From left to right, third grade students Lavelle Buchanan, Tamajah Hayes, Natasha Corona de la Torre, Demetrianna Spivey and Mhegan Smithee sit on a rug across from a group of chicks on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, at Blue Ridge Elementary School in Columbia. Mhegan said her favorite thing about the chicks is that they chirp and feel soft.

Protesters face the Roy Blunt Building during a protest on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, at the Virginia Avenue Garage in Columbia, Mo. The Coalition of Graduate Workers hosted the protest in disapproval of the University of Missouri’s decision to drop its campus mask mandate.

Community member Sheila Vazquez receives ashes during an Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Columbia, Mo. The ashes, which are prepared by burning and blessing palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration, represent death and repentance for sins.

Newly-wed couple Kara and Stephen Knight browse vinyls on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at Hitt Records in Columbia, Mo. Kara said since she bought Stephen a new record player this past Christmas, it has added even more “fuel for a fire to come and get records.” They often come to Hitt Records in search of unique, one-of-a-kind albums.

Sixth grader Jeremiah James lets a snake slither through his hair on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, at Jefferson Middle School in Columbia. “My mom’s gonna make me take a shower when I get home. She hates snakes,” Jeremiah said.

Peoples’ Defense founder Roy Lovelady gazes into a mirror on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, at 360 Star Styling Studio in Columbia, Mo. Lovelady said this salon is one of a few meeting grounds for the organization.

Chamber of Commerce ambassador Cathy Cook, left, dances with Truman the Tiger on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at Raising Canes in Columbia, Mo. Chamber of Commerce ambassador Michele Spry said “giving back to the community and celebrating these wonderful things,” is her favorite part of being involved.

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