If you were walking by Battleford Central School Friday Feb.5, you may have heard “Whoa” coming from the gymnasium quite a few times. Students filled the gym as Ricky Forbes from the show Tornado Hunters put on quite the memorable assembly for Kaitlyn Russell, Grade 4, and her peers.
“It was really cool because he told us how storms form and we got to see the videos and how they tape and track the storms,” she said.
Gasps filled the room with every new photo Forbes put in the projection screen, but there was a particular video involving grapefruit sized hail that stole the show for Cooper Whitney, Grade 4.
“My favorite part was when the all the glass got shattered in the truck.”
At the end of the video Forbes said “after that experience we changed to bullet proof glass but once we got the show they made us switch back because they want to see the glass smash.”
The big surprise of the day was when Forbes told the audience that not only did he bring the truck from the show but that they were allowed to kick it as hard as they could.
“It was so much fun to kick and it didn’t do any damage so it was really cool,” student Kaity Sherman said.
Just about every student at the elementary school got to treat the truck like a piñata but they couldn’t leave a scratch.
Forbes really enjoys doing these assemblies. “I’ve spent the last two years travelling all over western Canada and I have done between 150 and 200 schools per year.”
Forbes doesn’t just tour schools to wow students. He said there’s also a lot of education involved.
“The education of tornados is extremely important, especially in these regions. North Battleford and the Battleford area are part of Tornado Alley. It’s great for people to know what to do in that situation when they do get that warning.”
On top of teaching students what to do during a tornado warning Forbes also informed the kids of how tornados and supercell storms work.
“We’re just trying to make science fun, that’s the real goal here.”
Forbes tries to pump the kids up, which has resulted in some interesting messages from parents.
“I give them the presentation and all of the sudden they all want to be storm chasers. Often I get a lot of messages from parents afterwards on social media and they’re just so pumped. They say I’ve made their kids day but I have gotten one or two disgruntled parents that say I’m leading their kids down the wrong path. That isn’t my goal. I’m just sharing my passion with them in the most entertaining and educational way I can.”
On Twitter: @realgreghiggins
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