GOODHUE, Minn. -- For Goodhue high school and middle school students, knowing about the tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999 can only be read about online or in their history books.
The shooting, which claimed the lives of 15, including the two shooters, can still be felt today with the United States facing 22 school shootings just this year.
One of the survivors was Craig Scott. He spoke at Goodhue Public Schools on Sept. 10, talking to a gym filled with teary-eyed students, faculty and visitors, about his experience, his sister’s death and how to translate pain into a purpose.
Rachel Joy Scott was outside the day of the shooting, killed by the gunmen while eating lunch with her friends.
Craig Scott was inside and said he heard the shots, but thought nothing of it, possibly just a senior prank. When a frantic teacher said gunmen were outside of the school, Scott got underneath the table with two friends. Sadly, those two friends were killed, but Scott remained.
Scott said he hated the gunmen, going as far to say that he imagined what he would do to the gunmen if he had the chance.
The speech didn’t focus on the tragedy of the shooting, rather Scott spoke about his sister’s legacy and how everyone can be more than average if they employ a vision.
“Some of you probably can’t relate to what I’ve been through with the school shooting, but all of us have pain,” Scott told the crowd. “And all of our battles are legitimate. My story is no more important than your story.”
Instead of taking lives, like the gunmen did, Scott wants to give life.
Taking a page from Scott’s sister, he told the Goodhue crowd to imagine a life they wanted. In Rachel’s journal, the notion of not wanting to live an average life can be found multiple times. This same journal was found with a bullet in the cover inside her backpack.
Starting a chain reaction of joy and support to others, that’s what her brother wants everyone to know.
“There’s such a thing as embracing your pain,” Scott said. “There’s such a thing as looking at your circumstances and the things that are hard in your life head on and seeing them in a different way. Seeing them as these are things that are going to make me better.”
Throughout his speech, Scott danced, played music and asked the crowd to hug or high five each other. In closing, he asked the crowd to acknowledge how valuable they are and to tell someone they love them.