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NORWALK, Iowa – Sign language interpreters have become a lot more visible in the past year. We’ve seen them alongside Gov. Kim Reynolds as she gives coronavirus updates. We also saw one at the 59th Presidential Inauguration, signing the Pledge of Allegiance.

You can count on Lakewood Elementary School for accurate weather reports heading into every weekend. You’ll be sure to take away a lot more than a forecast.

Cooper Myers is the weatherman to keep your eye on. Interpreter Ryan Peterson helps Cooper communicate his forecasts.

“Last year we started to practice a little bit. It was kind of an activity to give him something to do,” Peterson said. “To research himself, to find the information himself, and it was something he seemed to enjoy. So we kind of kept that up and we’ve kind of built on it, recording it, adding in production crew and all that”

For part of the school day, Cooper’s peers transform into anchors, producers, and editors to create the reports that are shown in the classrooms. It’s an effort Cooper thinks is awesome, and he hopes others think so too.

“I get to spend time with Cooper and take time off of class,” Ryker Edwards, a 5th grader at Lakewood, said.

“It’s really fun to work with him. [He’s] telling us what the weather’s going to be like for the next weekend,” Wyatt Winslow, a 5th grader at Lakewood, said.

“He gets to tell everybody the weather and I think he has fun with it,” Embry Dupont, a 5th grader at Lakewood, said.

“What the weather’s going to be and if they can go outside and how cool it’s going to be or warm,” Max Myers, Cooper’s brother and 4th grader at Lakewood, said.

“I’m glad that our school’s kind to everyone and that everyone has the same opportunity as everyone else,” Claire Sandhoff, 5th grader at Lakewood, said.

No matter where you go to get your forecast, Lakewood Elementary is teaching us all a pretty important lesson.

“Just because Cooper uses a different language to communicate, he’s no different than any other student,” Peterson said. “He has the same opportunities, the same chance to succeed and become independent.”