Local teenager recognized as top high school weather reporter in America

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  Our spring severe storm season still is has a few weeks to run before the relative quiet of the hot summer kicks in. This is the time of year that really keeps the FOX 4 young achiever of the week focused and fascinated and looking forward to forecasting weather himself to help keep people safe. He’s already been honored as the best high school T-V weather reporter in America.

At the end of almost every school day the students in the broadcast journalism program at Park Hill High School produce and put on a short, live newscast streamed out on the school district intranet and later posted on YouTube. There are school announcements, news and sports stories and weather, a real highlight of the program.

“I sleep, eat and breathe the weather,” said FOX 4 Young Achiever Jordan Evans. “I love it. I’ve been fascinated by it since I was in elementary school.”

For the past three years Jordan Evans put together and delivered a consistently polished, entertaining and informative weather report for Trojan TV News with graphics he usually created himself.

“I’ll be looking at weather models,” said Jordan, “the GFS (Global Forecasting System,) the NAM (North American Mesoscale Forecast System,), stuff from the National Weather Service. And I’ll be interpreting those and creating a forecast out of that. It’s really about going above and beyond and throwing some science into it, too.”

Jordan takes this very seriously and worked hard to improve his performance skills. He got so good that as a junior the national Student Television Network recognized him as one of the five best high school weather reporters in America. And as a senior this year at the STN national spring convention and competition in Atlanta Jordan won the first place award for Best Weather Report with a masterful performance on a tight deadline for an unfamiliar local area.

“Every day is about a hour deadline for him,” said Justin Ford, Jordan’s broadcast journalism teacher at Park Hill High School. “So he goes to convention and a lot of kids are freaking out. ‘I have two hours to get weather put together and three hours to edit?!’ And for Jordan Evans, that’s an eternity. So he was done probably two hours before deadline and finished. The judges’ report that came back on the first place, they said, ‘Grade A talent on camera.’ And that was pretty cool. That’s the first comment that comes with, even now before all the technical skills and technical information that he knows about the weather.”

“Oh, I don’t think he’ll have any trouble at all finding a job in weather,” said FOX 4 Chief Meteorologist Mike Thompson.

Mike sure likes what he sees in Jordan and his abilities. He’s watched some of Jordan’s work on video and Jordan spent a recent afternoon shadowing Mike at work.

“He displays all the skills you’d expect in someone a lot older,” said Mike. “He’s got confidence on the air. He’s got command. He has, in fact, a lot of skills we’re looking for when we actually look to hire someone. I’ve seen a lot of resume’ tapes over the course of the years, people coming out of college, and to be honest if I didn’t know he was a high school student, I would think he just graduated from college if not already had some on air experience.”

Weather information and forecasts are, of course, all around us now. We can get those instantaneously on all sorts of websites and apps on our wireless devices. But Jordan said he’s really not worried about that and doesn’t see it as a threat to his future in TV meteorology.

“TV meteorologists are still needed to be there to explain to the public where is the storm going, where is it going to hit,” said Jordan. “You have someone on the air that’s explaining how can this affect someone in the future or how can it be affecting them now if a crisis situation is happening.”

For Jordan it’s really all about keeping people safe and alive as he heads into an exciting career in front of the studio green screen and the radar.

Jordan has been consistently polished in music as well as broadcasting. He’s played percussion since 4th grade, was a star on drum line and several top musical groups at Park Hill High and earned superiors at all levels of contests and All-State honors. Jordan plans to start studying both meteorology and broadcasting this fall at the acclaimed Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m. and noon.

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