Students Support Topeka Math Teacher, KU Mom

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Students in one Topeka classroom are rooting for the Kansas Jayhawks to make it all the way. Their Farley Elementary School teacher says raising a star athlete starts in the classroom.

Debbie Withey is surrounded by four-footers daily, but lately, all she can think about her her seven-footer on the road to the championship.

Mrs. Withey usually has her mind on math, but lately, she spends her days worrying.

"Nervous. Like driving to school I just have to stop and pray all the time, just like all week worrying if he got hurt walking to class, it's just constant," Withey said.

"One day she was here when he was about to play and she kept on saying when we were taking our quiz, 'I hope KU wins. I hope KU wins!'" said Quinton Zweisler, Farley Elementary School 3rd grader.

See, Mrs. Withey loves all her kids, but one in particular stands a little taller than the rest. Mrs. Withey gave birth to Jeff Withey, KU's 7-foot star center, and the Big 12 defensive player of the year.

Mrs. Withey says Jeffree, as she calls him, was big from birth. He started playing basketball on a third grade team when he was in kindergarten.

"The coach had to call a time out to go out there and tie his shoes for him because he was in kindergarten, you know?" said Withey. "And when we went to Disney Land, he couldn't go into Goofy's house because he was too big. Yeah, I'll never forget that."

"He's really good at rebounding and I think on the game they said he was a 95 percent free throw shooter," said Zweisler.

Between assignments, Farley Elementary School students have tuned in to basketball games, rooting for their math teacher and her son.

"If you watched him in high school you'd have seen glimpses of it. We knew," Withey said. "It's just wonderful that he's getting the recognition and I think he is the X-factor."

Jeff Withey transferred to Kansas from Arizona. The Withey family is originally from San Diego but say they support both teams from Kansas.


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