November 12th, 2012
04:07 PM ET

Teen with cerebral palsy crowned homecoming king

(CNN) - A senior with a big smile is wearing an even bigger smile after this weekend’s Homecoming at St. Lucie West Centennial High School in Port St.Lucie, Florida.

Hakam Daley has not had it easy.  He has cerebral palsy and has been in and out of foster homes most of his life.  But he has many friends at school who nominated him for homecoming king.

“When I heard the message, I had no words to describe,” Daley said.  “I was so happy.”

Kayla Donohue, a cheerleader and friend of Daley’s, secretly got the other seniors to nominate him for the court.  Donohue said it was important to give Daley this “special experience that he’d remember the rest of his life.”

On Friday night, Daley lined up with other kids on the court, football stars and other popular students to hear who would be chosen king.

As they called his name, Daley did something he had never done before: With the help of caregivers, he walked in public.

When they announced that he was chosen king, Daley’s smile beamed brighter than ever.

Surrounded by teary-eyed students and flashing cameras, the kid with the big smile became the most popular guy in school. (WPBF video)

 

October 26th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

College coach bans player tweets

(CNN) Like many sports fans, Maggie Stephens uses social media to stay informed about her favorite teams.

But she won’t be following Washington State University football players on Twitter anymore.  That’s because the team’s head coach has imposed a ban on Twitter for his players.

Coach Mike Leach issued the ban after some players allegedly posted vulgar tweets.  Some were reportedly derogatory toward women and African-Americans.

Violators can be suspended.

WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos supports the decision.  “We are at a point now where we need 100% focus.  We don’t need distractions,” Moos told CNN affiliate KREM.
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Fifth-grader scores big with idea for pink penalty flags
This is the letter that 11-year-old Dante Cano wrote to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asking that the league use pink penalty flags in support of breast cancer awareness.
October 25th, 2012
01:38 PM ET

Fifth-grader scores big with idea for pink penalty flags

by Stephanie Gallman, CNN

(CNN) - If your screen looks a little girly on Sunday during the Miami Dolphins-New York Jets game, do not adjust your television.

Referees will be using pink penalty flags at MetLife Stadium during the final weekend of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Dante Cano, the fifth-grader from Marlboro, New Jersey, came up with the idea - and he went straight to the top.

In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Cano wrote, "My name is Dante Cano. I am 11 years old and I am from Marlboro, New Jersey. I wanted to know if you could use my idea of pink penalty flags in October for breast cancer awareness."

He signed it, "Please write back."

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October 18th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

Referee throws penalty flag on middle school band

A referee who wanted silence throws a flag on a middle school marching band, but school officials declare him 'out of bounds'. (WFAA video)

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October 11th, 2012
02:03 PM ET

This 'Mousetrap' can crush a car - and teach physics

by Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

Dearborn, Michigan (CNN) - If the crooked blue staircase, colorful crank and dangling bathtub looked familiar, well, that's the point.

"Who wants to play 'The Life Size Mousetrap' - and sign a waiver?" a big top voice boomed across the Maker Faire at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, this summer.

Ahh, yes. At this annual celebration of DIY culture, of course this would appear: a scaled-up version of "Mouse Trap," the Hasbro game bent on marbles zigging through a plastic labyrinth. And the circus voice? That would be Mark Perez, creator of the larger-than-life board game. Almost every run begins with a boardwalk-style sales pitch of his grand machine.

"Are there any engineers in the house?" a voice bellowed over the sound system, drawing a few claps.

"Who likes to do math in here?" it demanded, drawing ... nothing.

"Let's not have this weak applause for math! MATH!"

Perez played "Mouse Trap" a lot as a kid - kind of. Nobody followed the rules, he said. They just liked to build the machine and make it work. In his house, they built and rebuilt the contraption so often, they'd get a new version of the game every couple years.

"I decided one day to put three of them together to see if I could make them all work and hopefully not poke my sister's eye out," he said.

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September 19th, 2012
04:17 PM ET

School district bans father-daughter, mother-son events

By Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) - The Cranston, Rhode Island, school district banned father-daughter dances and other similar parent-child events after a parent complained to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The parent said her daughter felt left out of a father-daughter dance because she does not have a father or a father figure in her life.

Cranston's superintendent responded by banning parent-child activities, including father-daughter and mother-son events.

Superintendent Judith Lundsten said, “I truly believe that no one intended to hurt anyone’s feelings with this, that they wanted to be inclusive, but they also liked these traditional-type activities.”

In an interview with CNN affiliate WPRI , Lundsten acknowledged that finding that balance might be “tricky.”

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September 13th, 2012
02:06 PM ET

For high school athletes, strike could put scholarships on the line

By Chris Welch, CNN

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) -  Dante Culbreath is head football coach at Simeon Career Academy on Chicago’s south side. It’s safe to say the football program here is a powerhouse - they’ve won six city titles in the state public school division.

Many of the team's seniors are scouted by some of the biggest-name colleges and universities, and this year should be no different.

However, as the Chicago teachers strike continues, the threat that many of this year’s top athletes will miss some crucial games is a real one.

"Simeon is known for getting kids in Division I programs," Culbreath said. "It'll be pretty bad if our guys can't get out and play football, because a lot is riding on them being able to play football."

The junior varsity football team at Simeon is already missing out. Their first game was set for Monday, the first day of the strike.

"It's already serious because every time we step on the football field it's an interview for us. No matter what level it is. I have young men being offered scholarships as sophomores."

One of Culbreath’s standouts this year is offensive lineman Kendall Moore. Moore says he’s been offered a few scholarships already, but being able to play all his games this season could mean more opportunities and more options.

"It’s very important because after college I want to start my career," Moore said.

He and his mother, Khem Davis, said that without a scholarship, college would be out of reach.

"It is a must-have. Otherwise it would be impossible for us to afford for him to go to a college that’s worthy," Davis said. FULL POST

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September 6th, 2012
06:11 PM ET

Test your knowledge: Summer wrap quiz 2012

(CNN Student News) - How much do you know about the news that happened this past summer? Take this CNN Student News 2012 summer wrap quiz and find out!

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'Brooklyn Castle' students seek solutions 'for every problem on the chessboard'
Justus Williams, left, is the youngest-ever African-American chess master, and is featured in the film "Brooklyn Castle."
July 19th, 2012
02:10 PM ET

'Brooklyn Castle' students seek solutions 'for every problem on the chessboard'

By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) – Brooklyn's I.S. 318 chess team was the best, always ranked among the top in the game. Some of its young members were just looking for something to keep busy, but a few expected it would help them pay for college or reach chess master status early in their teens.

Katie Dellamaggiore was about to shoot a documentary about the inner city school's unlikely success when she heard from the principal.

“‘Katie, I have some bad news,’” she remembered assistant principal and chess coach John Galvin said. “‘The school got hit - we got hit with some really bad budget cuts. I don’t know if you can make your movie anymore. I don’t know if we’re going to nationals or any of that.’”

“'Are you serious? How is this possible? You guys are the best, how can you not have the money?'" Dellamaggiore said.

“We have no choice but to make this movie. This is the movie now.”

And make it they did: “Brooklyn Castle” will be released in theaters October 19, Producers Distribution Agency announced Thursday. The distribution initiative previously released three other films, including the Academy Award-nominated documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop." Theatrical release is a major feat for an independent documentary, but the film has already built buzz at festivals, including SXSW, where it won an audience award and was acquired for remake by Sony Pictures and Scott Rudin, and at the Newport Beach Film Festival, where it shared an audience award and at the Brooklyn Film Festival, where Dellamaggiore won the award for best new director.

The film follows the school's chess coaches, team members and some of its recent alumni as they face the complications of modern tweenhood, from attention deficit disorder, to school elections, to scholarship competition, to parents who work long hours, to parents who aren’t there at all.  Some try to win as individuals, some just want what's best for the team and some are trying to spare the program from budget cuts. Of course, this is chess – the sport of solving problems.

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The woman who stood up to Joe Paterno
Vicky Triponey, former head of student affairs at Penn State, is photographed on Friday, July 13, at The College of New Jersey, where she's now interim director of student affairs.
July 16th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

The woman who stood up to Joe Paterno

by Ann O'Neill, CNN

(CNN) - Vicky Triponey knows all too well the power Penn State's late football coach, Joe Paterno, held for more than half a century over the insular slice of central Pennsylvania that calls itself Happy Valley.

She experienced firsthand the clubby, jock-snapping culture, the sense of entitlement, the cloistered existence. It's what drove her five years ago from her job as the vice president who oversaw student discipline.

She was told she was too aggressive, too confrontational, that she wasn't fitting in with "the Penn State way."

She clashed often with Paterno over who should discipline football players when they got into trouble. The conflict with such an iconic figure made her very unpopular around campus. For a while, it cost Triponey her peace of mind and her good name. It almost ended her 30-year academic career.

Another person might have felt vindicated, smug or self-righteous when former FBI Director Louis Freeh delivered the scathing report on his eight-month investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. But Triponey sensed only a deep sadness.

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