Ismam Islam starts lighting the candles

Ismam Islam starts lighting candles Wednesday in Speakers Circle at the MU Muslim Student Organization candlelight memorial and prayer session for the victims of religious terrorism in Peshawar, Pakistan. Islam, who is a member of the Muslim Student Organization, led the memorial.

Jakeenan Gant shoots a free throw

Missouri freshman forward Jakeenan Gant shoots a free throw against Xavier on Saturday. Gant finished with 13 points, but Xavier topped the Tigers, 74-58.

Chiefs players celebrate sack

Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali, right, celebrates after sacking Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr during the second half of Sunday's game in Kansas City, Missouri.

Gaines having impact as rookie

St. Louis Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines, center, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald regroup after a play in the Rams game against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 23 in San Diego, California.

Makalya Butler plays guard at Stephens

Stephens College freshman Makayla Butler is a guard on the school's basketball team. Butler posed for a portrait during practice Wednesday.

Stephens portrait Dana Heggemann

Stephens College junior Dana Heggemann plays forward for the school's basketball team. Heggemann posed for a portrait during practice on Wednesday.

High Steppers march after parade

In this file photo, members of the Missouri High Steppers march on Ninth Street after a bike parade on Sept. 9, 2011. The two events kicked off the Root 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ weekend.

U.S. releases three of Cuban Five

Tourists riding in a classic American car drive by a billboard showing "The Cuban Five" that reads in Spanish "End the injustice. Freedom now." on Wednesday in Havana, Cuba. The men, who are hailed as heroes in Cuba, were convicted in 2001 in Miami on charges including conspiracy and failure to register as foreign agents in the U.S. On Wednesday, three of the five Cubans were released by the U.S. in exchange for U.S. citizen Alan Gross and an unnamed Cuban man who was imprisoned for nearly 20 years for spying for the United States. Two of the Cuban Five had previously been released after finishing their sentences.

FROM READERS: Stephens College senior Cheyenne Smith holds her foster cat, Moe

Stephens College senior Cheyenne Smith holds her foster cat, Moe, from Second Chance. Students at Stephens College are able to foster cats and dogs through a partnership between the animal shelter and the college.

FROM READERS: Sandra Wicklund, a freshman at Stephens College, with her foster cat Emily

Sandra Wicklund, a freshman at Stephens College, is fostering Emily, a cat from Second Chance. Wicklund is a pre-veterinary student at Stephens.

FROM READERS: Tiawna Johnson, a Stephens College sophomore, snuggles up with her foster cat

Tiawna Johnson, a Stephens College sophomore, snuggles up with her foster cat, CP. There are 20 scholarships available to students at Stephens College in exchange for fostering animals from Second Chance, a no-kill animal shelter in Columbia.

Bennett calls parents of child

Rachel Bennett calls a parent to talk about a student on Nov. 7 in her office at Muriel Battle High School. "I love working with teenagers who maybe need a little more extra support, stability and encouragement, and I love working with those parents, too," Bennett said.

'Spartan Time' gives students a free period and a break

Rachel Bennett talks to Marea Brown and Eliya Todd on Dec. 5 during "Spartan Time," a free period for students. Bennett was a Spanish teacher at Oakland Middle School before coming to Battle High School, where she is now an assistant principal.

Bennett listens in on a science class to give feedback

Rachel Bennett listens in Dec. 5 as science teacher Phillip Popham helps Jordan Carothers with an assignment. Bennett does "walkthroughs" every Friday in the foreign language and science class to assess the teachers and give them feedback.

Walkie-talkie rests on Bennett's waist

A walkie-talkie sits at Rachel Bennett's waist on Nov. 7. Administrators at Muriel Battle High School use the walkie-talkies to communicate with one another.

Rachel Bennett eats dinner with her children

Rachel Bennett sits down to eat dinner Nov. 9 with her boyfriend Andrew McCarthy, another assistant principal at Battle, and her children Eliyah, Brookson, Samuel and David. Bennett has been fostering kids for the past 12 years, and in that timespan, she has taken in more than 30 children.

Laughter ensues after brushing teeth

Rachel Bennett and her son Samuel laugh as Samuel throws a towel off his head after Bennett helped him brush his teeth on Nov. 9. Samuel, 2, is the youngest of Bennett's children and is adopted.

Rachel Bennett reads with her children

Rachel Bennett's kids Eliyah and Brookson laugh as she helps Samuel read a "My First Alphabet" book on Nov. 2. Bennett has seven kids, five of whom are adopted.

Rachel Bennett hugs a football player following a win

Rachel Bennett hugs Quetin McHenry, a Battle High School football player, on Nov. 14 after the team's win over Fort Zumwalt North. As assistant principal, one of Bennett's jobs is to attend school sporting events to supervise the students.

Junior Lauren Reedy practices backflips

Members of the Missouri diving team watch junior Lauren Reedy practice backflips during a Sept. 30 practice at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.