The High Five
10:07 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Road To Somewhere: Introducing KERA's Class of ’17 Blog

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Spend four years with the future of North Texas, hear exactly what parenting sounds like, find out what crazy things global warming could make us do and more.

School starts in three weeks for North Texas students. One of those kids in the last days of summer: Chance Hawkins, a spirited 15-year-old who, like many of his peers, spent the months off reading the Captain Underpants series and killing it at Madden NFL. But making it to class will require more will and focus than many of his classmates. Chance has that -- and spunk, for days.

He also has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which confines him to a wheelchair. The disease is often fatal by age 25. It will be tough, as he's failed the 8th grade STARR test and waits in limbo before the year begins, but Chance intends to get through high school and graduate. KERA's Stella Chávez is tagging along on that journey with Chance and his family. She introduced him to you today on Morning Edition.

Through the next four years, Chávez and Bill Zeeble will be venturing behind the curtain of the DFW dropout crisis and entering the lives of students in the Class of '17. Today, we launch the blog where the reporters will chronicle these kids' victories and setbacks through sound and photography.  It'll be a long road, but it's an important one to watch.

  • How Hard Is It To Graduate From High School? Steely DFW Teens Will Tell You: We put Think host Krys Boyd in a room with four area teens who cleared incredible hurdles to graduate and two who’ve set their minds to do the same. (One of the bunch dropped out and came back; another student's mentally ill mother literally walked out of the house and didn’t return.) Peek at the roundtable, which Krys mostly excuses herself from in favor of letting the experts talk.  Students Speak Out: An American Graduate Special airs Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 7 p.m. on KERA TV Channel 13.

  • Plano Kids Are Still Losing Friends To Drugs: Steve Blow mourns the teen overdoses in Plano that are becoming a calloused routine in a column for the Dallas Morning News. It's not as bad as the heroin epidemic that crushed the city in the mid-90s, Plano police spokesman David Tilley says. But it's a quieter trend that now plagues the community: prescription drug addiction and overdose. Police urge friend-to-friend intervention, as the media and parents avoid more than they act.
  • The Sound Of Parenting, Via One Hungry Baby:  The question "What's it like to become a parent?" has finally been answered to satisfaction in the sound of a single night's work, by KUT's Matt Largey. His piece "Sweet Baby June Eats The World" won runner-up in the Third Coast International Audio Festival. June cries and gulps her way through two gorgeous minutes as her tired mother narrates: “And you do it until you hear this sound – which means she’s done. That’s the key in the nighttime, when the lights aren’t on.” You just have to hear it for yourself. Audiophiles can learn more about the contest and the other winning pieces in this NPR recap.
  • Climate Change Makes Us Violent And Ineffective, Study Warns: Notice impatient drivers on the road and more bickering as temps blazed this weekend? Complaining about the heat in these parts is sort of like playing covers on acoustic guitar – like white noise for natives. But there may be reason for alarm beyond melting eyeliner and impacted food supply. According to a study by Princeton and UC Berkeley, global warming could actually mean war – in everyday ways and on a broad level. Major shifts in weather line up with crumbling institutions, acute interpersonal violence and even actual war. Examples cited: The fall of the Mayan Civilization, dynastic switchovers in ancient China, European countries in conflict circa 1550 when the Little Ice Age came about. Since the world is expected to warm by at least 2 degrees Celsius over the next 30 years, this could be a problem. [Atlantic Cities]
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