January 2011 Archives

Students Cheer as Lesbian Couple Enters Pep Rally

The students cheered Monday at a Minnesota high school as a lesbian couple, who fought for the right to walk together as part of a royalty court, entered the school's pep rally.

Classmates of Sarah Lindstrom and Desiree Shelton voted the two seniors onto the royalty court for the Snow Days Pep Fest at Champlin Park High School in northwest Minneapolis, reported the Pioneer Press.

School officials, who worried students would harass the couple, modified the system of the pep rally. Instead of uniting the students in typical boy-girl pairs, the school announced either a parent or teacher could accompany the royal court or the students could walk separately, said The Washington Post.

However, after two groups sued on the pair's behalf, school officials complied and allowed the couple to enter together.

Analysis: Atypical Lead in ABC News report

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Although not standard for a news story, the lead in an article from ABC News caught the reader's attention and created a more relatable feel.

The story about higher levels of stress among college freshmen began atypically. In the lead the author named a young man, which was unusual, but worked for the story. It gave a real life example to accompany the facts of the article.

The lead detailed the who, Joel Raneri, the what, stress, and the where, Syracruse University in New York. It also listed reasons of stress in his life including a campus job, 17-credit workload, and rushing fraternities.

More generally, the lead did not begin with any shocking statistic, or even clearly explain what the rest of the story would involve. The reader had to keep reading on to get the point of the article.

College Freshmen Experience High Stress Levels

The stress levels of college freshmen have skyrocketed in the past 25 years, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute administered the study, considered the most extensive of its kind. It surveyed 200,000 full-time, four-year college students, reported ABC News.

The survey showed the lowest level of emotional health among students in 25 years, when the study began. The devastating economy and increasing drive for success and achievement also added to the elevation of students' stress levels, experts said.

University of Minnesota Student Found Dead in Boxcar

A rail worker found a missing University of Minnesota student dead Thursday near campus.

Police arrested Keaton Patrick Murphy, 20, on Jan. 19 under suspicion of distributing child pornography. Murphy went missing after his release from jail on Jan. 20, reported the Pioneer Press.

Murphy struggled with depression in the past and may have been suicidal, his family said.

The scene of a crime, a boxcar located 500 yards from TCF Bank Stadium, was covered in blood, reported the Minnesota Daily.

However, University Police Chief Greg Hestness did not suspect homicide and said he did not see any danger to the public regarding this incident.

More Than Half of Minnesota Students Fail Science Proficiency Exam

More than half of Minnesota fourth-and eighth-grade students failed to show proficiency on national tests.

Only 40 percent of Minnesota eighth-graders and 43 percent of fourth-graders achieved science proficiency on the national tests given in 2009, reported the Star Tribune.

Although Minnesota students scored above the national average, Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius was not satisfied.

Nationally, 30 percent of eighth-graders and 21 percent of twelfth-graders showed proficiency in science, CNN reported.

Minnesota must not only compete with the rest of the United States, but also internationally to raise the bar, experts said.

Wiretaps Offer Insight into Italian Sex Scandal

It comes as no surprise that Italian's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has involved himself in yet another scandal, this one involving a teenage prostitute and sordid wiretapped phone conversations.

Although Berlusconi and his colleagues denied all accusations of misconduct, 389 pages of wiretapped conversations reinforced suspicions of wrongdoings.

According to ABC News, in one wiretapped conversation, Ruby, a teen prostitute, demanded £5 million from Berlusconi in exchange for her silence. Another described Berlusconi's house as a brothel filled with topless women.

Berlusconi has been investigated on more than 17 charges of misdeeds in the past, but has never been charged, reported CNN. The Democratic Party sought the resignation of the Prime Minister, but Berlusconi dismissed the request and plans to complete the remaining two years of his term.

Packers clinch NFC Championship

Not since 1998 have the Green Bay Packers clinched the NFC Championship, securing them a spot in the Super Bowl, as they did on Sunday afternoon.

The Packers and the Chicago Bears, whose rivalry began in 1921, have not met in a postseason game for 70 years, reported the New York Times.

Despite losing their quarterback, Jay Cutler, to injury, and trailing Green Bay by 14 points, the Bears nearly turned the game around in the second half. The Packers, however, shut down Chicago's chances and won the game 21-14.

According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, the interception caught by Packer's defenseman B.J. Raji helped secure Green Bay a coveted spot in Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas. There, the Packers will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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