Lawmakers rally for Nigerian student living illegally in U.S.
Victor Chukwueke spoke at his graduation from Wayne State University. He has been accepted to medical school.
December 26th, 2012
10:55 AM ET

Lawmakers rally for Nigerian student living illegally in U.S.

By Faith Karimi, CNN

(CNN) - His journey started in Nigeria, a taunted teenager with large tumors on his face, driven into deep despair.

Eleven years later, Victor Chukwueke has undergone numerous surgeries and is a step closer to achieving his dream of becoming a doctor.

In a rare act, the United States Congress passed a private bill last week granting Chukwueke permanent residency after years of his living in Michigan on an expired visa. The bill is awaiting President Barack Obama's signature.

The bill would allow the Wayne State University graduate to attend medical school at the University of Toledo in Ohio, which requires him to have permanent residency.

"The day Congress passed the bill was one of the happiest days of my life," said Chukwueke, who left Nigeria as a teen in 2001 to get treatment for the tumors.

Private bills - which only apply to one person and mostly focus on immigration - seldom pass. His is the only private bill to pass in Congress in two years.

"I was overwhelmed with joy; it was nothing less than a miracle," the 26-year-old said. "Only in this country can so many miraculous and wonderful things happen to someone like me."

270 students from 30 countries in 1 school

Before coming to the United States at age 15, Chukwueke lived in the southeastern Nigeria town of Ovim.

He suffers from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes massive life-threatening tumors on his face.

Treated as an outcast because of his deformed face, he was depressed and humiliated, he said. His family abandoned him at an orphanage.

Nuns from the Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy rescued him from the orphanage more than a decade ago and arranged for a Michigan doctor to perform surgery on him.

He says he considers himself lucky to have developed the tumors.

"Without them, I would not have met the nun, left Nigeria, arrived in the U.S. and had the miracle to attend medical school," he says.

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June 21st, 2012
04:45 PM ET

Middle schoolers bully bus monitor with profanity, jeers

Anderson Cooper interviews bus monitor Karen Klein about the verbal abuse she endured on tonight's AC360, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET

By Faith Karimi, CNN

(CNN) - A profanity-laced video of middle school students in upstate New York verbally abusing a bus monitor is sparking an outpouring of support as strangers worldwide rally to her side.

Students taunted Karen Klein, 68, with a stream of profanity, insults, jeers and physical ridicule. Some boys demand to know her address, saying they want to come to her house to perform sexual acts and steal from her. Another said, "you're so fat."

One comment from a boy aboard the bus was especially painful. He told her that she does not have family because "they all killed themselves because they didn't want to be near you." Klein's oldest son took his own life 10 years ago, according to CNN affiliate WHAM.

The bullying continues unabated for about 10 minutes in the video, reducing Klein to tears as a giggling student jabs her arm with a book. Recorded by a student Monday with a cell phone camera, the brazen example of bullying went viral and spurred international outrage.

The incident occurred in Greece, New York, near Rochester. Klein is a bus monitor for the Greece Central School District and the harassers hail from the Greece Athena Middle School, media reports said.

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Tell us in the comments: We hear often about kids bullying kids, but have you witnessed or experienced kids bullying an adult at school, on the playground, on the bus or on field trips?

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Filed under: Bullying • Issues
May 30th, 2012
10:40 AM ET

Girl, 6, is youngest competitor in National Spelling Bee history

By Faith Karimi, CNN

(CNN) – When Lori Anne Madison, 6, takes the stage Wednesday, she will be stepping into history as the youngest person to compete in the National Spelling Bee.

The second-grader joins 277 other contestants, marking a milestone as the youngest competitor in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, according to the event's record books dating to 1993.

Since 1993, there have been four spellers who were 8 years old, said Mike Hickerson, the bee's communications manager.

Lori Anne beat out 21 kids in the regional bee in Prince William County in Virginia, earning a spot in the national bee.

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