Huddled near the intercom, Jon Leiberman's voice rang through William Winchester Elementary School as the second-grader read the weather aloud for all to hear.
In front of a microphone, Leiberman announced Carroll lacrosse games as a Westminster High School student.
That similar scene - Leiberman, microphone in hand, reporting - has played out across the country and overseas, from Topeka, Kan., and Baltimore to Iraq and Cuba.
There was no indecision for Leiberman. No waffling over a career path; no constant change of college majors. The 1993 graduate of Westminster High School knew he wanted to be a broadcaster from a young age.
"If you had asked me 21 years ago what he would have been doing, I would have pretty much nailed it," said Thom McHugh, who taught Leiberman English during his senior year and was the class advisor. Leiberman was the class president.
"He has an inquisitive, pit bull kind of mind, and he goes after things. And he really has a tenacity of spirit and a mental acuity that this is what he should be doing."
And his resume now includes being co-author of a new book called "Whitey on Trial," as well as a litany of television networks and shows, such as "America's Most Wanted," Fox 45, HLN and more. He's questioned convicted murderers and their spouses, FBI agents and soldiers in an interview style he calls "versatile" and "fearless."
"I'm not afraid to sit down and talk to anybody," Leiberman said. "In fact, that's what I love the most about broadcasting is interviewing and sitting down and talking to people."
And that's essentially what he does all day.
Typically, he's in the office by 5 a.m., grinding gears to prep for the 6 a.m. "Howard Stern Show" on SiriusXM. Next up: Putting his daily news radio show, "Leiberman Live," together, which airs at 4:45 p.m. Then he heads to a television gig about three or four days a week, where he appears on HLN's "Jane Velez-Mitchell" show. The evening wraps up at about 8 p.m.
Yet, his days weren't always filled with New York City-based radio and television shows. He remembers leaving his Westminster home and driving to his first job at a news station in Topeka, Kan., a city with a population akin to Carroll County.
But it was Leiberman's second job in Albuquerque, N.M., that ignited his passion as a crime and justice investigative reporter, which he further developed while working at Fox 45 in Baltimore.
"There's no other place in the country where you can cover crime like you can in Baltimore," he said. "That's really where I cut my teeth on the crime stuff."
His most exhilarating experience came several years later during a six-week stint as a war correspondent in 2003 for the Sinclair Broadcast Group. He talked to the armed forces on the ground. He chatted with the locals. He traveled from Baghdad to Northern Iraq and, in between, from base to base.
"You're really in the midst of a war, and you don't know what to expect," he said. "I think it taught me a lot journalistically."
In 2004, he was fired from Sinclair Broadcast Group, with a Washington Post article from the time reporting that his termination came when he criticized the company's plan to air a movie attacking Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam War record. The Post quotes him as saying he spoke out because "I feel so strongly that our credibility is at issue here. ... I feel our company is trying to sway this election."
Yet, he said that didn't halt his career. He secured a job at "America's Most Wanted," profiling some of the fugitives law enforcement deemed highly dangerous.
While there, he worked on at least 19 stories about James "Whitey" Bulger, an infamous Boston gangster and convicted murderer. In August, federal jury found Bulger guilty of 31 of 32 counts, including extortion, drug dealing, money laundering and more.
This is the premise of the recently released book "Whitey on Trial" Leiberman co-authored with lawyer Margaret McLean. He covered the case, but his pre-reporting included interviews with Bulger's common law wife and old partner in crime. Additionally, he traveled to England, Italy, Boston and other locations with the FBI's Bulger task force.
And Leiberman captured the essence of working class Bostonians and Whitey's character, said McHugh, who now teaches English at Century High School. He and Leiberman have kept in touch over the years, and Leiberman sent him a copy of the book.
"Twenty years down the line, to be able to hear back from someone - because you don't always get the immediate results in teaching - but to see him doing what he's doing and knowing that I had the smallest contribution to that is gratifying," McHugh said.
Those English classes at Westminster High School helped Leiberman with his writing and communication. In turn, these skill sets have solidified his philosophy on journalism, skills that have stuck with him since attending Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.
"Everybody has a story to tell, so I feel like oftentimes we as journalists ... you assume that somebody doesn't want to talk to you," he said, "but I think you have to throw that assumption out the window. You have to think that everybody has a story to tell."