At just a tender age, Leah Hernandez would spend her free time engrossed in the television. But while most children were interested in cartoons and sitcoms, Leah was an addict for the news that aired each night.

Now 17-years-old, Leah is still quite different than the average teenager; mimicking some of the most popular local journalists is not an interest for most teens but for her it is a hobby.

Leah hails from the village of Yarrowkabra on the Soesdyke Linden Highway where she spent most of her childhood with her parents Wendy and Ignatius Hernandez and three other siblings, all older than her.

She completed her primary education at the Kuru-Kururu Primary School where she gained 477 marks at the National Grade Six Examination (NGSA), securing a spot at the Diamond Secondary School.

However, considering the distance she needed to travel each day, Leah’s parents made the decision to enrol her into a private education facility, Achiever’s Academy, from which she was later transferred to Camille’s Institute for Business Science Studies. At this latter institution, she pursued 15 subjects in the General stream.

Hernandez sat the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) in 2018 and gained passes in all 15 subjects, including grade ones in Electronic Document Preparation Management, Human and Social Biology, English A, English B, Information Technology, Office Administration, Principles of Accounts, and Principles of Business, grade twos in Social Studies, Agricultural Science, Food and Nutrition, Integrated Science, and Mathematics, and grade threes in Biology and Chemistry.

The teen and her parents at her graduation

Having done exceptionally well at the regional examination, this focused teen soon after was awarded the opportunity to conduct her work-study experience at Times Media Group, where she was placed in the newsroom department. Here, she gained firsthand exposure to hard news writing as well as television. The short but significant experience motivated Hernandez to become even more interested and deeply engrossed with the art of journalism.

Soon after completing and gaining over a month’s worth of reporting experience, this determined teen, who was then 16-years-old, took the leap and applied for a journalist opening at the said media house. This was the beginning of a blossoming journalism career which the teen describes as her “dream that become a reality”.

Leah currently works as a journalist and aspires to be a news anchor someday.

Despite her current success, Leah shared that she grew up with not just victories but also challenges. This now bold young woman said she did not always have the nerve to simply speak to someone new. She said too that she could not stand in front of a few persons and deliver a well-organised speech but nonetheless her passion to pursue a career that includes meeting new people and having steady interactions did not scare nor discouraged her.

“Growing up with that passion and knowing exactly what your short term and long term goals are is somewhat a blessing because most teens presently are still trying to figure out which way they should go..becoming a reporter was my dream that became a reality and it came into being so fast that it’s almost unbelievable sometimes when I do reflect,” she exclaimed.

Meanwhile, Leah is most grateful that her biggest supporters, her parents, also encouraged her throughout her schooling and they still remain the same up to now. Leah credits her success to her industrious parents who made sure that she had the best textbooks, the best education, and, most importantly, a balanced life.

“The ones who I should be grateful for are God and my parents because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. I had my moments of feeling discouraged, especially during the time of preparing for exams and I felt like it was so hard and impossible that I couldn’t make it or remember all I’ve studied. But it was my parents who prayed with me cause I was taught to put God first and it will work out…It worked for me; I am here now and my success is all because of them. I can’t be more grateful enough and I owe it all to them” the teen affirmed.

When asked about some of her goals, this youthful soul responded in the most enthusiastic tone and emphasised her plans to commence studies in the Centre for Communication Studies at the University of Guyana in the rapidly upcoming year. She went on to share her side interest in law, which she hopes to also study after completing her studies in communication. Finally, this talented teen has her eyes set on anchoring the news one day as she seeks to be the medium through which stories that have an impact are told.

A dream did become a reality for her but Leah always seeks to understand that every aspect in life is plagued with challenges. Nonetheless, she said, one must be strong, confident, and determined to overcome barriers that lay ahead. This incomparable teen encourages fellow youths to set goals and achieve them, no matter what.

“Good things come to those who wait but the best things in life come to those who work hard for it,” are the words of one of Leah’s most favourite quotes that she has embedded in her mind as she journeys through her journalism career.


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