By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer
  1. Chicago Cubs win the World Series ChampionshipAfter 108 years, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series Championship in baseball history after playing against the Cleveland Indians. The baseball team had supposedly been “cursed” since 1945 after a man who attended their game was kicked out for bringing in a billy goat. The man declared that the Cubs would never win another game, but just this year they have come around and successfully brought home the win.
  2. Ellen DeGeneres awarded the Presidential Medal of FreedomEllen DeGeneres of The Ellen Show was honored the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in November. This medal is the highest civilian honor in the nation that recognizes individuals who have made a difference in world culture, peace, and other interests. Celebrities such as DeGeneres who were also awarded were Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, and more.
  3. MoanaDisney’s first ever Polynesian princess was brought to life in the movie Moana. This animated film tells the story of Moana, the daughter of the chief of a small Polynesian island called Motunui, and her daring adventure to help save her island with the help of the demi-god Maui. Auliʻi Cravalho, a Mililani girl who was discovered at the age of 14, voices Moana while Samoan actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson voices the demi-god Maui.
  4. Rock the TroopsThis military tribute was held back in October in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaiʻi to honor troops who have served and are still serving in the United States military. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson hosted and co-produced this event and had the help of other celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Terry Crews, and more. Organizers expected 25,000 guests to attend, but more than 45,000 showed up.
  5. Saved the rainforest – British Columbia unveiled an agreement in February to protect rainforests along their coastline, including the Great Bear Rainforest. About 85 percent  of forest within the Great Bear Rainforest is protected under the agreement, which is one of the largest rainforests in the world. Within the Great Bear Rainforest inhabits the Spirit Bear, which is a rare subspecies of the black bear but instead is covered in white fur.
  6. Finally freed Willy – After SeaWorld was put in the spotlight for the death of one of its trainers Dawn Brancheau by the orca Tilikum, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc. said that it will stop breeding killer whales that are kept captive. SeaWorld has agreed to end its captive breeding of orca whales in San Diego, San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando, Florida.
  7. And the Oscar goes to… – After being nominated previously four times but never awarded, Leonardo DiCaprio won his first ever Oscar award during the ceremony held back in February. As he got his award engraved, he jokingly asks the engraver “You do this every year? I wouldn’t know.”
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers win NBA finals – The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in game 7 of the NBA finals, winning its first championship. LeBron James had a plan to bring home a trophy, and in the end successfully received their first Larry O’Brien Championship.
  9. Michael Phelps and his many medals – The U.S. olympic swimmer Michael Phelps competed in his final race during the Summer Olympics held in Rio, leading the U.S. to victory after winning the 400-meter relay. Phelps ended his career with an astounding total of 28 medals, 23 of them being gold medals. According to the Los Angeles Times, no other athlete in any sport in the olympics has more than nine gold medals.
  10. Unemployment rate decreased – The Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate had fallen to 4.6 percent, which is the lowest it has ever been in nine years. NBC News reported that when comparing result to when President Obama had first taken office in 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.
  11. “Love is love is love”Hamilton: An American Musical featuring the now well known Lin Manuel Miranda took off in the broadway industry as a success. The musical took home 11 Tony Awards along with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama Award. Miranda delivered an emotional speech as he accepted the award for Best Score just hours after a shooter in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killed 49 people.
  12. Mind controlled “brain caps” – Scientists from the University of Minnesota have created new technology that allows people to control robotic arms with their only their minds. A specialized “brain cap” was designed to fit 64 electrodes, allowing people to convert their thoughts into actions. The discovery can potentially help millions of people who are paralyzed or have a neurodegenerative disease be able to move again.
  13. Standing Rock Victory – The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won in its battle to stop an oil pipeline from being built near its Indian reservation. The Department of the Army had announced that it would not allow the creation of the pipeline to be settled under a section of the Missouri River, but instead will look for alternative routes. Construction of the Dakota Access pipeline would cost approximately $3.7 billion.
  14. Endangered species became not so endangered – Manatee’s, wolves, grizzly bears, giant pandas, and many more have been taken off of the endangered species list. Some animals are still considered “vulnerable”, but nonetheless these species have made a comeback and are slowly rising in population.
  15. Plant a seed and receive a tree – India has set the world record for planting 49.3 million tree saplings in just one day. About 800,000 volunteers had reportedly contributed to this effort, working for 24 hours to plant 80 species of trees around many places in India. The effort was part of a commitment where India agreed to spend $6 billion to reforest 12 percent of its land.
  16. Joe Biden Memes – After hearing the news of Donald Trump winning the presidential election, the U.S. needed something to laugh through the tears. Out came the Joe Biden memes, there to rescue almost everyone from pain as we move into the new year. Whatever the case, if Joe ends up removing all of the pens within the White House, at least the country will know that Trump will be bringing his own “Pence”.