Touching stories of 2015
With every issue published and each day spent updating our website, The Compass’ ed- itorial team strives to share stories that engage our readers. Over the course of the last year, we’ve covered stories from all sorts of angles and in- troduced readers to people who might otherwise not be on your radar.
Based on web traffic, we’ve put together this list counting down the top-10 stories of the past year that have touched readers in some way. As you’ll see, no two stories are quite alike on this list.
1. Remembering a teammate (April)
The death of 17-year-old Brandon Harris of Sibley’s Cove hit a lot of people hard. Obviously, his unexpected death just over a year ago was a shock for the family. As a young athlete involved in team sports, Brandon also had plenty of young teammates forced to come to terms with the tragedy.
Members of the CeeBees minor midget rep 1 team ultimately persevered, dedicating the remainder of the 2014-15 season to Brandon. At the opening ceremony in Harbour Grace for the midget D division provincial tournament, Brandon’s No. 6 jersey was retired. They eventually won the tournament, and reporter Nicholas Mercer captured the drama well in a story that was among The Compass’ most-read online articles of 2015.
2. Teen mom can’t bring baby to grad (April)
The story of Jessica Mason, who intended to bring her four- month-old daughter Iyla to her high school graduation, garnered a lot of feedback. There were diverse opinions on the question of whether Ascension Collegiate should allow Jessica to take her daughter to the dinner and grand march.
The school initially told the girl from Cupids Iyla could go, then changed its mind. The Compass published reporter Melissa Jenkins’ story midday on April 28, and before the end of the day, Ascension Collegiate reversed its decision.
3. Donation has extra meaning for parents of stillborn twins (November)
Nichole Tuttle and Robert Callahan of Bay Roberts found a special way to honour the oneyear anniversary of a rather unfortunate event. In November of 2014, Nichole gave birth to stillborn twins.
A year later, Robert and a very-pregnant Nichole returned to Carbonear General Hospital to donate a CuddleCot to the pediatric unit. It cools the body and gives the family extra time with the stillborn baby. It was a bittersweet moment for the couple, but they hoped the donation would help others facing similar situations. Reporter Nicholas Mercer was among those on hand to witness the donation.
4. Moms stand up to bullying (October)
School bullies seem to never go out of fashion, whether it’s the age of the chalkboard or the interactive whiteboard. Early in the current school year, two moms living in the Conception Bay North area reached out to The Compass to talk about their chil- dren’s struggles dealing with bullies.
Both parents suggest more needs to be done to combat bullying. Melissa Jenkins’ report also included comments from a local community policing officer and a spokesman for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District.
5. Charlene Johnson’s blogging adventure (June)
Long-time Progressive Conservative MHA Charlene Johnson said so long to political life in 2014, electing to follow her family to Southeast Asia, where her husband had a new job lined up. Coinciding with the move, Johnson created a blog to recount her family’s travels in the region.
The story attracted a lot of attention online, although it would appear Johnson’s own interest in the venture wavered. She has posted three entries in total, all made in June of this year.
6. Murder victim’s family wants his memory kept
The shocking murder of North River resident Dale Porter in June of 2014 remains an unsolved mystery. In April of this year, RCMP said it was ready to act on DNA evidence linked to the murder investigation, but no arrests were made.
Dale’s widow, Tammy Porter, spoke with reporter Melissa Jenkins about how his death impacted the family. It was an emotional conversation, and one that readers showed a great deal of interest in.
7. Junior Stars goalie back after cancer scare (October)
Jordan Dray was back on the ice this season for the Conception Bay North Junior Stars. A year earlier, the goalie had a bit of a scare when his mom noticed a lump on his throat. A biopsy suggested it could be cancerous, and doctors didn’t take any chances. Two surgeries took place to remove his thyroid, and Jordan has been doing well ever since.
8. Visible pain (March)
A young girl being picked on chose to put on a brave face with family, but she found a way to deal with the emotional
9. Placentia rallies around boy (June)
The family of 12-year-old Connor McGrath was facing a major challenge. Diagnosed with leukemia in July of 2013, he was later considered cancer-free, but doctors identified a recurrence this May. The family lived in Edmonton, but Connor’s treatment would take place in Calgary.
In Placentia, local runner Mattie Foley decided to help out the McGrath’s, who are originally from the area. He dedicated a 42-kilometre run from Dunville to Whitbourne to the family and raised over $1,800. An online campaign raised thousands of dollars more. pain through cutting, a form of self-harm. The girl’s family reached out to The Compass to speak about her troubling situation. Reporter Melissa Jenkins subsequently learned there were other similar cases cropping up at schools in the Conception Bay North area.
10. On the Green (June)
Rebecca Green of Green’s Harbour represents the sort of success story people tend to get behind. A smart student attending McGill University in Quebec with aspirations of working in sports medicine, Green is also an ace soccer player. This past year, she earned a spot on the women’s soccer team representing Canada at the World University Games in South Korea. Prior to the games, she sat down with The Compass to talk about the sport and her goals in life.
Teammates of the late Brandon Harris dedicated their performance at a provincial midget hockey tournament to the Sibley’s Cove native. His No. 6 jersey was retired at the opening ceremony.
Conception Bay North Junior Stars goalie Jordan Dray opened up this year about managing to beat cancer before it could even get ahold of his body.
Charlene Johnson, right, and her daughter Jorja.
Nichole Tuttle (left) and Robert Callahan stand next to the CuddleCot that they donated to Carbonear General Hospital in memory of their sons.
Jessica Mason (left), Brandon Bowering (right) and their daughter Iyla.
North River resident Dale Porter was murdered in 2014.
Connor McGrath was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in his young life earlier this year. Friends of the family in Placentia found ways to help out.
Rebecca Green represented her country as a member of the female soccer team at the World University Games in South Korea.