NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — High school. Some of the toughest years in a kid’s life, but also some of the best. Meet Zoe Hernandez, smile from ear to ear, a great student with a huge heart but a unique situation. You see Zoe was born without arms or legs.
“What is she going to do? What is her life going to be? She is always going to need someone to help her,” said Aysha Hernandez, Zoe’s Mother.”
These are real fears that parents of children with disabilities face.
“I guess I was just scared that people would look at me the wrong way because of my disability,” said Zoemarie Hernandez.
But the roadblocks Zoe has faced haven’t stopped her from chasing her dream. That dream? Meteorology.
“It started when I was 9,” said Zoe.
And that’s the same story many of us meteorologists have, a passion that started at a young age.
“I like how the weather changes all the time and one day it’s sunny and then the next day it’s stormy,” said Zoe.
And just like the changes in the weather, at the age of 12, Zoe changed in a big way.
“I actually started breaking out of my shell in middle school. I started talking to people a lot and that’s when I knew that I could do it. If I can break out of my shell and talk to people then I can do anything else,” said Zoe.
Anything else. Like be an on air meteorologist?
“My mom always calls me her little meteorologist at home because I always tell her, ‘ma we need some clothes. We need short sleeves, we need long sleeves,'” said Zoe.
And now as a 17-year-old high school junior at the Sound School in New Haven, Zoe continues to prove that a disability doesn’t need to slow you down.
“Even though you have a disability, you can do anything, just work as hard as you can,” said Zoe.
And to all who surround her, Zoe truly is an inspiration.
“If I come in having a bad day, just looking at her puts a smile on my face and it changes everything for me. She’s made me stronger,” said Marisa Ceneri, Sound School Teacher.
So, where will she be in 10 years?
“Here in New Haven…and…”
“You were going to say you’re going to take my job aren’t you?”
“Well not take your job, just work with you at Stormteam8,” said Zoe.