High schoolers actually look forward to this unique class. Mic. Dropped.
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XQ

Let's be honest about something: High school doesn't work for everyone.

And things get even harder if you're a student of color, from a poor family, or are one of the millions of kids who grow up with learning disabilities. All of these variables can put you at a demonstrable disadvantage within the education system.

All images via XQ.


The world needs creative solutions to this problem, and one school has managed to find one — a musical one.

Youth on Record is a nonprofit organization in Denver, Colorado, that gives high school youth access to music training.

"We put professional, local musicians in the classrooms," says Jami Duffy, executive director of Youth on Record. "And they teach for-credit high school classes to the kids with the least amount of credit to make sure that our kids get across that finish line and are ready for college."

These classes range from technical training in music production to discussions of race, class, gender, and social solutions. Many classes also involve the Denver community and feature guest speakers and lecturers from the area.

More than just extra classes, Youth on Record is empowering kids to take control of their own education.

"If I had a music program like this, I'd be more engaged to do my other classes so then I could get to that music classroom," says Israel Juarez, an intern at Youth on Record.

Israel Juarez rapping at Youth on Record, Denver.

By engaging students in areas they're naturally passionate about and teaching them the real-life skills associated with those passions, Youth on Record shows kids that education is about much more than passing a test.

"High school is to develop citizens," says Margarita Bianco, executive director at Pathways2Teaching. "It's not just about mastering a content area so that you can pass a state exam. I want students to feel empowered to share their stories and think of themselves as change agents."

For kids who might normally be left behind, Youth on Record provides an opportunity to get ahead.

The best moments in school are the ones when your natural interests intersect with your education, when you start to think of yourself as talented and special.

Not everyone gets those moments, and they walk away from high school feeling defeated.

Youth on Record is doing something potentially life-changing for their students by helping them discover that they're smart and capable, even when they feel the system has let them down.

The most important lesson of all? Even if traditional school doesn't work for them, there's a bright future ahead.

All you need to do is grab the mic and dictate your story.

Watch these amazing students in action:

They're providing a creative outlet for these teen students — and it's actually helping them excel in other areas of school as well.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Learn more at XQSuperSchool.org.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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A teacher's message has gone viral after he let his student sleep in class — for the kindest reason.

Teachers spend time preparing lesson plans and trying to engage students in learning. The least a kid can do is stay awake in class, right?

But high school English teacher Monte Syrie sees things differently. In a Twitter thread, he explained why he didn't take it personally when his student Meg fell asleep — and why he didn't wake her up.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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