Daily Archives: May 29, 2015

Good News Friday: 2 of the abducted Cleveland women get to “graduate” high school. The National Spelling Bee delivers, once again. And the couple who got married in a hospice room, for a great reason


**So apparently there’s some sort of big hockey playoff game tonight? Gonna be a looonnggg wait until 8:15 p.m. Let’s Go Rangers. Let the Game 7 streak continue, and bring on the Stanley Cup Finals…

And a Happy Friday to all of you out on the InterWebs. Going to be a great weekend, I hope, here’s a few stories to get you in a good mood.

First, we all remember the horror story out of Cleveland two years ago, when three women were found alive, living as prisoners in a house after being abducted by a madman and held for 10 years against their will.

Well, those women are slowly putting their lives back together, but there are so many moments and life experienced they missed during all those years.

One of those life moments that the women missed was high school graduation. But last week, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus got to walk as honorary graduates of John Marshall High, where they would’ve graduated if they hadn’t been abducted.

John Marshall principal Tiffany Jones introduced them. “Neither one of these young ladies were allowed the opportunity to complete their high school journey,” she said. “Although their journey may have been interrupted, it’s never too late to finish the race.”

A wonderful message, and a wonderful moment for two women who deserve nothing but happiness for the rest of their lives, after the misery they endured. Here’s a great video of the women graduating.


**Next up, I know I wax poetic about the National Spelling Bee every year in this space, about how hilarious it is that ESPN goes to such great lengths to try to make these kids seem “cool” with the vignettes, about how the pressure, the drama, the excitement gets me every time. The Spelling Bee, as I’ve said before, never fails to deliver the goods.

But even for me, a devoted Spelling Bee fan, Thursday night’s telecast was sensational. There were some good early moments, an entertaining kid who sadly got eliminated early in the finals (Dev, we hardly knew ye, but we enjoyed you), and then when we got to the championship round, it became incredible.

For more than a half hour, Vanya Shivashankar of Kansas and Gokul Venkatachalam of Missouri went mano-a-mano, each knocking down these impossible words like they were nothing. They didn’t even come close to using the full two minutes allotted, they just spelled every word like they’d seen it before (which they probably had).

It was Ali-Frazier, Bird vs. Magic kind of stuff, but for smart kids. As I said to my family watching with me Thursday night (they think I’m nuts for being so into it, of course), the Bee is awesome because for one night, really smart kids, not athletes or entertainers, get a little glory on national TV.

I truly think Vanya and Gokul could’ve spelled 1,000 more words correctly, but finally they were declared co-champions.

Both had been to the finals before but hadn’t won, but amazingly, Vanya’s sister won in 2009, so their Dad was pretty proud (how fantastic is this shirt he wore?)

It was wonderful, riveting stuff. Good for Vanya and Gokul, they both seem like humble, terrific kids too.

**Finally today, this is one of those Good News Friday stories that I run occasionally that make some readers go “How is this ‘good news’?” And I’ll admit, part of this isn’t. But part of it is really great.

Jeff Trussell was preparing to marry his fiancee Jennifer in 2013, but as wonderful as that was, he was also dealing with his mother, Deneen Fendig, dying of breast cancer.

As Deneen’s condition worsened and she entered into a hospice care facility, and Jeff and Jennifer made a decision: They would move the wedding up and hold it in Deneen’s hospice room, so she could see her son on his happiest day, before she died.

They bought wedding clothes from a mall, and their friends decorated the hospice room with wedding flowers, candles, and all the usual stuff.

Deneen died 11 days after the wedding. But thanks to the wonderful gesture by her son, she got to experience a life moment she definitely didn’t want to miss.

Check out this wonderful video Jeff shot.