Fox WEATHERWATCH at your school

Posted: January 20, 2010 in 1
Fox WEATHERWATCH at Your School
On Tour with School Children: Meeting Alyssa

Local television broadcasters often go out into the community and spend time in schools. So, visits with school children is a routine part of my schedule. As a meteorologist I love to talk about math and science with kids. In 2008, I was challenged to see 10,000 school kids in one school year. As you might imagine, it was a busy year with two to four schools per week. I went to school in McHenry County, down to LaSalle County, over to Porter County in Indiana (and everywhere in between!) It was a big adventure and by the end of the school year, I met my goal! By the summer of 2008, we started another school outreach program with the Chicago White Sox called “Fox at Sox” Weather Education Day where school children came early to the field and learned about the science behind the game of baseball. It was so successful, we had a second “Fox at the Sox” Education Day in 2009.

Kids love to hear about the weather and it was a real treat to be invited to another school outreach program to kick off 2010. The first ever Chicago Wolves Education Day was January 13th. More than 6,000 students had a field trip day to All State Arena. I was asked to teach a weather lesson on the temperatures needed to make hockey ice. It was a fun presentation up on the JumboTron and before the game started I was also lucky enough to drop the ceremonial first puck. The kids were of course happy to be out of school for the day — but what a thrill for everyone there to see the ageless Chris Chelios (he will be 48 soon!) score a goal in the first period! Each student took home a special workbook filled with math, science, and reading projects. But before the day was over a man approached and asked if I was willing to meet a student. I was told this 10 year old young lady was blind but had heard me on the loud speaker and wanted to say hello.

As we met and her teacher began taking photos, Alyssa said “It’s me! I’m the one who’s been emailing you! It’s Alyssa!” Although we had never met in person before — I had received emails from Alyssa asking great questions about the weather. She had told me she was blind over email but that didn’t slow down her questions. They just kept coming and as we corresponded I couldn’t help but wonder if her parents were getting tired of sending all the emails back and forth!! When we finally met in person this week at the Wolves game I asked Alyssa who had helped her with all her emails. She told me she has a special computer and can send emails herself! Wow!

I was so thrilled to meet Alyssa. We talked about how loud the crowd was for the Wolves, how hard the players were smashing into the boards, and I let her hold the souvenir puck that the Wolves game me at the start of the game. I have met with tens of thousands of students. Each one has their own way of learning and discovering new things. Many times the schools thank me for coming — but it’s often my reward to rub elbows with such bright and delightful minds! Alyssa has all the qualities needed to be a wonderful student: she asks great questions, she’s a good listener, she writes well, she speaks up when she wants to get something done (Bring me the Weather Lady!), and Alyssa is curious! I’m glad we’re friends! Go Wolves!

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