Whether you know Tyler Fleming from school, swim meets, or First United Methodist Church, one thing’s for certain: The 17-year-old certainly is a wonderful ambassador for an age group that sometimes gets a bad rap.
Tyler, a junior at Kerr-Vance Academy, is smack in the middle of a three-day program called “junior shadowing,” which pairs students with different businesses in the community so they can learn a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes.
Wednesday was Tyler’s first day right here at WIZS, and today, on Day 2, he found himself in front of the microphone on TownTalk. He and John C. Rose talked about high schoolers’ busy schedules, his sports interests and the perks of attending a small school and living in a small community.
Whether it was watching car races and imitating the commentators as a 6-year-old or helping his church create videos during the COVID-19 pandemic, media and communications have held Tyler’s interest for much of his life. And when it came time for him to choose where he wanted to do his junior shadowing, he chose WIZS because “it’s a place where I could explore the world of radio and communications through digital media.”
There are just more than a dozen students in KVA’s junior class, and Tyler said “the goal is that each and every person in the class will do the shadowing.” The community agencies that partner with the junior shadowing project have been very receptive to having high school students come and see how their businesses operate.
“You can get out in the community (in a spot) where you have an interest and you can try things,” he said. “Being able to get somewhere (that) you can at least try it out – that directs us toward our future.”
The junior shadowing program gives students a chance to learn about something new, but it also can help them discern whether their interest in a particular field is something they wish to pursue.
As for Tyler’s experience, he said being a part of a small station has given him a chance for some hands-on learning from seasoned staff. He said time “to learn the small things” that keep a radio station like WIZS on the air – “like planning ahead and thinking about what you’ll be doing over the next few days…planning and dedication -it’s been really nice to have those insights,” Tyler noted.
Planning ahead and dedication are valuable commodities in everyday life as well, he observed. And he no doubt has to call both into play as he balances his academics with extracurriculars. He recently joined the KV cross country team as a way to cross-train for swimming, which he said he took up when he was about 7.
“It’s been a great sport not only to stay physically active, but leading me to other things like lifeguarding,” Tyler said. Swimming competitively keeps him aware of the other swimmers’ capabilities and keeps him hungry to be his best.
Listen to the complete interview at wizs.com