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Hillary Clinton sent an inspiring letter to this 8-year-old girl who lost her school election by just one vote.
Morales family photo.

Eight-year-old Martha Kennedy Morales ran a competitive campaign for class president at Friend Community School College Park in Maryland. The third grader, who is in a combined third and fourth grade class, lost by just one vote to a male classmate, a popular fourth-grader.

Defeat can be disappointing on any level – from national to regional to scholastic – and words of wisdom can offer encouragement when one would otherwise give up. And that’s exactly what Martha got.

When Hillary Clinton heard the election results (which Martha’s father posted on Facebook), she sent a letter of encouragement.

“My mom was just picking me up from school, and she pulled the letter out of her purse,” Martha told the Washington Post. “I opened it up, and it was a letter from Hillary Clinton. I was very surprised.”


“I learned from your father, Albert’s post on Facebook about your election experience running for Class President,” read the letter. “Congratulations on being elected Vice President!”

“While I know you may have been disappointed that you did not win President, I am so proud of you for deciding to run in the first place. As I know too well, it’s not easy when you stand up and put yourself in contention for a role that’s only been sought by boys.”

The letter encouraged Morales to keep going.

“The most important thing is that you fought for what you believed in, and that is always worth it. As you continue to learn and grow in the years ahead, never stop standing up for what is right and seeking opportunities to be a leader, and know that I am cheering you on for a future of great success.”

Nick Merrill, spokesman for Clinton, confirmed the letter is authentic, while Martha confirmed that she is moved. “It was really touching to know that Hillary Clinton herself sent me a letter,” Martha told CNN. “That doesn’t happen every day.”

Martha was made class Vice President and says she’s happy with her newly appointed position.

"I'm happy I get to be the tie-breaker when the House and the Senate can't agree on something,” Martha told the Washington Post.

In an interview with CNN Newsroom, Martha confessed she was bummed out by the election results. “It's disappointing to figure out that you lost something that you fought for really hard and you put a lot of effort into it,” said Martha. However, the eight-year-old’s spirit won’t be broken, and she says she had plans to run for class president again should the opportunity occur.

But as for Martha’s immediate plans? The eight-year-old is fostering a relationship with her new pen pal by working on a thank you note.

The full letter is included below:

Dear Martha:

I learned from your father, Albert’s post on Facebook about your election experience running for Class President at . . . . Congratulations on being elected Vice President!

While I know you may have been disappointed that you did not win President, I am so proud of you for deciding to run in the first place. As I know too well, it’s not easy when you stand up and put yourself in contention for a role that’s only been sought by boys. The most important thing is that you fought for what you believed in, and that is always worth it. As you continue to learn and grow in the years ahead, never stop standing up for what is right and seeking opportunities to be a leader, and know that I am cheering you on for a future of great success.

With best wishes and warm regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

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You could say Marine biologist, divemaster and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Erika Woolsey is a bit of a coral reef whisperer, one who brings her passion for ocean science to folks on dry land in a fresh, innovative and fun new way using virtual reality.

Images courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Her non-profit, The Hydrous, combines science, design, and technology to provide one-of-a-kind experiential education about marine life. In 2018, Hydrous produced “Immerse 360”, a virtual underwater journey through the coral reefs of Palau, with Dr. Woolsey as a guide.

Viewers got to swim with sharks, manta rays and sea turtles while exploring gorgeous aquatic landscapes and learning about the crucial role our oceans play—all from 360° and 3D footage captured by VRTUL 2 underwater storytelling VR cameras.


Hydrous then expanded on the idea to develop two more exciting augmented adventures using Meta Quest 2 technology: “Expedition Palau,” a live event where audiences can share a “synchronized immersive reality experience”, which includes live narration from Woolsey, and “Explore,” a “CGI experience” to enjoy the magic of the ocean at home.


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“I’ve been extremely fortunate to explore and study coral reefs around the world,” Woolsey said, sharing that it was “heartbreaking” to see these important habitats decay so rapidly while the latest scientific reports did not clearly lead to widespread compassionate action.

“How do we care about something we never see or experience?” she reflected. As she discovered, virtual reality would be a powerful solution for eliciting empathy. “VR has the ability to generate presence and agency and make you feel like you’re there. It's that emotional connection that can bridge scientific discovery and public understanding”

The combination of virtual reality and the ocean’s natural breathtaking beauty is, as Woolsey puts it, a “match made in heaven” for getting people more engaged in ocean education. “When you’re floating you can look up and down and all around you…seeing a school of fish surrounding you and reefs in these cathedral-like structures. Rather than watching a video of a scientist, you get to become the scientist.”

Hydrous also has special kits to provide middle school students hands-on learning about ocean life. In addition to a journal, activity cards and a smartphone VR viewer, each kit includes lifelike 3D printed model pieces of a coral reef so that middle school students can try building their own.

These reef models even turn white when temperatures rise inside the aquarium, which mimics the real “bleaching” that corals endure when they die due to higher than normal ocean temperatures. Students really do become scientists as they figure out how to bring color back to their reef.

While it’s true that the health of our oceans affects us all, the growing threats our oceans face—pollution, overfishing, climate change—don’t always affect us on an empathetic level. Through the use of technology, Woolsey has created an innovative way to connect hearts and minds to one of the Earth’s most important resources, which can inspire real and lasting change.

“We can’t bring everybody to the ocean, but we’re finding scalable ways to bring the ocean to everyone.”

To learn more about Hydrous, click here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

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