Zeke Fera graduated from NL in 2011. During his time at NL, Fera was part of the Varsity track team during his junior and senior years. After graduation, Fera spent time living and working in South Dakota. In spite of the challenges of being on the autism spectrum, Fera has worked hard to become an independent, productive member of society. He has been employed as an assistant manager for two different jobs, he owns a modular home with a porch, and he has earned a driver’s license and purchased his own car. Fera has also volunteered helping people with disabilities and special needs. Fera’s next goal is to attend college, study psychology, and get a degree in Special Education.
Fera currently resides in Schuylkill Haven, PA with his yorkie. He spends a lot of his time helping to take care of his mother and supporting other family members. In his free time, he enjoys working out at the gym. Fera was “very happy” about his time at NL; he appreciates the many individuals who supported, encouraged, and empowered him, including Mr. Sebastian, Mrs. Snyder, his track coach Mr. Opreska, and the members of his track team. He says, “Thank you NLSD for all you do! Much love to the teachers that encouraged me with great words and much appreciation; it’s been my greatest honor to be a part of NLSD!” The following is Fera’s advice for current NL students:
To the students with autism- never give up on opportunities. I know it’s a rough road for many of you, but never lose sight of what you can really do; you are very intelligent. Don’t get lost in the judgement others make for you, but always look ahead and remain positive. Patience is a hard thing to have, but always being patient pays off tremendously. Never think you cannot accomplish things. I know from experience that, yes, it’s hard to live with the disability, but always remember: don’t let people define you, only you can define yourself! Don’t ever let anyone’s words define who you are, because you can achieve greatness, you can pass through school, and you can be a very well accomplished person. Be inspired by the words that you give yourself and those from many of your tremendous teachers around you. Look to them; I will always be grateful for the teachers that influenced me. Take your teachers’ words as a word of wisdom. They are doing what they can to help you achieve your goals.
Nothing is ever impossible! Look at the possibilities by learning from the people who influence you the best. You are more intelligent than you know. Take advantage of that. I accomplished things I didn’t think were possible; things come easier when you’re not focused on others, and with that comes great knowledge overall. You can always achieve your dreams, so reach for them! To the teens with autism, you are already doing great things; you are the best! People may never understand, but always find peace in yourself, always be you, and take time to learn about yourself. And always smile.