Western High School Student Shatters Expectations - NBC 6 South Florida

Providing families with tools to get the most out of their children's education

Western High School Student Shatters Expectations

"If you're six feet tall or three feet tall, it doesn't matter, you just have to push yourself to do it."

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Western High School Student Shatters Expectations

    Alannah Ference shatters expectations and perceptions of what people with achondroplasia can do. NBC 6's Ari Odzer has this story on this student working at greatness.

    (Published Friday, Feb. 1, 2019)

    You see this girl walking down the hall at Western High School in Davie with her friends and she makes them look like giants. Funny thing is, they all look up to Alannah Ference.

    "She inspires me every day," said classmate Emma Gonzalez.

    "I always see her, like, helping everybody, like everybody knows her in school and outside of school because of all the great things she does for people," added another classmate, Andrea Gonzalez Muruet.

    Alannah shatters expectations and perceptions of what people with achondroplasia can do. She's the president of the Latinos in Action club, a leader of the Future Educators of America chapter and of her school's HOSA program, which trains kids for health care professions.

    "If you're six feet tall or three feet tall, it doesn't matter, you just have to push yourself to do it," Alannah said.

    Alannah does it, whatever it is, and she does it well. She's in the top 15 of her graduating class.

    "She was that student who always raised her hand for an answer, whether it was right or wrong, she always had that confidence in her," said teacher Thalia Montes de Oca, who has taught Alannah all four years of high school. "If I had 25 Alannahs in class every day it would be fantastic."

    "I've worked really hard, I can say that," Alannah said. "I never give up, I never let anything get in the way, I always shoot for the stars."

    She works hard for herself, and for the benefit of everyone else.

    "She's so dedicated to helping people and to the service projects that Latinos in action does that it's really inspiring," classmate Valentina Gispert said about Alannah.

    The world presents all sorts of obstacles for a person who stands three feet, three inches tall. Physical challenges like opening heavy doors and climbing into chairs, and the emotional challenges of kids teasing, people staring and pointing, it can be exhausting for a teenager.

    "Sometimes I do ask myself, like, 'Why does it have to be me who has this disability?'" Alannah said. "But I always know, I reinforce myself that I was meant to be, I was born this way and I have to live it and overcome it."

    Alannah has already had 10 surgeries in her young life and that experience has inspired her career goal. She wants to become a doctor one day, specifically a pediatric anesthesiologist.

    Alannah's trail-blazing dwarf surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Dr. Michael Ain, is her role model. For her, it's all about not accepting limitations.

    "People will tell you no, you can't, people will be like, oh that's impossible, no, find a way, there is a way for you to do it," Alannah said, explaining her motivation.

    Alannah proves every day that size and stature are not synonymous.

    Get the latest from NBC 6 anywhere, anytime