Family devastated after cheerleader with Down syndrome was omitted from school yearbook
via Shoreline Junior High

A school in Utah has made an inexcusable mistake and has yet to provide a decent answer for why it happened. The photo the school published of its cheerleading squad excluded Morgyn Arnold, a 14-year-old with Down syndrome.

Morgyn is the team manager who learned all of the routines and cheered beside the squad at home games. But she's nowhere to be seen in the squad photo that was published in the school's 2020-2021 yearbook.

What's worse is that the squad took two photographs, one with Morgyn in the front row and one without.


The picture with Morgyn.

The photo that was published.



"The first picture you see is a cute junior high cheer team," Morgyn's sister, Jordyn Poll told Today. "The second, although similar, includes all members of the team. It's the SAME cheer team–SAME girls, SAME photo shoot, SAME poses, but one included all team members and one did not.

"Additionally, Morgyn's name wasn't even mentioned as a part of the team," Jordyn added. "She wasn't included. She spent hours learning dances, showing up to games, and cheering on her school and friends but was left out."

Morgyn realized she had been excluded from the photo immediately after receiving her yearbook.

"She came home from school and was showing us her yearbook," Jordyn explained. "She said 'There's my team and there's my friends and I'm not included.' She was devastated."

The family wants to know why Morgyn was left out so her sister wrote a lengthy Facebook post describing their pain.

Teen with down syndrome left out of cheerleading yearbook photo www.youtube.com

The school posted a statement on its Facebook page but it has since been deleted.

"We are deeply saddened by the mistake that was made," the statement read. "We are continuing to look at what has occurred and why it occurred. Apologies have been made to the family and we sincerely apologize to others impacted by this error. We will continue to address it with the parents of the student. We will continue to look at our processes to ensure this does not happen again."

The junior high school and its cheerleading squad have suspended their social media accounts due to the incident.

Jordyn wants answers for the school's screw-up but doesn't want any hate directed at the girls on the cheerleading squad.

"There's been so much hate directed to these other girls and it's so unnecessary," she said. "They are kind and did their very best to include Morgyn and make her feel like she belongs and they continue to do so and continue to reach out and let her know that she is loved. If it was up to them, they would have included her in the photos."

Unfortunately, the school has yet to provide a reason for Morgyn's omission. Jordyn says that her sister is getting over her initial feelings of rejection with her usual kindness.

"I think a lot we can learn from her example," Jordyn said. "She's forgiven them and moved on. She's sad, when she looks at the pictures. Her example speaks a lot, and she's excited to continue to find memories and continue cheering."

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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