Channel 69 meteorologist educates QE students about potential career

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By Gary Weckselblatt

About 40 Quakertown Elementary School fourth graders learned this week that if they love math and science, a career in meteorology could be for them.

Clayton Stiver of channel 69 news spoke to the students of Christa Held and Steve Wysocki about why he loves his job, what it took to get it and how he develops the weather forecast.

"I think whenever we connect learning to the real world for students, we win a small victory and perhaps inspire young people who will become involved in wide variety of careers as they reach adulthood," Wysocki said. "One of the most important lessons our fourth-grade students learned today is to find what you are passionate about and do what it takes to achieve it and, as Clayton Stiver did, you might just turn it into a career you love."

Stiver told students that a meteorologist is an atmospheric scientist who studies the weather. He asked them if they like math and science. When nearly all hands went up, he said, "That's good, because you have to take some really hard classes" in those subjects to become a meteorologist.

During his PowerPoint presentation, Stiver showed students how he predicts the weather with maps and data. "A lot more goes into it than fancy graphics," he said. On TV, he only gets about two and a half to three minutes on air to explain the forecast, and his graphics have to be informative and understandable.

He typically gets to the offices of Channel 69 in Allentown at 3 a.m. for his 5 a.m. on-air appearance. But, he said, if there's a significant weather situation, he might have to get to work by 1 a.m. "I have to deal with these crazy hours," he said. "It's not a 9 to 5 job. And you have to work holidays."

Stiver described himself as a "weather nerd" and "weather geek." He had weather posters on his wall as a kid and continues that practice to this day, which his wife sometimes questions him about. "I'm proud of it because I like what I do," he said.

He also likes getting out of the office to explain his job to young people. "One of the best things I get to do is visit schools and speak to students," he said.

Held said the educational aspect of Stiver's visit is important. In addition, however, "It gets the students thinking about their future," she said.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.

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