It wasn't all bad...

The week's good news: March 19, 2020

Catherine Garcia
A llama.
susanna cesareo/iStock

1.

Student donates his bonus test points to classmate with lowest score

This was a request that Winston Lee had never heard before in his 12 years of teaching. Lee is a history teacher at Letcher County Central High School in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Last month, scrawled on the bottom of a test about World War II, was a note from one of his top students asking, "If you could, can you give my bonus points to whoever scores the lowest?" 

The student had earned five bonus points by participating in an exam review. He received a 94 percent on the test, and instead of bumping him up to an A+, Lee gave those points to a classmate who needed them to pass. Not all students are "great test takers or in a comfortable situation at home that allows them to focus on studying," Lee told Good Morning America. "I feel really great that it helped this student from 58 points to passing." [Good Morning America]

2.

Brother keeps his teenage promise to bring a llama to his sister's wedding

Mendl Weinstock's plus-one at his sister's wedding got people talking. Five years ago, when Mendl and his sister, Riva Weinstock, were on a family road trip, Riva, then 17, annoyed her little brother by "talking about her wedding as if she was planning on having it the next day," Mendl told Today. Wanting to push her buttons, Mendl said the only way he'd attend her future wedding was if he brought a llama along. Riva told him to go ahead, and "ever since that day and those words, I have vowed that when she got married I would bring a llama to the wedding," Mendl said. When Riva tied the knot this winter, Mendl stuck to his word, arriving with a llama named Shocky. Riva was amused but said Shocky, who was wearing a tuxedo, had to stay outside. He was a hit, greeting guests who stopped to take photos with the sharply dressed llama. [Today]

3.

Dallas cafe hires foster youth after they age out of the system

Ciara Morton became a foster kid after suffering abuse at home, and when she turned 18 and aged out of Texas' foster care system, she didn't have anywhere to go. She found hope at La La Land Kind Cafe in Dallas. "We're not in the business of coffee — we're definitely in the business of kindness," owner Francois Reihani told CBS News. Reihani founded La La Land after learning about the struggles that foster kids go through when they age out of the system, which often includes homelessness. He opened the cafe with the goal of hiring former foster kids and teaching them skills to help them now and in the future. So far, Reihani has hired nine former foster youth. Morton said La La Land provides a "support system," and "that gives me ambition. It lets me work at my goals and believe in myself." [CBS News]

4.

High school journalism students work with local newspaper to keep community informed

If it's happening in their neighborhood, the journalism students at North High School in Minneapolis are on top of it. They cover everything from school sports to cultural events, and write about tough issues, putting a spotlight on underreported stories like lead poisoning in the community. "Anytime we go to an event, our students really shine," teacher Samuel Wilbur told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "They stand up and ask truthful, hard-hitting questions that others aren't asking." Many of their articles are published in the North News, a local newspaper edited by Kenzie O'Keefe. She teaches the class with Wilbur, and said in addition to journalism, the students learn how to be leaders. "My dream is that a student would come up through our program, go to college, have a ton of life experience, and want to come back and lead this paper," she said. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

5.

Girl Scout sets up libraries at hospitals so parents can read to their premature babies

Born at just 27 weeks, Anoushka Talwar spent her first three months of life in a neonatal intensive care unit, but she wasn't alone. Talwar's father sat next to her incubator every day, and while he couldn't hold his daughter, he could form a bond by talking to her and reading stories. Now 14, Talwar wanted to assist families going through similar situations, and for her Girl Scout service project, collected books to start NICU libraries. "I wanted to help other parents connect with their premature babies," she told CNN. The Georgia resident collected 450 books from friends and neighbors, and after partnering with the March of Dimes, set up mini-libraries at two hospitals: Scottish Rite Hospital of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Johns Creek Hospital. Hardcover books are for the NICUs, and paperback books are given to families as a keepsake once they are able to take their babies home. [CNN]