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Mom with cancer sees twin daughters graduate in special ceremony before her death

When twin sisters Morgan and Regan McVey graduate Thursday from Talawanda High School in Oxford, Ohio, it will actually be their second commencement ceremony.

Earlier this year, the school provided a special moment for the seniors and their mother, who was diagnosed with cancer last fall.

As the school year moved into its second semester, it was evident their mother, Carey McVey, would not live to see the graduation ceremony.

>> WATCH: Texas teen walks for first time in months, stuns prom date in heartwarming viral video

“Mr. (Tom) York and others arranged to give us a mini graduation ceremony,” Regan said of the school’s principal. “We had our caps and gowns and got our actual diplomas. Mom got to see them.”

“That was one thing she wanted to see,” Morgan added.

Their mother died in February. She was 43 years old, according to her obituary.

The diplomas were on a table at their home until last week when they were returned to the school so the seniors could receive them again at Thursday’s ceremony.

>> Read more trending news 

The gesture, the twins said, reinforced their decision to attend the Oxford school.

The McVey twins were unknown to their classmates when they started at Talawanda High School four years ago after finishing the eighth grade at Queen of Peace School.

“We had to make new friends here. We did not know anyone,” Morgan McVey said.

The high school choice took some discussion between the sisters.

“Regan wanted to go to Talawanda. I wanted to go to Badin,” Morgan said.

Now, they both said they are happy with their decision.

“The school really supported us through it all,” Morgan said, referring to her mother’s cancer diagnosis and her death.

>> On Journal-News.com: Oxford community advocate ‘lived life to the fullest’

While the family tragedy will forever be linked to their senior year of high school, they said they did not let it affect their personalities or interactions with others, although classmates were often surprised by that.

“We are always happy. We joke around a lot. We talk a lot. People forget. Then they say, ‘Your mother… .’ It’s definitely been an experience,” Regan said.

Both young women have been cheerleaders all four years of high school and both have been involved in dance all four years, with Regan on homecoming court her junior year and prom court this spring.

Both, also found satisfaction in passing on their own love of dance by teaching it to younger children at area dance studios.

The fact they are twins earned them a memorable experience outside of school, too.

As their senior year dawned, they appeared in a television commercial promoting the Big Ten conference. The theme of the promo was twins and they auditioned last spring in Chicago, which led to a two-day video shoot, also in Chicago.

>> On Journal-News.com: New gateways to welcome Miami U., Oxford visitors

The commercial appeared on the Big Ten Network and ESPN as well as other television channels. For Morgan, it was a strange feeling the first time she saw it aired.

“I did not know it was out. I was in bed with my television on and saw my face. It just popped up,” she said.

They said they are thinking about using it as a stepping stone to doing some modeling, but they know that profession is a difficult one to get into and then only lasts a certain time. They are planning a careful route of going to college to train for teaching professions and then see what happens.

Regan McVey is looking at early childhood education while Morgan is opting for a degree in integrated language arts for grades 7-12. They plan to attend Miami University Hamilton in the fall to start their college careers.

>> On Journal-News.com: Hall of Famer Huismann approved as Talawanda’s head girls hoop coach

Morgan said no one in their family teaches, but she hopes to emulate some of the good teachers she has had at Talawanda.

Regan opts for younger students after her work with young dancers.

“I like little kids. I think it’s interesting to teach them when they are young,” she said.

The sisters are among 21 members of the graduating class recognized with the President’s Award for Educational Achievement.

The twins agree high school at Talawanda has been a great experience. Their mother and their father, Shane, were both Talawanda High School graduates.

University survey asking if students want to know whether 'black people hate America' draws ire

A Texas university is experiencing backlash over a cultural survey asking students to rate their interest in learning answers to controversial questions like, "Do black people hate America?" 

>> Huge cookout held at Oakland park where cops called on black family's barbecue

According to the Dallas Morning News, Southern Methodist University's Cultural Intelligence Initiative first posted the survey, titled "Ask Anything, Seriously," last fall. 

"Let's face it, we all have questions about the people we encounter in our day-to-day lives," reads an introduction to the survey. "We come from different races, cultures, countries, cities, religions and ideologies. We want to avoid mistakes or even worse, offending someone, but we really want to know."

>> Read more trending news 

The introduction goes on to say the survey aims to reveal "important cultural information" and see which questions people of different races "have been dying to ask friends, colleagues and total strangers."

>> Read the full intro here

Those questions – which include "Why are black people so loud?," "Do black people hate America?" and "Why do black people always complain about segregation but always want their own TV stations?" – drew ire last week after a Twitter user shared screenshots of the survey.

Special education teacher accused of dragging, choking, punching students

A former Oklahoma teacher is facing two misdemeanor charges after witnesses say she physically injured her special education students.

>> Watch the news report here

KFOR reported last week that Holly Noelle Morris, 38, is accused of "choking, punching, pinching and squeezing two of her students on several occasions" while she was working as a special education teacher for Piedmont Public Schools. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to an arrest affidavit, one parent said her son came home with bruises on his face and neck. A video also showed Morris dragging one student, the affidavit said.

Morris, who was arrested and charged with two counts of causing a child to be deprived, resigned in February, KFOR reported.

Read more here.

Teen girl hospitalized after being choked, punched by male student

15-year-old Tennessee girl spent hours in the hospital Thursday after she said she was punched and choked by a male student while riding a school bus home.

>> Read more trending news

The Craigmont Middle School student told Memphis police that she felt like at one point she could not breathe. The girl's mother took her to the hospital after they filed a formal complaint with the school. The family also filed a report with the Memphis Police Department in the emergency room.

“She got home, she was crying. She didn't want to say anything at first. She went straight to a restroom,” Diana Angel said.

Eventually, Angel saw her daughter’s face.

“She came home with bruises on her neck, a swollen jaw, [and] scratches,” she said. “This little boy got on top of her and started choking her. It's very messed up.

The family went to the hospital where police officers took a report, and pictures of the teen’s neck and swollen jaw.

“We are going to press charges,” said Angel. “We are going to do everything we can to keep her safe, because she is scared now.”

Representatives from Shelby County Schools have not commented.

Angel believes the adult driver should have broken up the fight before the choking began.

“The students are in the bus driver’s care at that moment. So, yes, I definitely think he should've been involved,” she said.

Memphis police are now working to determine who the attacker is, and the school is also looking into the matter, according to Angel.

“I just wish his parents would've taught him better,” she said.

As her daughter recovers from her injuries, Angel said she will be the one driving her to school.

“I'm scared for her. I don't even think I want to put her on the bus anymore,” she said.

All buses for Shelby County Schools have video cameras, school officials said.

Superintendent: Impaired bus driver was 15 times over limit with students on board

An Alabama school bus driver was arrested Friday after a student who suspected the woman was drunk forced her to stop driving and alerted authorities.

Vicki Lynn Patrick, 57, of Robertsdale, is charged with driving under the influence and reckless endangerment, according to Baldwin County Jail records. She remained in jail Tuesday morning in lieu of $35,000 bond. 

Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler told local media that Patrick’s blood-alcohol level was 15 times over the .02 legal limit for CDL licensed drivers following her arrest. 

WKRG in Mobile reported that Patrick’s $10,000 bail amount for the DUI charge is about 10 times the typical bond issued for those suspected of impaired driving. 

“She was entrusted with the care of our children and grossly violated that trust,” a prosecutor told the court during Patrick’s bond hearing, the news station reported. 

The $25,000 bail for the reckless endangerment charge represents $1,000 for each child that was on the bus when Patrick was arrested, WKRG reported

>> Read more trending news

Fox 10 in Mobile reported that Patrick was driving a mix of 25 elementary, middle and high school students home Friday afternoon when it became apparent to the students that something was wrong. 

“She was swerving on the road and she was going really fast, and then she was going really slow,” Cody Butler, a 16-year-old sophomore at Robertsdale High School, told the news station.

Butler said he went to the front of the bus to see if the longtime bus driver was all right. 

“When I smelled alcohol and she was slurring, that’s when I walked back to my seat and called my mom and told her what was going on,” the teen said. 

Butler’s mother called 911.

Witnesses told WKRG that a student pulled the emergency exit door, which forced Patrick to pull over. It was not clear if Butler was the student who pulled the door.

Another student passenger told the news station that Patrick could barely speak. 

“We started going, she tried talking on the intercom (and) couldn’t really talk that well, and then she started swerving,” Hunter Roberts, 13, said

Butler told Fox 10 that Patrick pulled the bus over once an alarm sounded. She tried to call another bus to pick up the children, but couldn’t form a complete sentence, the teen said. 

“I didn’t let her turn on the bus,” Butler said. “I just kept saying, ‘Just stay where you are,’ and people were coming.”

A Baldwin County Schools employee driving by noticed the bus and stopped to see what was going on. 

“He was asking what was wrong, and she said everything was fine and we were getting a new bus,” Butler said. “I made hand motions for him to come help. I mouthed that she was drunk.”

Sheriff’s deputies soon arrived at the scene. 

WKRG reported that Patrick, who deputies said “reeked of the smell of a fermented beverage,” refused to take a field sobriety test. She was disoriented and could hardly stand or answer the deputies’ questions, authorities said. 

After being medically evaluated, she was placed under arrest. 

The judge who set Patrick’s bail suspended her driving privileges and forbade her from drinking alcohol, the news station reported. She was also ordered to not have contact with the children who were on the bus Friday or their families. 

Kent State grad poses with AR-10 on campus in viral photos

A recent graduate from Ohio's Kent State University posed on campus with her AR-10 in photos that quickly went viral and sparked a heated debate on social media.

>> Father of Parkland shooting victim Meadow Pollack sues 'coward' deputy who didn't enter school

According to USA Today, "the university bars students, staff and third parties doing business with Kent State from possessing deadly weapons" on school grounds. However, that rule doesn't apply to visitors as long as they keep their weapons out of campus buildings.

>> Read more trending news 

"Now that I graduated from @KentState, I can finally arm myself on campus," 22-year-old Kaitlin Bennett tweeted Sunday along with a photo of her carrying her rifle and a graduation cap that reads, "Come and take it."

"I should have been able to do so as a student – especially since 4 unarmed students were shot and killed by the government on this campus," she added with the hashtag #CampusCarryNow. In 1970, National Guardsmen shot and killed four student protesters on campus. 

>> See the tweet here

The image, which has received more than 18,000 likes and 4,400 retweets, prompted thousands of replies from critics and supporters.

Bennett later tweeted another photo, saying she had "no apologies."

"As a woman, I refuse to be a victim & the second amendment ensures that I don't have to be," she wrote.

>> See the tweet here

She also said she has gotten a job offer and marriage proposals since her post went viral.

>> See the tweet here

But she said she has received threats, as well.

“Gun control advocates are trying to call me violent for my graduation picture that promotes the right to self-defense, meanwhile I'm getting threatening messages like this in my inbox from these very same people,” she tweeted along with a screenshot of a Twitter user’s threat to “beat the [expletive] out of her.”

>> See the tweet here (WARNING: Profanity)

Read more here.

Police, school officials praise high school seniors’ prank as ‘one of best’ ever

The seniors at a Wisconsin high school showed their smarts, and their senses of humor, this week with a prank that even had the local police force praising their cunning. 

At first glance, it appeared that a car had crashed into the side of Cumberland High School, leaving a gaping hole in the brick façade near the principal’s office. Bricks were strewn everywhere as the back half of the car jutted out of the building.

It was all a sham.

“Nice work, seniors,” Cumberland School District officials said Monday on the district’s Facebook page. “You had everyone a little nervous this morning!”

>> Read more trending news

The students placed the back half of a junk car up against the building and used tape and a black tarp to create the illusion of a hole in the building, district officials explained. 

“The best part? This prank included absolutely no damage at all to school property, which is why police singled it out,” the district’s Facebook post read. 

Police officials called the prank “one of the best senior pranks that Cumberland High School has seen.”

The department’s Facebook followers agreed, sharing the post thousands of times. Several people commended the teens on their “good, clean fun,” while others lamented that their own senior class hadn’t thought of the prank themselves. 

One man puzzled over how the students pulled it off unnoticed.

“I’m curious as to how they got the car into position without someone stopping them?” the man wrote

A police official responded that the prank was done around midnight, but that it did get noticed afterward. 

“It was called in as a crash by a subject that works across from the school,” the response stated. “When (the) officer arrived, he realized it was the prank and laughed at the kids.”

Florida teacher accused of drowning 2 raccoons during science class

A Florida teacher accused of drowning at least two raccoons during a science class at Marion County's Forest High School on Monday has been placed on paid administrative leave.

>> Watch the news report here (WARNING: GRAPHIC. Viewer discretion advised.)

A student, who provided WFTV with graphic video of the incident, said some students were left with nightmares after the sixth period agricultural science class.

>> Florida woman fights off home invaders armed with AK-47, police say

"My friend said that the class before that, they were (putting) the water in the buckets," said the freshman student, who asked to not be identified.

The raccoons killed several chickens, the student said.

>> On WFTV.com: Ocala school shooter says he just wanted to go to jail

Students and staff members raise chickens and other livestock, which are housed in a shed behind the school.

The student said it took the raccoons several minutes to drown.

"They finally took the cage out of the water, and they trapped it into another smaller cage, where the top of the cage would go down into the water," the student said. "And that's how they killed the second one."

The student was crying, yelling and angry when he returned home from school. His parents weren't happy either.

"We want people to know he had them in cages; he had them trapped," the boy's mother said. "He could have had somebody come and relocate the animals."

>> Read more trending news 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers said they're investigating the legality of the issue.

"While law enforcement tells us the teacher may not have done anything illegal, his actions before students are certainly questionable," the Marion County School District said in a statement.

The student said the teacher asked students to not record the drownings, but many of them did.

The teacher's name hasn't been released.

Mother, daughter graduate college together after tragedy strikes family

After enduring the loss of a loved one, a mother and daughter from Michigan are marking a happy milestone together.

>> Read more trending news 

Linda and Becky Dancer graduated together this month from Cleary University, WXYZ reported.

For mother Linda, the degree was completed 42 years after she began her higher education. She was prompted to join her daughter in college after her husband, Dan, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2014.

Linda told WXYZ that she worked much harder to earn the degree now than she had when she first started four decades ago.

Mother and daughter are proud of their individual and joint accomplishments. Linda hopes to increase her income and says a master’s degree may be in her future.

Student born without hands wins handwriting award

Anaya Ellick was born without hands, but that has not stopped her from taking home a national award for penmanship.

At a time when students are not being taught cursive writing, Anaya, who is 9 years old, won the 2018 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest for her technique, WVEC reported.

Anaya’s teachers told WVEC that she had the determination to learn cursive so she could compete in the category after winning a similar competition for her printing.

>> Read more trending news 

The Nicolas Maxim Award is given to students with a cognitive delay or some sort of intellectual, physical or developmental disability. Occupational therapists serve as judges who review entries, WVEC reported.

The Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest has awarding students for their writing for more than 30 years. Students in kindergarten through 8th grade can compete for state and nation. 

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