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HOYT LAKES, Minn. — Allyson and Tony Ponto were married in 2005 and wanted children immediately. Pregnancy happened quickly, but it didn't last. Allyson experienced her first ectopic pregnancy — when a fertilized egg attaches outside of the uterus — and then it was two years before she became pregnant again. The same thing happened, and then again, and again. "We had a lot of trouble," Allyson said, but they didn't give up.
DULUTH — For more than a decade, Duluth's high schools have been without a seven-period day. A way to deal with cuts in state funding, the decision to move to six periods has long been lamented by students, parents and educators. Five years ago, Duluth's middle schools suffered the same fate.
DULUTH — Billy's life in pictures was laid out on the floor between him and a couple of other students: Billy skydiving and blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Pictures of his newborn niece and his family at a Christmas celebration. "You see me, you prejudge; every person does," said Billy, an inmate at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center in Saginaw, Minnesota. "But you see these pictures. He has a family, he travels. Once you start looking at it from this perspective, you start saying there is a lot more we can do as a society."
There are only a few desks in Cindy Nelson's first-grade class at Hermantown Elementary School, and they're not lined up in rows. Kids pick from those, along with scoop rockers, wobbly stools, cushions for lap desks and kneeling tables, beanbags, yoga balls and mats and camp chairs. Those are their seats to read or do their work. Nelson started out small a couple of years ago with alternative seating in her class, and this year went all in.
DULUTH — Matthew Campbell could not tell his parents he was depressed. It was only a little over a year ago that the Duluth East High School senior began treatment for depression, after several years of feeling unhappy, which turned to self-loathing and ultimately, to thoughts of suicide. The breaking point came during a night when his parents discovered the varsity soccer goalie and student government leader was failing three classes. He broke down crying in front of them, but wasn't able to share his struggles. "I couldn't get the words out," he said.
DULUTH — Jennifer Storm remembers the night she and her young daughter drove over the Blatnik Bridge to Duluth together for the first time. The sun was setting and the city was bathed in a warm pink light. Storm's daughter, Sophia, was excited to enter Duluth, a place she had heard mentioned so many times. For Storm, it was a moment she had envisioned every night as she tried to sleep: What would be playing on the radio? What would the city's lights look like cresting over the bridge? What would it be like to feel safe?
DULUTH — Heading back to class can be nerve-wracking for kids of any age. As much of the Northland returns to school this week,Forum News Service gathered tips from students and school leaders on how to ease the transition and settle into a new year. From taking "movement breaks" when you need them, going to class regularly and setting up routines for homework, students and school staff had a lot to say. For school newbies Lola Prado, Lowell Elementary, grade 1: • "Do not bite. Just do kindness."
DULUTH, Minn.—By many accounts, Kong James Xiong is one of the most well-known and well-liked students at Duluth Denfeld High School. Just this year, he was involved in more than a dozen extracurricular activities ranging from Key Club to varsity tennis, he tutored other kids after school and was named homecoming king. Despite that, Kong, who graduates Thursday with Denfeld's Class of 2017 and will attend Carleton College on a full scholarship next fall, is humble and approachable, said Denfeld English teacher Michele Helbacka.
When Hermantown school district staff began hearing students discuss the plot of Netflix's popular new series "13 Reasons Why," many became concerned and watched it themselves. "It's pretty graphic," said Jenny Wiese, principal of the middle school. The show is based on a book and tells the story of 17-year-old Hannah Baker, who takes her own life. She reveals why through a series of tapes intended for people she says played a role in her decision to kill herself.
DULUTH — Samantha Jackson balanced her 9-month-old baby, Elias, carefully on her lap inside 6th Judicial District Judge Sally Tarnowski's courtroom one January day. Gathered around four heavy tables pushed together in the middle of the room, Jackson and Elias — there for a hearing — were joined by Tarnowski, attorneys and social workers. There was good news to be finalized: Jackson was regaining full custody of her two children, and her child protection case was being closed.