Colton Cichoracki is living his dream. He’s a meteorologist with ABC12 News (WJRT-TV) in Flint. He’s had the same drive and aspiration to be a meteorologist his entire life. While there were other stops along the way to Cichoracki’s success, it started at St. Clair County Community College almost a decade ago.
“I was a Blue Water Middle College Academy student from Memphis,” Cichoracki explained.
“I was in the very first cohort of the program in the fall of 2011, so I was entering into something that hadn’t been done before, and I’m glad I did. It was a fantastic experience and I’m a huge advocate of the middle college concept.”
Looking back, Cichoracki recalls how each of his professors cared about him as an individual.
“I never had a bad professor. In fact, I liked many of them so much that I took multiple classes from them,” he recalled. “I took two political science classes with Ethan Flick and two English classes with Chris Hilton. I remember taking Patricia Frank’s history class where we re-enacted military battles in the courtyards on campus! The impact that SC4’s professors had on me is something I carry with me today.”
Cichoracki earned his Associate in Arts degree from SC4 in 2014 and then transferred to Central Michigan University, where he majored in meteorology (with a minor in mathematics) and graduated in 2017. He started his career at KQ2 News in St. Joseph, Missouri, before moving back to Michigan to his current job in Flint.
He credits SC4 with helping him get off to a great start.
“Community college got me where I wanted to be,” Cichoracki said. “They serve such a critical role in the community, helping people grow academically and professionally. I tell everyone who’s graduating from high school to go to a community college first. You can get a lot of your general education classes done at a much lower price, and it’ll give you the experience of how to succeed in college before moving on to a university.”
The wide range of students, particularly in their ages, is another pleasant memory for Cichoracki.
“When I was at SC4, I was often the youngest person in my class,” he said. “But there were other students in their seventies in the class as well. They were doing the same thing I was, though, working to better themselves. Their age or background didn’t matter. SC4 gave us the means to succeed and make something of ourselves.”
Cichoracki also recommends community college for students who aren’t quite sure what direction they’re headed yet.
“Go to a community college, take some classes in a field you might be interested in, and see if it’s what you want to do,” he suggested. “At CMU, I saw so many people change their majors again and again, spending so much money each time to start over. You don’t need to do that. Community colleges can help you figure out what you want to do, and you’ll be much better off for it.”
Watch Colton in a recent weather broadcast on ABC12 News (WJRT-TV) below or check out his professional Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ColtonCichorackiABC12.