Dr. KC Somers, principal of Columbine High School, inherited a challenge that many other principals will never know.
He leads a school that is intimately acquainted with some of the most terrible acts of violence the world can offer, and the tsunami of grief that followed close behind.
On April 20th, 1999, two students entered Columbine and gunned down their classmates and teachers before finally turning the guns on themselves. With fifteen total lives lost, it was a day that left massive scars on the hearts of students, families, community members, and the country as a whole.
But even with the weight of Columbine’s tragic past, Principal Somers still knows the profound hope and mission that were born out of that horrific day—the hope and mission of the gospel of Jesus Christ that could have transformed those teenage shooters’ lives.
Tragedy Turned Into Fuel for THE Cause
The Columbine shooting served as fuel for what a fledgling Dare 2 Share Ministries was already trying to accomplish in 1999—helping every teenager in every middle school and high school hear the gospel from a friend.
Now, almost 20 years later, students who attend Dare 2 Share’s Lead THE Cause (LTC) evangelism training event in Denver get to walk the halls of Columbine High School while worshipping God and praying for their own friends who need Jesus.
It’s a moving experience to hear the same halls that once echoed with the sounds of gunshots now echo with over 300 voices singing praises to God—a battle cry of bringing the gospel into even the darkest of circumstances.
“What I think your group is doing such a great job at is bringing kids closer to the Word and to the True Light, and then bringing that to the world,” said Principal Somers. “I’m in awe and admiration of what you guys are doing. It’s powerful.”
Somers, a believer, is passionate about his students knowing that they’re loved and that they belong—a message best communicated through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But as a public school official with limitations on how freely he can speak about his beliefs, he urges students to be the ones at the forefront of reaching other teenagers with the love of Jesus.
“God has put them in a position of influence to reach people in their school…”
“What I would say to students is that they have a power to witness that I don’t even have,” he explained.
“God has put them in a position of influence to reach people in their school, and I just want them to know that the opportunities are there, they just have to take them.”
A Call to Action from Columbine
As hundreds of LTC students solemnly walked through the hallways and the nearby memorial, one student named Hunter said, “It was strange seeing how normal the high school looked. It really makes you think, ‘Wow, this could be my high school.’
“And then to think that one person could have changed the outcome of that by discipling others.”
Principal Somers wants students to use their visit to Columbine as a wake-up call for how serious not sharing the gospel with others can be.
“This impactful experience of coming back to sacred ground serves as a reminder and a call to action,” he said.
“Instead of just watching them walk by, I want to really look at them and say ‘They might not know God, and I should probably tell them.’”
As for how the Columbine Experience has shaped the way students are thinking of moving forward, Hunter thoughtfully shared, “I want to take home a different perspective of people. Instead of just watching them walk by, I want to really look at them and say ‘They might not know God, and I should probably tell them.’”
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