast to be held at 7 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Shreveport Convention Center.

Scott is the President and Founder of Rachel’s Challenge and a former resident of Shreveport, graduating in 1967 from Woodlawn High School.

“It’s an opportunity for our cities to come together, pray to God, and give thanks for all our blessings we enjoy. The focus is on the prayer breakfast and having a community event that is meaningful,” said Ronald Smith, a founding board member of the Annual Shreveport-Bossier Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast.

Rachel’s vision to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion is the basis for the organization’s mission: Making schools safer, more connected places where bullying and violence are replaced with kindness and respect; and where learning and teaching are awakened to their fullest.

“This is a community event given by the community, for the community. To come together in a large congregation. I have always considered it to be a great honor to be a part of this. I think it helps. I think it makes a difference,” said Gil Shanley, treasurer and board member of the 37th Annual Shreveport-Bossier Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast.

Rachel’s Challenge has since reached over 28 million people, not counting the millions Darrell Scott has spoken to through national TV programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, CNN and the Today Show. He also consults regularly with politicians and educators concerning issues of school violence.

“To me there is a variety of people that have a common interest. And to me that is serving God. We are just coming together and serving god,” said Leroy Faith, board member of the Annual Shreveport-Bossier Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast.

The Shreveport/Bossier Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast is the local version of the National Prayer Breakfast held annually in Washington, D.C. The national event was inaugurated in 1952 by leadership groups in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as a time for spiritual re-dedication of the individual and nation. In keeping with these ideals, a committee of volunteers from Shreveport and Bossier organizes this annual breakfast.

A limited number of individual tickets are still available for $20, as well as corporate underwriters and table sponsors, by calling Coordinator Kay Holt at (318) 771-2900.

Scott will also be speaking at a free community event sponsored by Bossier Schools at Bossier Instructional Center on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.