Senior Grace LeGars: Future Meteorologist

Most TV viewers don’t realize the amount of time and effort that goes into the average five-minute weather segment. Meteorology isn’t as simple as just pointing at a screen and explaining the weather. It is a complicated branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting.

While others in her grade aspire to be teachers or biologists, TAHS senior Grace LeGars is the only person in her graduating class planning to major in meteorology.

LeGars can’t remember when she was first became interested meteorology, but she has been interested in weather, and specifically extreme weather, for as long as she can remember. 

“Well just like every kid I was frightened by thunderstorms, but there was just something about them that I found rather amazing. I eventually stopped being afraid of them when I saw how awe-inspiring they were. I would sit and watch them from my porch, listening to the thunder,” said LeGars.

As she got older, LeGars became fascinated by Weather Channel shows like Strangest Weather on Earth and Storm Stories

“That’s when I started realizing I could make a career out of this. For the longest time I wanted to be a storm chaser, but then I decided to go for meteorology with the hopes of focusing my career on extreme weather, like hurricanes and tornadoes,” said LeGars.

For the longest time I wanted to be a storm chaser, but then I decided to go for Meteorology with the hopes of focusing my career on extreme weather, like hurricanes and tornadoes.”

— Grace LeGars

In Mr. Wilson’s Earth and Space Science class, Grace excelled at the weather unit which included learning about fronts, weather symbols, weather zones, and types of clouds.

In tenth grade, she took Biology followed by Chemistry her junior year, and dual enrollment Chemistry II her senior year. All of those classes would help prepare her for her future career.

Last year Grace even wrote an nationally recognized story for the Eagle Eye that focused on the weather related issues.

In her story, How Cold is Too Cold for School, LeGars interviewed WTAJ meteorologist Joe Murgo about the factors that go into the decision to cancel school due to extreme weather.

The story was named one of the SNO Network’s Stories of the Year, one of only 19 stories of the more than 13,000 submitted that year to make their “Best of 2018-2019” list.

LeGars has been enrolled in honors classes since elementary school. She has always done well in math and sciences, taking dual enrollment calculus, statistics, and chemistry II. She has always been a hard worker, so it is only natural for her to go into a field with a large emphasis on science.

She was also involved with National Honors Society, Ski Club, and occasionally Board Game Club. While Grace excelled academically and was in the top 10% of her class, she is more well rounded student than most.

She also has taken non-traditional classes for girls like metal shop. She started metal shop in 9th grade, couldn’t fit it in her schedule in 10th grade, then finished out high school with it even taking two periods of it her senior year.

“[Metal shop] was a place where I could leave the academic side of myself. I could forget books and studying and tests. It provided a more relaxed environment that relieved my stress from academics. It gave me skills that I can fall back on if my first career falls through, which makes me a well-rounded student. I can weld, solder, forge, use a lathe, drill press, and torch. And I genuinely enjoyed it. I loved making things out of nothing. It was rewarding. I had all these machines and tools at my disposal which gave me an opportunity to be creative. I made friends that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be friends with if it wasn’t for that class, which at that time, didn’t realize would mean so much to me, and Mr. Vancas is the best,” says LeGars. 

I genuinely enjoyed it. I loved making things out of nothing. It was rewarding. I had all these machines and tools at my disposal which gave me an opportunity to be creative.”

— Grace LeGars

Grace has also been a cheerleader for the past eight years. LeGars had a strong dance background, which helps her with choreography and makes her a stand out during dance parts of her routine. Her favorite cheerleading memory was the four days the whole squad would spend at cheer camp.

“The whole squad became closer and learned some skills that will last a lifetime. That’s also where I earned my second all-America title,” says LeGars.

In addition to cheerleading, Grace also enjoys snowboarding. She joined the Tyrone Ski and Snowboarding Club in 9th grade.

“I have a lot of great memories, but I think one of my absolute favorites is actually how hard it was for me the first trip to Blue Knob. I cherish that memory because, now that I’m experienced, it taught me how to sympathize with the people who struggle because honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in my life. It also reminds me of where I came from and how much better I’ve gotten in such a short period of time. Another favorite memory is definitely our trips to Vermont. They were just amazing and the slopes made for perfect boarding,” said LeGars. 

Grace’s snowboarding skills started out very rough but has come a long way in such a short time. She began to master the slopes at Blue Knob and was able to gain even more experience at Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont and is now at the intermediate to advanced level.

Grace will attend Penn State Altoona in the fall.  PSU is ranked fourth in the nation for meteorology. She hopes to become a severe weather expert, focusing her career on forecasting, researching, and studying severe weather.

LeGars has many friends that admire her for being incredibly kind, well rounded and determined.

“Grace is not only beautiful on the outside, but her heart is even more beautiful. She is a strong, dedicated, loving, and honest person to everyone and even more amazing to the ones she loves,” said good friend and fellow TAHS senior Madison Yothers.  “She deserves the world! She does everything with her whole heart, from her hobbies to her school work!\. Words will never capture how genuine and beautiful Grace is.”

Watch out for future meteorologist Grace LeGars in a few years!