The week's good news: May 12, 2022
A third-grade class in Arizona was surprised with full scholarships to college
Ten years ago, 84 third grade students at Michael Anderson School in Avondale, Arizona, were surprised with the gift of opportunity. In 2012, The Rosztoczy Foundation, a family foundation, launched its College Promise program, and announced they would be giving the students full-ride college scholarships once they graduated from high school. Erika Valadez was one of those students, and told The Washington Post that knowing she had a scholarship and wouldn't graduate with debt "was so motivating. It made everything more real. It changed the course of my life." She just finished her freshman year at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, where she is studying criminal justice and forensic science. The Rosztoczy Foundation decided to repeat their generosity with a new generation, and during an assembly last month, 63 third-graders at Bernard Black Elementary School in Phoenix learned they would receive full scholarships to college. "There wasn't a dry eye in the house," Roosevelt School District Superintendent Quintin Boyce told the Post. "It was a really precious moment."
Nepali mountaineer breaks his own world record on Mount Everest
Kami Rita Sherpa makes climbing Mount Everest look easy — as of Saturday, it's something the 52-year-old Nepali mountaineer has done 26 times. He first set the record for most Mount Everest summits in May 2018 — 22 — and broke that record twice in 2019, NPR reports. The 2020 climbing season was canceled because of COVID-19, and in May 2021, Kami Rita was back at it, summiting the world's tallest peak for the 25th time. Kami Rita's father, Mingma Tshering Sherpa, was one of the first professional guides to help international climbers summit Mount Everest. As a young teenager, Kami Rita began working as a porter, bringing gear up to Everest's base camp, and his first successful climb was in 1994, he told Guinness World Records.
The 'Happy Flower Lady' brightens people's days with her bouquets
Patricia Gallagher almost always has a bouquet in her hands and a smile on her face. She's known as the "Happy Flower Lady" around her neighborhood near Philadelphia — since 2013, Gallagher has been going to grocery stores, event spaces, and funeral homes to collect bouquets and flower arrangements that are about to be discarded. She then passes them out to strangers, hoping to lift their spirits. Gallagher drives around to make her deliveries, often with her 91-year-old neighbor Ella in the passenger seat. Gallagher told CBS News they'll pull over and introduce themselves to people, and ask if they'd like a bouquet. She always asks if they'd like to take an extra one as well, to pass along to a friend or relative, and nearly every person accepts her offer. Gallagher said she enjoys spreading joy to others, and lives by the motto, "Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, whenever you can, while you can, for whoever you can."
Nora's Home gives transplant patients and their families space to heal
At Nora's Home in Houston, transplant patients and their families are given the chance to form friendships, make memories, and heal. Nora's Home is named in honor of Nora Gaber, who was just seven years old when she died in a car accident. To ensure her legacy lived on, her parents donated her organs and came up with the idea for Nora's Home, a place for transplant patients and their loved ones to stay while they received medical treatment. "This is my home away from home," Bobby Channell told KHOU 11. Channell underwent a heart transplant on Jan. 13, and he became friends with Faith Crouch when she moved into the room across from his after going through a lung transplant. Now, the pair are dating. Being at Nora's Home "kind of helped my soul heal while I was staying here," Crouch said. Natalie Lencioni, executive director of Nora's Home, told KHOU 11 she believes "the real gift that Nora's Home provides is that sense of community that you can only see and understand once you're inside our walls."
Twin brothers are valedictorian and salutatorian at their Texas high school
When it comes to academics, Arman Saxena and Ronak Saxena bring out the best in each other. The 17-year-olds are fraternal twin brothers, and when they graduate from Katy High School in Katy, Texas, later this month, Arman will be valedictorian and Ronak salutatorian. It was a close race, with Ronak just half a point shy of being named valedictorian. There are no hard feelings, though; the brothers say they have a friendly rivalry over who can get the best grades. "If he got an A on a test, I'd be like, 'Oh, I need to get this A as well,'" Ronak told KPRC 2. Their parents, Sara and Rohit Saxena, said it was important that from a young age their sons focused on academics as well as sports, and now they both compete in math and chess tournaments and are on the golf team. This fall, the brothers will head to Rice University, where Arman plans to study statistics and business and Ronak will focus on bioengineering.