WAPT meteorologist Adam McWilliams, HCS Class of 2007, recently took time from his busy schedule to write about his years at Hillcrest Christian School and what he’s been doing since then:
I attended Hillcrest from K4 through to graduation. My love for the weather started at about 4 or 5 years old, although my parents say I was still in a walker watching the Weather Channel. When I was at Hillcrest, I quickly earned the nickname “ The Weatherman,” and my reputation proceeded me throughout my entire school career there. Usually, it’s a bad thing when teachers know your name before you step in their classroom, but not in my case! All the teachers would talk, and let the next grade’s teachers know that if they had me I would do the weather.
I wasn’t involved in any sports throughout high school; I was too busy either with schoolwork or interning with 16 WAPT chief meteorologist David Hartman. I actually met David at Hillcrest. My 10th grade Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Jennifer McAdory, had David surprise me during class one day. It was quite a shock when David walked into my classroom; my eyes must have been the size of saucers! A year later, I started an internship with him that lasted until I went to Mississippi State.
And then in my junior year, Mrs. Sandra Bridges asked me if I would like to do the weather for the morning announcements on HCTV. I quickly accepted and had a blast doing it. I remember forecasting Hurricanes Katrina & Rita in 2005 on HCTV before they hit the Gulf Coast. I tell people Mrs. Bridges is the reason I’m in TV today, she gave me my first on-air job doing the weather. I really believe doing HCTV got rid of my TV jitters. I will always be indebted to Mrs. Bridges for doing that for me. It really was a confidence booster at a time when I didn’t have a lot of it. She gave me something to look forward to, and she will always have a special place in my heart for that.
After I graduated Hillcrest in 2007, I went to Hinds Community College for a couple of years, and then I transferred to Mississippi State University in 2009 (Hail State!) and earned a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Meteorology in 2012. During my time at MSU, I anchored the school’s Campus Connect Forecast on the university TV station. My last semester there, I won the 2012 Associated Press Award for Best College TV Weathercaster in the state of Mississippi. My biggest memory at MSU was chasing the monster tornadoes that rolled across Mississippi and Alabama on April 27, 2011, the Dixie Alley Super Outbreak. That day, 2 EF-5, tornadoes came within 50 miles of the MSU campus. Seeing the destruction first-hand changed me and solidified my resolve to keep people safe during severe weather.
I graduated MSU with a 3.2 GPA and had a job before graduation at WXVT-TV 15 in Greenville, doing the weekend weather.
Then in July of 2013, I accepted the job at WAPT as the weekend morning meteorologist. It is surreal sometimes [to realize that] I’m working with the man I looked up to as a kid. I learn so much from David everyday, and I quickly realized why he is the most trusted weatherman in Central Mississippi. His calm during severe weather is something I hope to learn as I progress throughout my career.
Hillcrest has some of the best teachers in this state who really take a vested interest in their students. I had so many teachers who loved me and supported me in what I wanted to do, and they created an environment where I could flourish. The teachers there truly love God and show Christ to students each and every day.
If I could give any advice to the students there now, it would be chase your dreams no matter how big they may be. My grandfather always used to tell me, “Find your passion and then find out a way to get paid for it, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I did that, and it’s 100% true. I don’t dread going to work like most people do. I’m so thankful to the good Lord that he has blessed me with a job where I can do my passion for the weather and get paid for it! I couldn’t be luckier and am truly blessed.
Thank you so much, Adam, for sharing about Hillcrest’s impact on your life, about following your passion, and about God’s blessing your efforts. HCS will forever be proud to call you one of our own.