9 Good News Stories: Kid Rocks; Helping Teachers; $1K A Week For Life

ACROSS AMERICA — Rylee Sherwood is only a middle schooler, but she’s figured out how things work.

Students start with the supplies they need, and teachers make sure they have plenty of the same in reserve. It takes a big bite out of teachers’ paychecks.

“Teachers spend a minimum of $500 per school year to support their classrooms,” the Brick, New Jersey, teen told Patch’s Karen Wall. “In any other job, you don’t have to put out money to do your job.”

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She’s doing something about it with “Fill The Classrooms,” her service project for her Silver Award in Girl Scouts. Rylee’s mother, Sara, said her daughter’s choice of a project isn’t surprising. Rylee is “one of those people who help all the time without being asked.” » A Patch Exclusive by Karen Wall for Brick Patch

This Kid Rocks

Kobi Reese isn’t a typical rock star. He’s only 12 and just finished sixth grade at the Edison Intermediate School in Westfield, New Jersey. But, boy, does that kid have talent. He performs with more than 30 adult bands and has his own band. He writes his own music and has released a few songs on Spotify, Apple Music and other digital platforms. His fan base is enormous. Rock music has always been part of his life. His parents signed him up for drum lessons after finding him drumming on his bed frame with chopsticks. “He is our fifth child, so the last thing we needed in the house was a drum kit,” his mother, Lori, told Patch’s Alexis Tarrazi. “But finally, when he was turning 7 years old, he said he didn’t want a birthday party or presents. ‘All I want is a drum kit,’ and at that point, we thought we had to give in.” » A Patch Exclusive by Alexis Tarrazi for Westfield Patch

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Full Circle

Thomas Burke shakes it off with humility when people call him the “beloved” principal at Seaford Harbor Elementary School on Long Island. “You do this job, day in and day out; you have those great days and then those challenging days,” he told Patch’s Jerry Barmash ahead of his last day at the school. “But seeing the impact that you have [on] children, families and teachers, sometimes you don’t always realize that. That’s been so rewarding.” The 41-year-old educator headed to a new elementary principal position in nearby Wantagh, where he attended school as a kid. “Now I get to go back and make it a real full circle,” he said. » A Patch Exclusive by Jerry Barmsh for Wantagh-Seaford Patch

No More Short Shrift For Barbers

Jessica Dudley has created Connecticut’s first registered apprentice program for cosmetology, and it sets up the next generation of workers for success, Todd Berch, the manager of the state Labor Department’s Office of Apprenticeship Training, told Patch’s Saul Flores. That especially goes for traditional barbers.“My goal was to provide a license that read cosmetology,” said Dudley, who owns Jessica’s Color Room in Middletown. “Barbering is clipper cuts, and with a cosmetology license, they can work with chemicals to color, highlight, balayage, correct color and clipper cuts. If you only have a barbering license, you are limited to haircuts.” » A Patch Exclusive by Saul Flores for Middletown Patch

Positive Before, Positive After

Although a surprise brain tumor altered many aspects of his life, one thing that hasn’t changed for Lake In the Hills, Illinois, police officer A.J. Gazda is his attitude. At only 30, he’s coming to grips with what he says is his new normal. “My whole thought process has always been, ‘I really don’t have a choice in this’ and so I’ll control what I can and whatever I can’t control, I’ll just let it be,” he told Patch’s Jeff Arnold. “So the new normal is that I can either be upset by it and be annoyed by it, or I can look for the positive outcome in it. That’s kind of what I’m looking for, is the positive.” » By Jeff Arnold for Algonquin-Lake In the Hills Patch

Forgotten Ticket Pays Off

Days before it was set to expire, Genine Plummer of Islip, New York, turned in a forgotten lottery ticket worth $1,000 a week for life. State lottery officials had put out the word someone was about to lose out on a lot of cash, compelling the retired postal worker to check her tickets again. Sure enough, she was a winner.“I’m just in shock with everything and amazed,” Plummer told the New York Lottery. “I am overwhelmed.” » By Maureen Mullarkey for Islip Patch

Hot (Pink) Take On A Getaway …

Some lucky beach babies can stay in “Barbie’s Malibu DreamHouse,” decked out in celebration of the “Barbie” movie release this summer. There’s no fee for a few nights that are up for grabs “because Ken couldn’t figure out how to put a price on Barbie’s DreamHouse — after all, Ken’s thing is beach, not math!” Airbnb wrote in a news release. » By Chris Lindahl for Malibu Patch

… Or Stay In This Place With Sole

Speaking of houses with hype, you can rent a three-bedroom house in Pennsylvania that looks just like a shoe as part of a road trip that includes a huge coffee pot whose past uses include a bar and restaurant, but never a coffee shop. » By Beth Dalbey for Across Pennsylvania Patch

Parting Shot

For decades, all Vanilla the chimpanzee knew was cage tops. Born in 1994, she spent her earliest months at a biomedical research laboratory in New York, where chimpanzees were usually housed in small enclosures suspended from the ground like bird cages. A year later, Vanilla was among 30 chimpanzees sent to the Wildlife Waystation in California, where she was kept inside a chain-link pen with no grass. That’s all in the past now that she’s at the three-acre Save the Chimps sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida. The alpha male Dwight stretched out his arms in welcome in a scene no one’s going to forget soon. “She leaped into his arms, and he engulfed her in a big hug, a special moment caught on camera,” m the sanctuary staff said in a statement. “As she gained the courage to go farther, she was in awe, gazing up at the open and vast sky above her for the first time in her life.” Be sure to click the link to see the video. » By Megan VerHelst for Across Florida Patch

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