Friday Faves: National Spelling Bee Champions, Maya Angelou’s Legacy, and More!

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TGIF! The weekend is finally here and the Choices magazine/TeenBeing team rounded up our picks for the best of this week’s web. Check out our Friday Faves!

1. For the first time in 50 years, there were two winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Sriram Hathwar, a 14-year-old 8th grader from NY, shares the title with Ansun Sujoe, a 13-year-old 7th grader from TX. When asked about the tie, Sriram had a great attitude, telling CNN, “It was really a competition against the dictionary, and not against Ansun or any of the other competitors.” Congrats, boys!

2. This week the world lost an amazing poet, activist, and author—Maya Angelou. She greatly impacted the literary world with her work, including autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and poem “Still I Rise.” The Wall Street Journal compiled a list of Maya’s most memorable quotes, including one of our favorites:

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

To commemorate Maya’s legacy, we recommend this poetry activity from Edutopia, which encourages students to take a closer look at her poem “A Brave and Startling Truth.”

3. Yikes! According to Huffington Post, a new study found that when teens experienced five or more blistering sunburns they had a 68 percent increased risk of skin cancer as an adult. The National Cancer Institute warns that even just one blistering sunburn increases cancer risk. Be sure to load up on that sunscreen!

4. A Philadelphia charter school is trying a new approach to reduce judgment and foster empathy among its students. NPR reports that Freire Charter School holds assemblies where students share their fears and frustrations with their peers. Focusing on the phrase “If you really knew me, this is what you’d know,” two dozen students stood in front of their classmates and opened up about topics including losing a parent and struggling with a chronic illness. The school’s supervisor noticed a tangible shift afterward, seeing that students are now more supportive of each other.

5. On Thursday, President Obama held the first annual White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit. The event brought together sports officials, researchers, parents, and young athletes to talk about the dangers of concussions, which cause nearly 250,000 emergency room visits annually. Making sports safer for children and increasing research on the effects of such injuries was the focus of the summit. For more about sports injuries, check out the “Playing Through the Pain” story from the September 2013 issue of Choices.

Did we miss anything big from this week? Share your faves in the comments below!

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