POSTS WITH TAG: inspiring teens

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    Sarah Atwell is a 17-year-old Canadian who suffers from a rare condition called neurofibromatosis. She developed the incurable disease when she was eight months old and has since dealt with headaches, blurred vision, and changes in her appearance, which include the development of a large tumor on one side of her face. Despite having to endure six surgeries, her most painful experience has been coping with the constant bullying that has persisted throughout her childhood and adolescence because of her facial deformity. But this brave girl found a way to take back her life from the heartless bullies who have tormented her.

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    Various covers of Katy Perry's "Roar" have given the pop hit different meanings, but one in particular had us in tears. Terminally ill 16-year-old Olivia Wise recorded a version of the track in September, which went viral over the next couple of months. Heartbreakingly, the spirited girl, who wouldn't let an inoperable brain tumor hold her down, passed away yesterday.

    "She died peacefully in her home surrounded by the extraordinary love of her family," a family statement sent to CNN said. Her mother went on to say in a letter that Olivia didn't want people crying at her funeral, but that they should celebrate her life. So, so sad. But also, how fitting.

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    If you haven't already heard the name Ethan Young, get ready. The Tennessee high school student will soon be a household name thanks in no small part to a speech that's gone viral. In just five minutes, the high school senior systematically takes apart the Common Core education initiative, which is so controversial that thousands of parents kept their kids home from school today to protest it.

    Whether you agree with his argument or not, it's nice to see a teenager taking a stand. But Young isn't just well-spoken. He's well-researched.

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    There seem to be a few people at Richardson High School in Texas who didn't do their homework this week. "Motivational speaker" Justin Lookadoo clearly didn't get the memo about this one well-known fact: if you mess with teen girls, they're going to find a way to make you pay. And perhaps if the school's PTA had studied faith-based Lookadoo's website before inviting him to deliver what was supposed to be a "thought-provoking" lecture on teen dating, they would have learned that the guy thinks it's totally acceptable to preach to young girls that in order to be "dateable," they really need to shut their traps more often and stop having thoughts complaining. 

    But don't worry, the girls -- and boys -- at the school made sure to give him hell afterward. And their response will make you proud. 

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    You can't miss Keith Orr walking through the halls of Olivet Middle School. No, he's not one of the jocks or the popular kids -- he's a special needs student with behavioral and learning disabilities who just loves to hug everyone. Orr got the thrill of his life recently when the players on the middle school football team went above and beyond for their classmate. In a secret plan, made behind the coaches' backs, the students staged an opportunity for Orr to score his first touchdown. A touchdown, a moment, that he'll never ever forget.

    A moment that the other middle school football players will never forget, either. Watch Keith Orr and the Olivet Middle School football team's inspiring story, here:

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    Warning: You may shortly need to go grab that box of tissues from the other room. We cried last October after watching Katy Perry's emotional performance with Jodi DiPiazza, a young girl living with autism, from Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars." Now, Katy Perry's music has inspired another beautiful young girl, 16-year-old Olivia Wise. Living with terminal brain cancer, Wise recently visited a recording studio for the first time to record her own version of Perry's hit "Roar," and to say the words of the song took a whole other meaning ... that's an understatement.

    With only a piano accompanying her, hearing Olivia sing that she's a fighter will give you goosebumps. And if that doesn't do it for you, the fact that Katy Perry has responded to the Olivia's video will have tears streaming down your face.

    Watch Olivia's inspiring rendition of "Roar" by Katy Perry:

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    17-year-old Christopher Alvelo had just finished up an Eagle Scouts community project on Saturday when he headed home with his stepdad Joseph Snyder and three friends. Alvelo was riding shotgun when Snyder blacked out behind the wheel in a medical emergency.

    From the passenger seat, the teenager was able to grab the wheel and steer the truck off the road and into the parking lot of the North Philadelphia Jet Center, but he couldn’t reach the brake before the vehicle crashed into a parked bus. Alvelo was killed instantly as he saved the lives of the other passengers and potential bystanders.

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    This kid is going to break your heart. Fifteen-year-old Davion Navar Only has lived in foster homes his entire life. His mother was in jail when he was born. He's an orphan now, and he wants to be adopted. In a story in the Naples Daily News (Florida), we follow Davion as he attends St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in the hope of finding a new family. The preacher introduces him, and he stands up. "My name is Davion and I've been in foster care since I was born," he says. "I know God hasn't given up on me. So I'm not giving up either."

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    Two weeks ago, a 17-year-old Massachusetts girl got a text from a friend at a party saying she was too drunk to drive, and could she come get her? Erin Cox, who is an honor student by the way, went to the home, but the cops showed up before she could find her friend.

    She was cleared by the police, who said she was not in possession of any alcohol, but officials at North Andover High School claim she violated their strict zero-tolerance policy. She was stripped of her role as captain of the volleyball team and suspended for five games.

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    I didn't think it was possible to respect Malala Yousafzai even more than I already do, but when she appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the 16-year-old Nobel Peace Prize nominee proved she is humble, kind-hearted, and able to make a lamb out of a lion like Stewart.

    Malala is the remarkable Pakistani teen who was shot in the head and neck by the Taliban after speaking out against the group for prohibiting women in the country from becoming educated. And even after enduring an assassination attempt, she is unwilling to hide or censor her opinions -- although the message she said she'd pass to her Talib shooters might surprise you.

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