Rachel's Closet grand reopening

April 3, 2024


      The Altoona Area High School Friends of Rachel club recently celebrated a grand reopening of Rachel’s Closet, an upcycling shop where students can come for clothing, school supplies and personal hygiene items, free of charge.


“People will never know how far a little kindness will go.”

-          Rachel Joy Scott



      Inspired by kindness, the club was named after Rachel Scott, the first student killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, 25 years ago.  Rachel believed she would make an impact on the world.  She not only wrote about kindness but she lived it.     

      Sophomore Madison Aboud spearheaded the revitalizing of the existing closet last school year and worked with fellow students and faculty to make it a reality.

      The student-led transformation of the closet was a collaborative project between club members and AAHS classes:

  •       Todd Bennett’s Engineering & Design – Created floor plan and designed display furniture
  •       Kathryn Curry’s Art in Public Places along with Artist in Residence Deb Bunnell– Created and painted the stunning mural of Rachel.
  •       Dave Borst’s Set Design – Built the jewelry displays and shoe racks
  •       Paige Matteson’s Daily Living Skills – Sort and wash clothing donations

      The mural, painted by students in the Art in Public Places is inspirational and includes a replication of a tracing of Rachel’s hands found on the back of her dresser, a portrait of Rachel, 13 doves representing the 12 students and one teacher who were killed, and excerpts from the diary she had written in that day.    

      After learning about the closet, the mural and the efforts of the Friends of Rachel Club, Darrell Scott, Rachel Scott’s father, students had a surprise tele-visit with Rachel’s father, Darrell Scott, who expressed his gratitude for the impact Altoona students are making and for using Rachel’s inspiration to continue her passion for spreading for spreading kindness.

      Students access the closet during designated periods throughout the school day.  High school students are encouraged to donate/upcycle items they no longer need to the closet.