NewsColumbine: 25 Years Later


'Something God-powered about her story': Rachel Scott's diaries have lasting legacy 25 years post-Columbine

Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, sat down with Denver7 nearly 25 years after her death
Rachel Scott
Posted at 11:16 AM, Apr 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-19 22:07:38-04

DENVER — "Look hard enough and you will always find a light" — that is a quote from the diary of Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim killed in the Columbine High School massacre 25 years ago.

Scott was 17 years old at the time, but her father, Darrell Scott, described her as an "old soul."

He recalled he had been at a shopping mall the moment he heard about the shooting.

“I rushed out of my car and turned on the radio and headed toward the school,” he said. “I was just stunned because the announcer was crying and said up to 30 students had been shot, many of them had been killed. Immediately in my mind I come to think, 'I have two children there.'"

Scott's son, Craig, was also a student at Columbine at the time.

After Rachel’s death, her loved ones discovered that she left six diaries behind, leaving a legacy of kindness and compassion. Scott realized his daughter's story could help impact other people’s lives.

"On the cover she said, 'I write, not for the sake of glory, not for the sake of fame, not for the sake of success but for the sake of her soul.' She really poured her thoughts into what she wrote," he said.

The diaries would spur the creation of Rachel's Challenge, a school violence prevention program which started shortly after her death.

"There’s something God-powered about her story that touches people at a very deep level and brings life changes," Scott said.
The program focuses on creating positive connections and leading students on a path to end school violence, bullying, self-harm and suicide.

Remembering Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim killed in the Columbine High School shooting

“Rachel Scott left her family with six diaries, in which she talked a lot about how she wanted to treat other people, and how she believed that kindness could change the world,” said Kristi Krings, CEO of Rachel's Challenge. “What Rachel's Challenge does is needed now more than ever.”

Scott said they have reached more than 31 million young people in live settings around the world.

“Our approach is entirely positive. So while we're a very effective anti-bullying, anti-school shooting, anti-youth suicide program, we're pro-kindness, compassion, respect, helping others reaching out. And that is approach," Krings said.

Rachel’s father told Denver7 part of what makes her story powerful is that she had what he called "powerful premonitions."

“When she was 13, she had drawn a picture of her hands on the back of a dresser and she said, 'These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of peoples hearts.' There were two premonitions she had. One, that her life was gonna touch the lives of millions. The other was the dark side, that she was going to die at a young age."

As we mark 25 years since the tragedy at Columbine, Denver7 is telling stories of the families impacted, preserving the memory of the lives lost, and sharing the lasting legacy of service and kindness fostered over the last quarter-century.