Following an outpouring of attention, North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) freshman Jack Sillin of Yarmouth is traveling to The Weather Channel’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia this week as a special guest. Sillin was featured recently in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, and is a now social media all-star. Dave Clark, The Weather Channel’s president, follows Sillin on Twitter and invited him for a visit.
Sillin’s interest in the weather began by watching The Weather Channel on a cross country flight to California when he was seven years old. Since then, his infatuation has become a full-time hobby. From his bedroom, he reads models, makes his predictions and publishes them on his blog, all before school starts each day. His interest has increased, as has his fan base. This year, Sillin accurately predicted four NYA snow days in close succession. Following his first few snow day predictions, NYA students created posters and started a great fan base for Sillin. He has over 1,000 followers on Twitter and an extremely successful blog. He says about his interest in the weather, “I like the challenge that predicting the future provides. It’s a really fun puzzle to be able to do every day.”
Sillin’s parents, Peter Sillin and Katherine Thomas, both work at NYA and are very proud of their son. Peter Sillin said, “I’m really proud of Jack and how he’s taken this intense interest and turned it into a vehicle for personal growth.” Katherine Thomas remarked, “This week, when a reporter from [the local TV show] ’207′ was on campus filming Jack in his physics class, I happened to see him in the hall – he was carrying a large camera so I felt confident starting a conversation that went like this: ‘Hi, are you Rob? I’m Jack’s mom. That’s how I introduce myself these days.’ He just laughed and said how much he enjoyed talking with Jack. I am so incredibly proud of him. Jack really cares about the weather – learning as much as he possibly can about it and creating accurate and informative forecasts that people can rely on but also enjoy reading. I think he has become a really good teacher. He explains often very complex things in a clear, matter of fact way that even people who aren’t devoted or sophisticated weather watchers can understand. Like every good teacher, his excitement about the material also draws others in. I also appreciate Jack’s ability to be humble. Add that to the fact that he is only 13, and he is following and developing his passion, I couldn’t be more proud as his mother.”
Jack Sillin’s interest has been fostered by NYA’s community. He says, “The data analysis skills I’ve learned in science have helped a lot on the data side and lots of writing experience in English has definitely helped my communication skills.” Peter Sillin said, “I am so pleased as a parent at what NYA has been able to offer him in support of this pursuit. We don’t have a meteorology course but Jack’s been practicing in his classes for years how to analyze data, to draw evidence from a variety of perspectives, to use that evidence to support conclusions and carefully to cite his sources. NYA has always pushed him hard to write clearly and effectively, which I think contributes to the lively style of his blog. And finally, NYA’s close community of students and teachers is a culture where it’s okay to be a freshman weather geek. Not just okay – Jack’s passion for science is supported and celebrated here with applause, posters and affirmations all around. To me, a great education equips and inspires students to pursue their interests wherever they may be found – and that is what NYA is doing for Jack right now.”
Jack and his father travel to Atlanta, Georgia this week where they will visit and tour The Weather Channel’s headquarters on March 13. They will tweet about the event, keeping all of Jack’s fans up-to-date with his adventures. As for the future, Jack says, “I hope to make forecasting a career at some point. Right now, I’m not worrying about the future too much.”
Postscript: Jack not only visited The Weather Channel, he made an appearance on air. Here’s the link …
North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school serving toddlers through twelfth grade students. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character and intellect in its students. For additional information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at www.NYA.org.