Twice-Told Tale

The Student News Site of Lake Highland Preparatory School

Twice-Told Tale

Twice-Told Tale

Columbine Survivor Speaks Frankly

Minaal Arain
(Above) “If you could remember just one thing, remember this built in value you’re created with.” – Craig Scott

As students file into the Harriet Coleman Center for the Arts, whispers of who our next guest speaker is linger in the air. “I heard he survived a shooting,” the girl next to me says to her friend. “…But I don’t think his sister did,” the friend responds. Their conversation is cut short by the speaker himself doling out fistbumps and high fives to them along with other students standing in line. He wears a gray hoodie and has the gelled back hair of a middle school boy who just discovered Niall Horan. If I hadn’t already done the math for his age before the assembly, I would have been analyzing the juxtaposition of his crow’s feet and juvenile attire. The anxious whispers cease with the week’s announcements, and Lake Highland’s Upper School students are finally introduced to Mr. Craig Scott. This would not be like the lighthearted assembly we had last. 

Craig Scott survived the Columbine shooting in 1999, the first ever school shooting with guns, and watched his classmates get slaughtered next to him. His older sister, Rachel, was later reported dead as well. The guy has been through a lot, to say the least. Now, he works as a motivational speaker and has presented to over 1 million people since 2001. Lake Highland saw Scott 15 years ago, hot off the shooting with an oratory prowess that can only be attributed to the fiery angst that accompanies grief, trauma, and a life that ended too short. 

Craig Scott began his presentation with a joke about, “Telling our parents that we saw a white boy dance” and bounced around the stage, as we were left grappling with the fact that this bubbly man before us had been through a traumatic experience for the ages. Also, we never did see him dance so, Craig, I could only tell my parents about your hypothetical jig. To foray into the contents of the assembly, Scott showed a video detailing the Columbine shooting considering none of us were alive then. There’s no way to sugarcoat or censor something that horrific; we were left sickened by the video and appalled that school shootings have become the new normal. But to quote Sylvia Plath, “Out of ash I rise,” and Craig Scott proved exactly that. “I’m not here today to depress you,” Scott said within 10 minutes of his presentation, “I’m here to see through tragedy and see hope.” 

Scott preached of a “built-in value” which was heavily reinforced by constant thumps of his hand on his heart in an, “I do declare” fashion. This value gives almost a physical weight to our existence, but can only be manifested in the actions we do. He encouraged us to not wait for the perfect time. The time to change the world is now, so go out there, and tell that person you love them! Say hello to strangers! Spread kindness like a virus, and when we inevitably feel like the world is crashing down, remember this inherent value. I have to hand it to Scott. What I thought would be a soul-crushingly depressive, yet simultaneously corny “you matter” tangent, turned into something a lot more positive. 

This positivity was soon crushed by Craig Scott’s personal account of Columbine. Scott was in the main library of the school where most of the deaths occurred. He detailed his friend Isaiah’s last moments, noting that his last words were, “I want to see my mom” before getting murdered. What a sucker punch to the heart! This star football player on the brink of death saying something so meager and moving. It was also at this point in the program that a dramatic tear streamed down my face. Crazily enough, I am not made of stone. I only identify as half-jaded. 

The most powerful thing about Craig Scott’s speech was that we were forced to put ourselves in that scenario. I looked around the room at pretty much everyone I’ve ever known. These amazing, talented people, full of life, longing for the future, and, boom, they could all be gone in a minute. I looked towards myself. What would I do? Would I save a girl like Scott did? Would I hide in a corner? Would I survive? Craig Scott’s survival served as a reminder of the strength of the human heart. Here’s this man who has gone through the unimaginable. He is wounded and continues to bleed out. He will go through life carrying a horrific trauma. But he is alive, and so am I. 

(Above) In my interview with Craig Scott after the presentation he spoke upon the pain that accompanies constantly sharing his story noting, “Now when I’m speaking and sharing, I get in touch. I’m not my story. You are much more than just that story. We have a purpose and identity. I have to really almost then doing whatever is next and be in that moment and not rehash that story.” (Minaal Arain)
(Above) Craig Scott left us with two big challenges. The first challenge was to get our value from places outside social media. This is when he told us to take out our phones just for scrutinizing. The second challenge was to not live a mediocre life to which Craig Scott reinforced the innate value we have. He noted that all of us could change the world with just a small act of kindness. (Minaal Arain)
(Above) In the years after the Columbine shooting, Craig Scott’s father, Darrell Scott and Craig’s step-mother, Sandy, began Rachel’s Challenge. Rachel’s Challenge is a non-profit organization based upon what Rachel Scott wrote in her essay about the moral code she lived by. Now, Rachel’s Challenge has expanded to Friends of Rachel’s clubs at schools nationwide including Lake Highland. (Minaal Arain)
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About the Contributors
Delaney Bolstein
Delaney Bolstein, Editor-in-Chief
Delaney Bolstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale. She is a Senior at Lake Highland and has been at the school since Pre-K. Delaney has also been a member of the cross-country and track team since Sophomore year. Additionally, Delaney volunteers at the Winter Park Public Library. In her free time, Delaney can be found watching Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous and translating French novels.
Minaal Arain
Minaal Arain, Co-Editor
Minaal Arain started writing for Lake Highland Preparatory School’s newspaper, Twice-Told Tale her Junior year of high school and now is the Co-Editor of the publication, as well as the Director of Photography of the school's literary magazine, By Any Other Name. Aside from writing on various subjects, she enjoys working on her photography, listening to music, reading, and spending time outdoors. Some of her favorite activities include football, swimming, and weight training. Minaal's favorite moments are with her friends and family. In the future, she wants to go into photojournalism and law, continuing to express her passion for photography and revealing the truth.  

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