SUMMIT HILL, Pa. — A little shy earlier in the school year, Gabe Watterson's teachers realized just how much he loves the news and weather and how confident he is when delivering it.
"Sunday will be partly cloudy, with a high of 61 degrees," he read in his Weekend Weather Update.
Gabe is a tenth-grader at Panther Valley High School or possibly the next Joe Snedeker.
"People walk down the hallway and treat him like a local celebrity with his newscasts," said Tricia Kanick, an autism interventionist at Panther Valley High School.
Gabe lives with autism and struggles with speech and verbal communication, but when he is talking about the weather, he is in his comfort zone.
"We were having a reading lesson that just wasn't going well. That happens; things just don't go the way you plan. So we changed it up. I thought, 'We'll do some weather forecasts, and we'll look some stuff up and just see where he was.' It was awesome. He was so great and so natural, so we thought, we have to do something with this. We need to figure out how to get Gabe in front of a camera," Kanick explained.
Kanick is the autism interventionist at Panther Valley High School through Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit. She and Gabe look up the weather together each week, type up a forecast, and then Gabe is able to practice his reading and verbal skills right here on his very own anchor desk.
"Sometimes people don't understand what autism is, and to be able to see what Gabe can do and watch him thrive in this environment, it's been really cool for us," she said.
Gabe's teachers say in front of a camera with a microphone in hand is where he needs to be. He even has our 'tag out' down.
"WNEP TV 16, the News Station," Gabe said.
For now, students and teachers stop by Gabe's classroom to watch his weathercasts live, but the staff at Panther Valley High School hope to be able to put his videos online soon with help from his family, so all of the WNEP viewing area can see them.
Check out severe weather tips on WNEP’s YouTube channel.