The week's good news: Nov. 10, 2022
It wasn't all bad!
'America's Top Young Scientist' creates headphones to treat ear infections
Leanne Fan has always been an inventor, starting in the first grade when she made contraptions out of toothpicks and marshmallows. Now 14, the San Diego resident has stepped up her game with the Finsen Headphones, which aim to use blue light therapy to detect and treat mid-ear infections without the use of antibiotics. Worldwide, there are 700 million cases of mid-ear infections every year, and nearly 21,000 deaths. Fan started working on the Finsen Headphones three years ago, and entered them in the 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge. In October, she took home the top prize, earning the title of America's Top Young Scientist and $25,000. She hopes to inspire other young women who want to go into STEM or become inventors. "Even a small idea you can move it really far," Fan told The Week. "I had an idea to use blue light to kill bacteria and three years later, I'm here."
Explorer's curiosity about the world takes him to more than 50 countries
J.R. Harris' love of traveling is just as strong now as it was when he started going on epic treks more than 50 years ago. "I'm curious about everything," the 78-year-old told CNN Travel. "And if you throw in a slice of adventure, it's just a question of how long it will be before I put some stuff in a pack and go there." He discovered his love for the outdoors while at Boy Scout camp, and still enjoys going on long hikes and visiting remote areas, especially where he can meet members of Indigenous groups. Harris has been to more than 50 countries and goes on at least one long trek every year. "I think the more you travel, the more you realize that you haven't been everywhere," he said. "There are always other places that you can go. And for me, that's good news."
12-year-old artist raises $15,000 for charity by selling his work
It all started with a watercolor set. That's what Arsh Pal's parents gave their son on his eighth birthday four years ago. He created dozens of pieces of art, and gave them away to family and friends. Pal was also spending a lot of time visiting the nursing home where his mom works, and that's where he got the idea to start selling his paintings, with all proceeds going to charity. "Just by talking to the residents and the people there, it just made them smile and that really made me smile at the same time," the Iowa resident told The Washington Post. His goal was to raise $1,000, but over the last four years, he's made more than $15,000. In 2018, he gave his first $1,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and since then has made hefty donations to Easterseals, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and other children's charities.
Homecoming king surprises friend by giving him his crown
Just moments after James Verpaele was crowned homecoming king at Merritt Island High School in Florida, he lifted off his crown and gave it to someone he thought was more deserving: his friend, Parks Finney. Finney, who is developmentally disabled, is the manager of the softball and track and field teams at the school. "Parks comes to all the games and most practices and cheers us on," Verpaele, a varsity football player, told Today. Before their homecoming game last month, Verpaele and the other nominees for king agreed the winner would give Finney the crown and sash because "he's a friend to all of us," Verpaele said. "We all love him." Finney's mom, Amy, said. "They've accepted him from the beginning. It's a testament to the culture at our school, but also shows how kind teenagers can be."
Marching band director ensures trumpeter's dream comes true
Casey Hubbard started playing the trumpet in the 7th grade, with one goal in mind: to play in the Southmoore High School marching band. The Moore, Oklahoma, resident was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, so during his freshman year he wasn't sure how he'd be able to play and move around the field with the rest of the band. Enter Adam Mewhorter, director of bands at Southmoore High. He remembered watching a video of a dad pushing his son around a football field as he performed, "and that stuck with me for many years," Mewhorter told Good Morning America. Mewhorter talked with Hubbard about his dream of being on the field and "he made it happen." It was important to Mewhorter that Hubbard, now a junior, get the full marching band experience, and he has spent the last three years pushing him during performances. It's been an "awesome" experience, Mewhorter said.