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First Woman with Down Syndrome Competes in Miss USA

Mikayla Holmgren is a student at Bethel University and she captured hearts at the pageant.

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22-year-old Mikayla Holmgren became the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA Pageant, taking home two awards late last month.

She had previously competed in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant.

Holmgren won several awards at Miss USA, including the Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director’s Award.

Pageant official Denise Wallace read from Holmgren’s nomination letter for the spirit award.

She said, “You make people smile every time you talk, cheer, smile, and dance. You exude the spirit of Miss USA by always being true to yourself and putting others first. You have selflessness, humility, and the ability to overcome obstacles with a smile on your face and excitement in your heart.”

The audience gave Holmgren a standing ovation as she accepted her award. Holmgren said, “I’m so excited. I can’t believe it!”

Holmgren has been a dedicated dancer since the age of six.

Holmgren told Buzzfeed News, “Dancing is a good outlet for me. It’s how I express myself. It’s my talent and I want to show people what I can do and how I can give more.”

In 2015, she was crowned Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing. Holmgren also competed in the national Junior Miss Amazing in Los Angeles.

Wallace told People Magazine, “she is the epitome of what the Miss Universe Organization strives to look for in contestants – someone who is confidently beautiful.”

Holmgren does not allow her Down syndrome to define her.

Holmgreen was born in Stillwater, Minnesota and is a student at Bethel University.

To keep up with Holmgren’s story, follow her Instagram page @mikholmgren_inspiring_others.

I'm a senior at West Chester University. I will graduate in the Spring with a Bachelor of the Arts in English and a Minor in Journalism. I am a dedicated writer and have produced content for several outlets including Kelly Roach Coaching, The Odyssey Online, The Torch, and The Quad. I can be reached at abbygoss96@gmail.com.

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Campus Crime

Pennsylvania University Stunned by Child Pornography Allegations

Popular philosophy professor at Bloomsburg University charged with possessing child porn.

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Scott Lowe, a professor of philosophy at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, was arrested late last week and charged with with four counts of possessing child pornography and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. The charges against the popular professor have left students and administration at the school of just over 9,000 students shocked.

The school’s newspaper, The Voice, reported:

Steve Hales, the head of the Philosophy department, expressed his disbelief for the situation, “It seemed like must be some kind of disturbing mistake which I couldn’t understand.” Hales was a friend to Lowe and, like many who knew him, could not understand what was happening. Lowe was known to be easy to get along with, reliable and was a very popular professor. Lowe enjoyed hanging out with his friends and playing pub trivia, according to Hales.

Bail for the 56-year-old Lowe was set at $250,000 and a preliminary hearing scheduled for February 28.

According to Lehigh Valley Live, a routine audit on the professor’s computer turned up “alarming malware associated with his internet usage of the Bloomsburg University network,” which led to a police investigation.

Several students told The Voice that they got no messages from the school about the situation and were surprised to find that classes were either cancelled or that other professors had stepped in to teach.

Miranda Jacobs told the paper that she had “heard a lot of stories about this guy about him being really nice and just very family oriented.”

 

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National News

Did the College Board Use Florida Shooting as Advertising Strategy?

A controversial mass email sent by the College Board on Wednesday has gone viral.

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A controversial mass email sent by the College Board on Wednesday has gone viral, eliciting a wave of public backlash against the organization’s alleged attempt to exploit last Wednesday’s Florida school shooting massacre to advertise the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

In his email to fellow colleagues and education administrators, College Board President David Coleman began his message by conveying College Board’s condolences to individuals and families affected by the tragedy. Coleman progressed to commend the efforts of student activist coalitions and draws upon Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez’s plea for gun control legislative reform.

He emphasized on how he felt “compelled to share the unadulterated, impassioned voice of a student,” whose exposure to AP Government has equipped her with necessary skills to identify evidence. However, Coleman expressed his conflicting perspective to Gonzalez’s position on gun control, asserting his belief that Gonzalez could have attempted “to better understand the positions of gun rights proponents.”

Coleman also references a published interview of another Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg, in which Hogg credits his AP History class for spurring his interest in the role of journalism in society, declaring that David Hogg’s words honor Advanced Placement teachers everywhere, for they reflect their power to open worlds and futures to students.”

Provoked by the contents of the email, several recipients have unleashed their ire on social media platforms. Andrew B. Palumbo, the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, tweeted his outrage in a reply to Jon Boesckenstedt, the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing at DePaul University, calling for College Board to immediately issue an apology to the public.

Former chairman of College Board’s science academic advisory committee, Jennifer Pfannerstill, tendered in her formal resignation on Thursday afternoon, citing that she is unable to “advocate for, and stand by, [an] organization that in one of our nation’s times of trial, would question the very students who allow them to exist and would promote itself as the only program to teach students how to use evidence”

The College Board has since broken its silence, publishing a public apology in an attempt to appease its angered social media followers and critics, exerting that they had no intention of diverting the attention away from the plights of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivors and their community.

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National News

College Grants Scholarship Aid to Slain Police Officer’s Family

Eric Joering was fatally shot while on duty on February 10th.

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The children of slain Westerville Police officer have been awarded full-ride scholarships to attend Otterbein University.

The private four-year university first disclosed its decision to sponsor the daughters of Officer Eric Joering, who was fatally shot while on duty alongside Officer Anthony Morelli on February 10th, 2018, at a Westerville City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 20th. In a subsequent press release published on its website and social media accounts on Wednesday, the university expressed its hopes of providing a system of support for the Joering family as they transition through this difficult period by ensuring that each daughter “has sufficient support to complete an undergraduate degree at Otterbein.”

Otterbein University has also dedicated a Spotlight tribute in honor of the two officers, extending the university’s condolences to the families of the fallen officers as well as the Westerville Police Department.

Authorities have charged the 30-year-old perpetrator, Quentin Smith, with two counts of aggravated murder of Joering and Morelli. Officers Joering and Morelli were said to have arrived at Smith’s townhome residence after having received an urgent 911 domestic violence call where they were met with a hostile Smith. Former reports have indicated that there were several prior domestic violence incidences where police similarly had been called to Smith’s property, albeit without any arrests made.

Smith was reported to have been critically injured upon his arrest and was promptly hospitalized. Smith has since been discharged and is currently held without bail.

 

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