Ryan Delaney

Ryan is a reporter on the education desk at St. Louis Public Radio, covering both higher education and the many school districts in the St. Louis region. He has previously reported for public radio stations WFYI in Indianapolis and WRVO in upstate New York. He began his journalism career working part time for WAER while attending Syracuse University.
 
He's won multiple reporting awards and his work, which has aired on NPR, The Takeaway and WGBH's Innovation Hub. Having grown up in Burlington, Vt., he often spends time being in the woods hiking, camping, and skiing.

Editor's note: This story was reported and written before the spread of coronavirus forced widespread school closures across the U.S. — including the closure of South Central High School in Farina, Ill. We're publishing now because we think it's the kind of feel-good story many people need right now. We hope you agree.

Once a year, 15-year-old Brandt Hiestand gets a taste of the kind of independence every teenager longs for.

Not even Gary Bettman knew the name of the first black hockey player in the National Hockey League when he became league commissioner in 1993.

Bettman has since hired Willie O'Ree, who broke the NHL's color barrier when he skated for the Boston Bruins in 1958, as a league ambassador, part of what the league is doing to make its game more diverse.

It's the time of year when schoolchildren and, let's be honest, sometimes their parents, face a big decision: what gift to give their teacher for the holidays. There's the old standby, an apple on the desk. Gift cards are also convenient; and homemade cookies can earn bonus points. But many students get far more creative.

NPR Ed wants to know about the student gifts that still stand out among the cookies and cards of past holiday seasons.

Teachers, tell us: What's the most memorable gift you've received from a student? What made it great? Did it make you laugh or cry? Why have you held on to it?

Submit your story here, along with a photo. (You can also fill the form out here.) We may contact you for more information and feature your story on NPR.