Things That Matter

An Adorable Moment Is Making The Rounds After An 8-Year-Old Boy Consoled His Crying Classmate With Autism On The First Day Of School

The first day of school jitters can affect different people in different ways. For young children, this is especially true. While some kids might feel excited to start the new year in a new classroom, with a new class schedule, teachers, and new friends — others are completely terrified of the change. And it’s completely okay. So when an 8-year-old boy helped his classmate deal with the first day of school jitters by holding his hand as they both walked into school, our hearts couldn’t help but melt. 

On August 14, a photo of 8-year-old Christian Moore holding his classmate’s hand, Connor Crites, during their first day of the second grade at the Minneha Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas. It was the purest moment on the internet in weeks.

Crites told local reporters that he was having a difficult day and that his classmate, Christian Moore, extended his hand to him in a kind gesture. “He was kind to me,” the second-grader told KAKE. “I started crying and then he helped me. And, I was happy. He found me and held my hand and I got happy ears.” 

Moore’s mother, the second-grader who reached out to Crites after he saw he was struggling during his first day of school, wrote on Facebook that she was “so proud of her son.” 

“[He saw] a kid balled up into a corner crying, so he went to console him, grabbed his hand and walked him inside of the school! It is an honor to raise such a loving, compassionate child! He’s a kid with a Big heart, the first day of school started off write, she wrote in the caption.” 

While this is such a simple and sweet gesture, it’s important to highlight the importance of this because we don’t see it often. 

(Photo credit: Courtney Coko Moore)

Sometimes children aren’t super comfortable with showing a softer side, especially in school, so to see this happen among two young boys gives a bit of hope that we can see more and more moments like this.

Moore’s Facebook photo quickly gained a lot of attention and has been shared over 27,000 times in a matter of days. It’s also gotten over 21,000 likes and over 7,000 comments. 

Folks shared their positive thoughts in Moore’s Facebook comments calling the moment “beautiful” and other comments told the mother that the photo warmed their hearts.

(Photo credit: Courtney Coko Moore/Facebook comments)

One commentator said the 8-year-old’s actions were a testament to what a wonderful mother she is. (We definitely agree with that!)

Other people continued to root him on and express how it makes them happy to see young kids support each other in this way. 

(Photo credit: Courtney Coko Moore/Facebook comments)

After all, it shows our future generations supporting one another. We’re so glad that other young kids who might come across this post will see how they, too, can show kindness through their actions in someone else’s moment of need. It doesn’t take a lot to be kind or lend a helping hand, and 8-year-old Christian Moore is a perfect example of that.

Most importantly, however, April Crites, the mother of the other boy in the photo, also came across the post.

“Tell your son I said thank you so very much! That little boy he helped is my son and is autistic,” Crites commented on Moore’s post, according to KWCH-TV. “I worry every day that he is going to get bullied for being different and your son just absolutely warmed my heart. If there were more children like him I wouldn’t worry about such things.” 

No parent should have to live with that fear when sending his/her daughter/son to school every morning. Children should be taught to be kind to one another instead of bully each other. So, we’re definitely glad that there are parents raising their kids to act out of compassion and empathy first and foremost, like those of 8-year-old Christian Moore. 

According to KWCH-TV, Crites, the mother of the boy who was feeling anxious on his first day of school, struggles with speech. She also hopes that this could be the start of a beautiful friendship between the two boys after sharing this moment together. 

Crite’s mother also went on comment on Moore’s Facebook post that “it doesn’t matter color, it doesn’t matter gender, it doesn’t matter disability, and it doesn’t matter anything, just be kind, open your heart… it’s what we need in this world.” 

We can totally get behind this sentiment. This moment should serve as an example and as a testament to what kindness can do. 


Princeton Just Announced Its First Black Valedictorian In Its Long History

Things That Matter

Princeton Just Announced Its First Black Valedictorian In Its Long History

ABC News/ Twitter

To date, Princeton University is ranked at the very top of universities in the United States. It also carries one of the most notable academic histories in the United States to date. With all of its achievements, you would think Princeton would have little else to brag about in terms of student accomplishments but recently, the New Jersey-based Ivy League university made history once again.

On Monday, the private research university, which was founded in 1746, announced that it had named its first black valedictorian in its 274-year history.

Nicholas Johnson is a Canadian student majoring in operations research and financial engineering and was named valedictorian of Princeton’s Class of 2020.

In a news release published by Princeton University, the institution announced the history-making news. Speaking to CNN, Johnson called the nomination empowering. “Being Princeton’s first Black Valedictorian holds special significance to me particularly given Princeton’s historical ties to the institution of slavery,” Johnson explained through Facebook message. “I hope that this achievement motivates and inspires younger black students, particularly those interested in STEM fields.”

According to the university’s news release, his most memorable moments during his studies included spending time with “close friends and classmates engaging in stimulating discussions — often late at night — about our beliefs, the cultures and environments in which we were raised, the state of the world, and how we plan on contributing positively to it in our own unique way.”

During his time at Princeton, Johnson took part in international internships and cultural immersion trips across the globe. Including Peru. According to Princeton, Johnson’s senior thesis developed an algorithm to “design a community-based preventative health intervention to decrease obesity in Canada”

In the coming months, Johnson looks like he’ll be stepping into a pretty bright future.

He’s set to intern this summer as a hybrid quantitative researcher and software developer at a global investment and technology development firm called D.E. Shaw Group. In the fall, he will venture out to pursue his Ph.D. studies in operations research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

CoolSpeak Is A Youth Organization Trying To Uplift Nuestra Gente By Giving Them Important Tools

Things That Matter

CoolSpeak Is A Youth Organization Trying To Uplift Nuestra Gente By Giving Them Important Tools

As a community, it’s important we focus on making connections – it’s how we support one another and make sure that everyone’s voice is heard as loudly as possible. Our comunidad is all too often under attack and too many of us aren’t given the same opportunities and same encouragement as others.

That’s where CoolSpeak comes in to the picture. CoolSpeak is fueled by passion, the passion to spark inspiration and help people discover all they can achieve.

CoolSpeak is the youth engagement organization that is showing nuestra gente that every dream can be realized.

As a Latinx-led organization, CoolSpeak leverages the cool language kids speak to design and develop programs and events that build upon the traditional youth motivational speaking – while making sure the content speaks to minority and often forgotten communities.

These guys aren’t going into the country’s highest-rated schools and repeating the same content over and over. They’re visiting schools and students that will benefit the most from their powerful, authentic, and emotional stories – kids who can see themselves in the speakers.

Since 2009, CoolSpeak has visited thousands of middle schools, high schools and colleges in over 40 states, while serving over a million students. Beyond the students themselves, CoolSpeak works with and inspires parents and teachers from around the world.

So who are the visionaries behind this idea pushing kids to chase their dreams?

CoolSpeak actually started off as a graduate research project that impressed professors but didn’t go much further. Its two founders, Carlos Ojeda Jr. and Ernesto Mejia, were both then involved in the world of higher education and it wasn’t until the pair met in 2009 that CoolSpeak began to take shape.

At the time, Carlos was just 23 and admits that he “didn’t know shit” when it came to inspiration speaking. He had his story which he felt would really speak to young students but knew he needed to explore and get to know himself better. So he did just that.

As the two came together to form CoolSpeak, they had three objectives: inspire students, engage parents, and empower teachers. Since 2009, Carlos and Ernesto have worked tirelessly to make CoolSpeak the company that it is today.

For me, the biggest achievement in all of this is the group’s ability to get kids – and their parents – motivated and taking charge of their futures.

Credit: SaludAmerica / Instagram

I know growing up I had zero parent participation in my school work. And if my parents weren’t involved and basically making me do my homework or helping with reports, I wasn’t doing them. It was hard to stay motivated.

So the fact that this team doesn’t just get students and educators involved, but also works to engage parents is a huge deal. Our mamas and papas are often way too busy with their own jobs to be involved as they want to be – but CoolSpeak meets them at their level.

And many students are so empowered and moved by the speakers, they’ll go home and tell their parents, te amo mami. This gets parents wondering what is going on.

And the way they’re accomplishing this is some next level inspirational speaking.

CoolSpeak programs are designed to push the envelope of student engagement while ensuring that the material is highly interactive, full of energy and impactful. The company provides programs on various topics ranging from leadership development, diversity, college readiness and overcoming obstacles.

As an organization, CoolSpeak does literally zero marketing. As they say: the proof is in the pudding. It’s in the work they do and the results they help students achieve.

They help bring in motivational speakers who speak and look like the students – and who come from similar backgrounds. It’s important for them that the students/parents/educations see themselves in their team of speakers. From middle school aged kids all the way up to first year college students, CoolSpeak has 40 different programs across the U.S aimed at empowering vulnerable communities.

An example Ernesto pointed out during a recent interview, is they work to serve students with migrant parents who may be working in agriculture during the on-going crisis. Then helping set these students up with all they need to make it through their first year.

One of the keys to their success (and of the students) is their diverse team of speakers. They’re exceptionally skilled at sharing their unique stories and experiences. They’re truly transparent in what’s happened to them in their lives – they get brutal and gritty – they get naked with their soul.

And they’re looking to give back during this unprecedented health crisis.

In an interview with Carlos and Ernesto, the two shared they they plan to make a lot of the content they share available for free through this health crisis. They want to give back and help maintain some level of motivation and normalcy for the millions of students who are without their usual routines – often bored at home.

The team is already working on content related to the experience of Latinos and Covid-19, including poetry by Joaquin Zihuatanejo – a Slam Poetry world champion. Some examples of content that we might be looking forward to in the coming weeks could be:

  • Workshops to help parents be better at-home teachers
  • Tips for helping students develop leadership skills
  • Best practices for scholarship writing
  • How to write and reflect on whats’s going in students’ lives

Whether you’re an education professional, a parent, or even a student, CoolSpeak wants to hear from you.

Credit: @CoolSpeak / Twitter

The lasting impact that CoolSpeak continues to make on the world would not be possible if it was not for the incredible team members in the company and the visionary businesses who continue to support the dream of two passionate individuals who simply wished to provide transformative resources for students.

If you’re interested, get in touch with your school’s administrator directly via the team’s website or connect with them on social media. They’re always looking to give back and support the community that’s supported them.