This article appeared in the February 14, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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On Valentine’s Day, two stories with heart

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School of Communication graduates of Howard University in Washington, D.C., celebrated at their commencement ceremony last May.

Today, we bring you two stories with heart – one from the pews and one from the stands.

The Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., went on a churchwide fast in January – not indulging in alcohol, sweets, social media, or “frivolous purchases.” Then they donated the money they saved: $150,000.

They used $100,000 to wipe out the outstanding debts of 34 college students at Howard University. Mya Thompson was one of those students. The mom, who works at a 911 call center in D.C., is on track to graduate this spring. The church paid the final $2,500 in tuition she needs to get her diploma.

Parishioners wanted students to feel supported by their community and “just never to give up hope,” a pastor told NPR.

Speaking of never giving up, at a high school basketball game Friday night, the teenage announcer sounded as excited as if the star player were coming onto the court: “Clay Warner, the heart and soul of North Polk, is coming into the game!”

Clay, a legally blind high school senior who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, loves basketball “more than anyone I’ve ever met,” his coach told The Washington Post. Clay also has a work ethic that never flags and a belief in his team that never falters. Before Friday night, he had never played one minute in a game.

It only took a minute for Clay to sink a shot using the rim of his glasses to aim.

His teammates, the opposing team, and the stands erupted. “This whole gym was yelling my name,” he told WHO-TV. “Everything, both benches were jumping.... It was like I was a little kid again.”

Now for our five stories of the day.

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This article appeared in the February 14, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 02/14 edition