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Walled Lake Consolidated Schools

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Spencer Thomas (Central '13)

Spencer Thomas Headshot

Spencer Thomas is a proud 2013 graduate of Walled Lake Central High School. Outside of the classroom, she participated in track and field and competed as a synchronized figure skater on Team USA.

Her studies continued at Central Michigan University’s School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, where she double majored in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, completing her Bachelors in Communications. Throughout her four years at CMU, she gained skills as an assistant producer, executive producer, floor crew, franchise news reporter and anchor.

Her career since college took off quickly.  “The broadcasting industry takes you to the most amazing places. Places you most definitely did not picture yourself working, let alone living. But that’s the beauty of the job,” said Thomas.

Thomas received her first employment opportunity as a dayside hard news reporter at the ABC/FOX affiliate in Burlington, Vermont. She excelled and quickly transitioned into the role of morning reporter, which she described as “tough work.” Her extensive experience as a multi-media journalist taught her how to research and pitch her own story ideas.

As a solo reporter in the field, she was responsible for operating and capturing her own camera footage, writing scripts, and editing on-air content. “It is as if I operated as a one-woman-band. I am not just an on-camera talking head, which is, unfortunately, what many viewers believe.

Working as a morning reporter, Thomas realized that the media industry was where she truly belonged. It provided the opportunity for her to cover every type of news imaginable. She covered extreme weather updates, unbelievable tragedies, investigative journalism, community events, Election Day coverage, and, most notably, she had the opportunity to chat with United States Senator, Bernie Sanders, on multiple occasions. She states, “While he was leaving the statehouse, I literally chased him down in my heels, pencil skirt, camera in one hand, microphone in the other, and scored the interview. This is also where I realized this is not the most glamorous job.”

Thomas mentioned that the opportunities to produce media news stories are endless if you are brave enough to tackle them head-on. “This job allows you to wear every hat in the game, so you can later, focus on what you actually want to be reporting on. As much as I loved running after state senators, I knew I belonged in the world of feature reporting, telling community feel-good stories, being the eyes, ears, and voice of the people and telling stories that the community wants to wake up to in the morning.”

Spencer Thomas working in the field behind the camera

In June of 2020, during a global pandemic, she transitioned to on-air Entertainment and Lifestyle reporter at FOX 12 in Portland, Oregon. She made a 70- market jump to a top 20 news station and was now a member of the top entertainment show in the state. For the self-proclaimed “little ol’ Commerce Township gal,” hard work paid off. Thomas currently works on the FOX 12 MORE Good Day Oregon team, focusing largely on entertainment stories within the local community and worldwide.

She has interviewed numerous celebrities and covered professional athletes. “What I love most about this job is that I have the opportunity to write real, raw, in-depth stories about local celebrities and folks in my community. Eventually, I would love to get back to the Midwest. Maybe you’ll see me on WXYZ Channel 7 in Detroit someday,” Thomas says with a smile.

From growing up in the lakes area, Thomas developed a fond love for water sports including wakeboarding and tubing. She says, “Once a lake kid, always a lake kid!”

Thomas reflects on her time and friendships in Walled Lake positively by adding, “I’ll never forget Viking football games, homecoming, prom, water wars, pizza days, and my favorite, having my mom as my substitute teacher at Walled Lake Central!”  She also added that her favorite teacher in Walled Lake was Jeff Penrod, Walled Lake Central High School history teacher.

Thomas’s advice to students is to remember where you came from but don’t be afraid to leave it behind. She challenges students to be brave and follow their heart explaining that opportunities in this life are endless.  She stated, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, take risks, and always remember, failure is the alleyway that leads to greater success! Love fearlessly, and pursue what makes you happy.  As my late younger brother always used to say, “Live life, after all, you only have one of them.”