Five stories that have North Texas talking: Jon Kitna takes high school math students to the endzone, Texas outdoes the nation in population growth, TNT drops Dallas Season Two secrets and more.
This time last year, Jon Kitna was diagramming plays as the backup to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. A year later, he’s diagramming algebra problems at his old high school in Tacoma, Wash.
And it’s not just any algebra class: Kitna tells Les Carpenter of Yahoo Sports that he asked for all the hard cases – the kids who wouldn’t listen, or try, or care. Carpenter picks the story up from there:
“The students who didn’t listen suddenly did. Those who never did work turned in assignments. And when the results of the math assessments came in, Kitna’s students were second best in the school. It wasn’t because their teacher was an NFL quarterback. Many of them didn’t have televisions at home. They had little idea who Jon Kitna was. No, this was something else. Something bigger. Something one of those two principals, Pat Erwin, considers in his office one recent day and finally calls: ‘The Kitna effect.’ ”
All in all, this is quite a tale – and it’s refreshing to read amid the sports-page headlines about intoxication manslaughter, murder-suicide and bounty scandals.
-- Rick Holter
- Texas gained more population than any other state in the country between July 1, 2011, and the same date this year. Census Bureau population estimates released yesterday show the state acquiring 427,400. California took second place with 357,500. Taking the new figures into account, Texas now holds 26,059,203 people. [Star-Telegram]
- And this state's unemployment rate dropped for the third month in a row, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. It now sits at 6.2 percent, with Midland doing the best at 3 percent for November. [AP]
- We already know some good and bad news about Dallas Season Two, which begins Jan. 28. Good news first: Judith Light joins the cast. And sadly, since Larry Hagman died over Thanksgiving weekend, TNT has said there will be an on-screen funeral for J.R. Ewing. The network slipped a preview of next season in a montage of moments from Season One. [Yahoo News]
- "If you can read this," writes NPR's Ted Burnham, "then congratulations on surviving the Mayan apocalypse!" The survival guide Burnham prepared "in case" the world ended acts as a universal refresh button of sorts upon waking to find the weekend's still on: Travel in packs. Basics first, but only after curing your hangover. [NPR]
A final note: The High Five is taking a few days off to spend time with its family (those holiday parties with the Mixmaster and the Horseshoe can get out of hand). We'll be back Wednesday, loaded with gifts to return. See you then!