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It wasn't all bad
May 19, 2019

Robert F. Smith gave a commencement speech on Sunday that won't ever be forgotten by Morehouse College's Class of 2019.

The billionaire founder of investment firm Vista Equity Partners announced that he is creating a grant that will cover the cost of every single student loan held by all 396 graduating seniors. "On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we're going to put a little fuel in your bus," he said.

The graduates erupted in cheers and gave Smith a standing ovation. Morehouse President David A. Thomas told CNN Smith's "liberation gift" will cover about $40 million worth of loans. "When you have to service debt, the choices about what you can go do in the world are constrained," he said, adding that Smith's generosity "gives them the liberty to follow their dreams, their passions." Smith encouraged the graduates to pay it forward, so other students can benefit and "have all the opportunities of the American dream."

After commencement, students — and their parents — were still in a daze. Graduate Elijah Nesly Dormeus is the first of nine siblings to graduate from college, and he told CNN that after his dad died when he was a kid, his mother sacrificed and worked hard to provide for her family. He has $90,000 in student loans, and his mother also took out a loan to help him. Smith's gift benefits both tremendously, and "all of her serving, all her giving was not in vain," Dormeus said. Catherine Garcia

May 17, 2019

When Savannah Allen's classmates at UC Blue Ash College in Ohio learned she might have to quit the dental hygienist program because she is color blind, they worked fast to make sure that didn't happen.

Allen, 22, says that what looks red and green to her is usually brown. This wasn't an issue until one day in class, when an instructor started watching her as she worked on a patient. The instructor asked Allen why she was missing so much plaque, pointing out different spots on the teeth. "I'm like, 'I can't see, I have no idea what you're talking about,'" Allen told WLWT.

Worried that this would end her career as a dental hygienist before it even started, Allen's classmates decided to surprise her with a pair of glasses that helps with color blindness. They raised $400, and while they talked about giving Allen the money to buy the glasses, "we thought it would be a great moment to share and watch her see color for the first time," friend Isabella Perrin said. When they presented Allen with the glasses, she gasped and began to cry as she clearly saw her friends for the first time. "You guys are so beautiful," she said.Catherine Garcia

May 16, 2019

Lucky the dog lived up to his name on Sunday.

As part of their Mother's Day festivities, Lucky's family in Bendigo, Australia, decided to take him on a walk. The father, who asked he remain anonymous, told The Bendigo Advertiser he walked right past a gold nugget, but one of his daughters accidentally kicked it, and after looking down and seeing the golden object, she quickly scooped it up.

The family went and had the nugget appraised, and learned it weighs 20 ounces and is worth more than $24,000 in U.S. dollars and $35,000 in Australian dollars. "We've come on some tough times so it's really good because we've been struggling financially," the dad said. "It couldn't be a better time really." The New Zealand Herald reports that of the 10 biggest gold nuggets ever discovered in the world, eight have been found in Australia. Catherine Garcia

May 15, 2019

During the last 12 miles of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Laura Mazur and Jessica Robertson forged a friendship.

At the marker for Mile 14, Mazur, who was running her 12th marathon, worried that she was going to come last in the May 5 race. She saw Robertson, who was running her first-ever marathon, a few steps behind, and decided they should run side by side, offering encouragement to one another along the way.

Robertson told NBC News she was feeling disappointed with her performance, but having Mazur next to her was enough to boost her confidence. The closer they got to the end, the more cheers they heard from spectators, and the runners crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. "It was so great that we got everything done and we were still together," Mazur told NBC News. "We finished what we started." Catherine Garcia

May 14, 2019

It took decades, but Pete Sabedra can now hold his own high school diploma.

Sabedra, 92, was in the eighth grade when his father died. In order to support his family, he dropped out of school and started working for the railroad. Soon after, he joined the military, serving in World War II. Following the war, he received his GED, but Sabedra's family thought now would be the perfect time for him to get his high school diploma.

Sabedra's grandson, Kace, is graduating this month from Derry Area High School in Derry, Pennsylvania, and the family arranged with the school for his grandfather to become an honorary member of the Class of 2019. They surprised the elder Sabedra with his diploma last week during an awards ceremony for seniors. "It means a lot," he told WTAE. Kace Sabedra said his grandfather "was there for me my whole life," and the fact they are both getting their diplomas this year is "pretty cool." Catherine Garcia

May 13, 2019

When his favorite restaurants didn't have menus written in Braille, Mason Fessenden decided to make them on his own.

Fessenden, 18, lives in Monrovia, California. The Temple City High School senior is blind, and he told ABC 7 Los Angeles that Braille menus give people who are visually impaired more independence. "Before the menus, I felt sort of like I wasn't included," he said. "I was excluded from what was on the menu. I heard my parents' voices."

Fessenden was inspired to create the menus as part of a school project, but he isn't going to stop once he graduates in June; in fact, he has launched a business called Clarity Menus and More, and plans on making menus while attending college. His mother, Martha Fessenden, said her son was born three months premature, and she was told he'd "never talk, walk, or read Braille. Now he's 18 years old and he's doing all the above and so much more." Catherine Garcia

May 9, 2019

Just two years after being reintroduced to Yosemite National Park, the red-legged frog is doing better than ever.

Mark Twain wrote about the frog in his short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. In the 1950s, non-native bullfrogs and a fungal disease wiped the frogs off the Yosemite map, and 50 years later, the park, the Yosemite Conservancy, and the San Francisco Zoo teamed up to bring the threatened species back.

Thousands of tadpoles and adult red-legged frogs were bred at the zoo, then released in Yosemite in 2017. This spring, scientists spotted the first signs of breeding in the park: tadpoles and clusters of eggs. "It's unusual to find eggs in any location, and to find them this soon is a strong indication that red-legged frogs are adapting successfully to the riparian areas where we reintroduced them," Yosemite Superintendent Mark Reynolds told USA Today. In June, 275 additional adult frogs will be released, including 75 with radio transmitters, so researchers can get a better understanding of their habits and behaviors. Catherine Garcia

May 8, 2019

Just one day after learning the Heimlich maneuver, third-grader Shailyn Ryan was able to use her new skill to save her best friend's life.

Ryan and Keira Silvia were eating lunch last week at Marguerite Peaslee Elementary School in Northboro, Massachusetts, when Silvia's face turned red. Ryan could tell Silvia was choking on the hot dog she had been eating, and quickly jumped up and started to give the Heimlich maneuver, just like she had been taught.

Thanks to her friend's quick thinking, Silvia was able to cough up the hot dog. Her mother, Noel, told CBS Boston she is "so thankful, there are no words." Ryan has been taking safety courses at the Northboro Recreation Center, and because of her training, "I wasn't nervous because I knew how to do it," she said. Catherine Garcia

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