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Published on February 4th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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First grader pursues his interest in becoming a meteorologist

Pictured: Seven Oaks Elementary School first grader Kalieb Johnson gives the forecast with WLTX meteorologist Daniel Bonds

COLUMBIA – Kalieb Johnson is not your average seven-year-old. While many first graders might spend their weekends catching up on cartoons and playing with friends, Kalieb finds entertainment in something quite different: He watches The Weather Channel.

“I want to be a meteorologist,” Kalieb said, the tone of his voice willing it to happen. “I have been fascinated with weather since I was four. I want to be a storm chaser…help protect people from bad weather like tornadoes and tell them what the weather will be like every day.”

He’s well on his way. At Seven Oaks Elementary School MEDIA Magnet, Kaleib and students like him have an opportunity to hone their skills in the school’s broadcast studios. Complete with green screen, radio studio, control room and anchor desk; the school has provided the equipment and guidance for students to produce television and radio shows – opportunities educators think could point students to future careers.

“Kalieb is the perfect example of what we hope our students gain from the magnet program,” said Karen Ogen, magnet coordinator for the school that focuses on MEDIA (Mass Communication, Engagement, Digital Media, Interactive learning and Academics). “Whether or not a student is interested in broadcast, they all get the experience and gain skills critical for any learner. The only problem for Kalieb has been getting him to understand that he can’t be the weatherman for every school morning show…Believe me, he has tried.”

Precocious? Yes, and persistent, his grandfather Jethro Currie said.

“He’s not your typical kid in that he doesn’t watch a lot of cartoons. His favorite channel for a while now has been The Weather Channel…he gets locked into watching the weather reports because he’s convinced this is what he’s going to do,” Currie said. “The school has helped him, letting him try it out and keeping his mind on it. One day he wants to be an architect, another day he wants to be a police investigator…but he always comes back to meteorology somehow.”

Recently Kalieb visited a local television station in Columbia for a tour and to assist in the weather forecast, a trip organized through teachers at the Lexington-Richland District Five school. Sweeping his hand across the green screen and pointing to the digital map of South Carolina, Kalieb seemed at home with reporting the forecast.

“He already knows a lot about weather,” said WLTX Meteorologist Daniel Bonds. “It is fun to see a first grade student so interested in being a meteorologist. I truly expect to see Kalieb delivering the forecast to us in about 16 years.”

Settling into the news desk and being at the station only confirmed what Kalieb says he’s known for a long time.

“I’m going to be a meteorologist,” he said. “I just know it.”

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