Billings West student thrives with weekly weather report
BILLINGS – Billings West High School sophomore Jeremiah Yates caused a stir in the student community, becoming the first student to provide weekly weather forecasts during Wednesday’s school announcements.
“We’ll be stylish and sunny all weekend long. Get out there and enjoy the start of the fall season,” Yates said to begin his weather announcement Wednesday.
Yates started making the weekly weather forecast last spring. Since then, he has researched, written and delivered a concise weather report to his classmates through the school’s public address system. He always makes sure to spice up a weather-related joke.
“Why did the woman come out with her handbag open?” Because she expects a change in the weather, ”Yates said, repeating the very first joke in her weather announcement.
It’s safe to say that Yates has an intense interest in the weather, aroused because of his special needs. Jeremy has an aversion to the loud sound of thunder and has learned more about meteorology to allay his fears.
“I tried to do my best today,” Yates said.
The idea of having Yates update his peers on the weekly weather was pitched at a student council meeting last year. Yates served on the student council, along with Jack Wyss, then principal class president.
Wyss said the weather announcement was a way for students with special needs to be seen and involved in the school community.
“I hope Jeremiah’s example proves not only to the administration or the children, but to the entire community of West High and Billings that children with special needs deserve to be seen. They deserve to be seen. heard and at the end of the day they question, ”said Wyss, who now studies government at Harvard University.
Wyss was in Yates’ corner, rooting him every Wednesday until he graduated last year. When Yates first announced last year, he was distraught, according to Wyss.
“He was terribly, terribly nervous. He took it very seriously and put his weight on it. He had so much heart, but I could tell he was super nervous having to read it on the ads. A little bit. like, being there for him. Being a point of comfort for him and not just the first time around, but the rest of the year, “Wyss said.
Wyss said the weather announcements with Yates were definitely a highlight of Wyss’ senior year. Wyss quickly befriended Yates and the West High community welcomed Yates with open arms.
“Not only did West High kind of get closer to Jeremiah, but Jeremiah kind of returned that energy by forming a relationship with as many people as he could,” Wyss said.
“He also knew everyone by name. Which, in my opinion, was very telling about the type of person he is. He knew you by name and he knew things about you that you might have. forgotten that you told him. “
During a typical school day, Yates spends most of his time in the classroom of special education teacher Scott Felchle. But Yates moves on with his job by delivering slips to school classes and becomes active in an adapted physical education class.
Felchle said that with the help of the school administration and all of the teachers in West, they were able to integrate the weather segment into Yates’ education plan. In the weather, Jeremiah learns social skills, professionalism, English writing, new vocabulary words and science, Felchle said.
“I think it’s just the uniqueness of the students who are in my class, where I think they get a concept and really care about it. Being able to take that and expand it and modify it is what is amazing about my job. It’s funny. It’s not just the same day every day. I can change things with him, ”Felchle said.
Felchle said the student body has always been positive towards Yates, often giving him positive ratings and offering positive feedback.
“For him to have a comfort zone, knowing that he feels like he’s succeeding and he’s doing a really good job. And he tries it. There are a lot of behind the scenes that no one knows how much work there is to do every Monday and Tuesday before they have to get ready for next week, “said Felchle.
It takes a lot of courage for anyone to speak in front of thousands of their peers, let alone if you have special needs. Felchle said he hopes the lessons Yates taught will help him lead an independent life after high school.
“These children want to be able to go out, have a job and earn a salary. They must have the appropriate skills that will allow them to be successful in living independently. If we could do it. I think this is a major step that I can continue with, “said Felchle.
During his weather reports at the West High front office, Yates is dressed like new, dressed in a suit like the pros. When he’s not at school, Yates keeps a close watch on two TV channels: The Weather Channel and Q2.
Yates is a huge fan of the Q2 Weather Team and its multiple daily broadcasts. When it comes to weather announcements, Yates might as well be a bona fide MTN News reporter. It has a homemade MTN News name tag and often wears a fake microphone and news camera affixed with the MTN News logo.
The weather for Wednesday this week would hold a special surprise.
A few weeks ago, Yates sent a letter to Q2’s chief meteorologist, Ed McIntosh, asking if he would come to the school and help Yates deliver the weather announcement. With the help of West High Counselor Kim Petersen, the Q2 team organized a surprise visit.
McIntosh waited to hear Yates wrap up a flawless weather announcement. Petersen and Yates have a tradition after the announcements: she’ll ask Yates who’s better, her or Ed McIntosh. Each time, McIntosh is the big winner.
So when Petersen asked the question again on Wednesday, Yates had his socks taken off and met McIntosh.
Billings West High student meteorologist meets his hero
“He was the best meteorologist I have ever had in my life,” Yates said.
As a farewell gift for Yates, McIntosh gave his tie, which was patterned with sun and rain clouds, so that all future Wednesdays could be delivered in style.
Click here to view the latest temperatures and forecasts on ktvq.com