KIDSGAZETTE

Counting down this year's good news

Staff nurse Rachel Lewis administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to emergency room nurse David Conway at the Un
Staff nurse Rachel Lewis administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to emergency room nurse David Conway at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Conway, who works with COVID-19 patients on a daily basis, was the first individual in Iowa to receive the vaccine. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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We know the top news stories of 2020 weren’t exactly uplifting.

What started as headlines about an extended Spring Break in March quickly turned into a lot of doom and gloom about the coronavirus pandemic. Add on the derecho in August, and this year had more than enough bad news.

But, among those stories that made us feel sad or angry or defeated, were stories of people who did amazing things. Iowans who pulled together when it mattered most, who did kind things for other people. People who persisted and persevered.

As we countdown the last few days of 2020, let’s remember some of the good news of this year, in no particular order:

1. The vaccine

One of the best major news stories of this year was the approval of a vaccine for COVID-19, and the first dose of the vaccine was administered in Iowa on December 14. Gazette reporter Vanessa Miller was there when David Conway, a University of Iowa Health Care emergency department nurse, got his first shot. He said getting the vaccine felt “excellent,” Miller wrote, and that he hoped it would be the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

2. Cedar Rapids students form Black student unions

Black students at all four of Cedar Rapids’ high schools this year came together to advocate for systemic change within their school district. One student member, 17-year-old Deon Harrison, told Gazette reporter Grace King he wants to “build up students as African American leaders in every part of the school.” Students are also working with school and district administrators to include Black history in curriculum and hire more teachers of color.

3. Derecho recovery

After the powerful August 10 derecho, countless Cedar Rapidians stepped up to help each other get through the aftermath of the storm. One of those brave people was Christopher Brown, an 11-year-old who started his own cleanup effort in his neighborhood. It was a natural decision, he told Gazette reporter Kat Russell, because he prefers it when “things are clean and neat.” Strangers donated items like gloves and a wheelbarrow to Christopher so he could do his work safely.

4. Corgi party

Corgi fans continued meeting monthly in Iowa City to bond over their love for the adorable short-legged, heart-butted pups. Gazette reporter Erin Jordan went to one corgi bash, where she saw the corgis bark and play with each other. 10-year-old Anna Mascardo started the group with Penny Podhajsky, 49, and the Corridor Corgis Club meetings usually see between 12 and 20 dogs.

5. Cora sees the world

With her sister, Cora, stuck at home during the pandemic because of a rare genetic condition, 5-year-old Becca asked her mom if they could collect painted rocks from around the world so Cora, 7, could “see the world.” Gazette reporter Diana Nollen talked to the family about Becca’s wish for her sister and how it motivated strangers to send more than 300 beautiful painted rocks to Cora. They’re now in a rock garden at the family’s house in Iowa City.

Comments: molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.