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Issue 24: 12/27/2023

Shaping My Future—Chris Weatherly

Shaping My Future—Chris Weatherly

Chris Weatherly graduated from the Ohio Media School in September with a number of honors. Through his education, he also earned bragging rights for having interviewed some famous hip-hop and R&B artists from the 1980s and 90s, including KRS-One, Cleveland’s Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Sheila E., and Mix Master Ice.

“I got the opportunity to interview some legends,” Weatherly said. “I’d never gotten to do that before: be in front of a legend and speak to them.”

“They are just people, just how we are.”

Weatherly, a 24-year employee in facilities and operations at the Auditor of the State, used his Union Education Trust benefit to pay for the six-month program. It was his first time using UET.

“I appreciate the help from UET, especially the people. There is always somebody there who will help you out,” Weatherly said. “There are helpful people there. You like working with people like that.”

Weatherly is passing on that helpfulness: “A lot of people are now coming to me. I might have opened up some doors for some people.”

He hopes that more co-workers will use UET and says that having the financial assistance really helped him out.

“It’s a great program. I think a lot of people should take advantage of it,” Weatherly said. “If you’re looking to further yourself or learn something new, it’s an excellent program. It’s a good thing they are doing that to help people out.”

Weatherly majored in Audio Production and Radio and TV Broadcasting, which is why he had the opportunity to interview some music legends. While he has a studio in his home and has been working in the music business for many years, he learned new skills in the program.

“I learned how to be a radio personality, how to do commercials in radio,” Weatherly said. “On the TV side, I learned how to operate the cameras and do commercials.”

“I worked with professors shooting movie clips,” he added.

Among the awards Weatherly earned was the “Lab Hour Royalty Award,” which is given to students who have more than 180 hours in the lab. Weatherly was just shy of 500. He also got the “Shining Star Award” and the “Core Value Hexagon Award.” Weatherly earned straight As and perfect attendance while taking his courses.

“It was very rewarding as far as I was able to add to what I already knew,” Weatherly said.

Weatherly, whose gospel rap name is Chris Anointed, does more production and behind-the-scenes work in his home studio.

“On the weekends, I record people, I interview people,” he said.

He was able to apply the skills from the school immediately. “[The skills] enhance my job performance in being able to communicate with people,” Weatherly said. He reports that his education also has practical applications in his current job in that he knows now the best way to set up equipment for press conferences and interviews.

“I’m using it all the time, actually,” Weatherly said. “It’s something I’ll do until I die, really. It’s part of my life, who I am.”

Weatherly also sees how the education may provide opportunities for advancement in his career as positions at the State’s Ohio Channel would require the type of education he received and the skills he has developed. The State of Ohio employs many classifications in the Production and Broadcasting medium including Audio/Visual Production Specialists and Videographers as well.

Weatherly faced the usual challenges of returning to school after many years out of a classroom: He juggled his family life and work commitments with the class schedule.

“It was comforting to be able to go at 56 years old, be on a college campus, do all the things I do and still be able to roll around with my grandkids,” he said. “To be able to do that, be in classes with 20-year-olds and match their energy, I think it was a pretty tremendous feat to accomplish. Without God and my wife, it wouldn’t have been possible.”

“A lot of times the students said I was an inspiration,” Weatherly added. “They look up to you.”

He hopes that his fellow classmates aren’t the only ones to see him as an example.

“The main thing is my grandkids and kids looking at me and setting the standard for them: ‘Oh, Granddad went to school and got straight As. He graduated, period.’ So they have something to look up to. When they are in school, they know ‘Granddad did this. I should be able to do this!’”

“I was able to accomplish my goals.”

Weatherly recommends taking a class and continuing to learn, no matter where you are in life.

“You feed your brain the food that it needs so you stay upright, stay locked in on life itself. Cause it’s so easy to fall off. Feed the muscle in your brain,” he said.

“Life isn’t over. Learning keeps you vibrant. It keeps you in. You’ve got to keep doing something or you lose it.”