The goal of becoming a general manager in the National Football League may seem like a stretch at best for most aspiring college students.
For Chaz Weiner, his ability to climb hurdles and defy odds makes the dream not only seem realistic, but likely.
Weiner, of Flanders, graduates from County College of Morris (CCM) this May with both his state-endorsed high school diploma and associate’s degree in business administration – at the age of 16. He began working on both at 15.
How Weiner got to CCM and where he plans to go may be even more impressive.
Weiner was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy, leaving his muscles too weak to walk. Weiner, who gets around in a wheelchair, has never allowed his condition to hold him back. Doctors initially weren’t as optimistic, however.
“Some doctors said he wouldn’t even live a year, so don’t do anything,” says Sheri Weiner, Chaz’s mother. “To me, I don’t like anything negative. We’ve never treated him any differently. We’ve never told him he can’t do anything.”
Weiner initially wanted to take part in CCM’s Challenger program, which allows students to enrich their high school education through college-level coursework.
However, after impressive placement test results, he received news he wasn’t expecting from Jessica Chambers, director of Admissions: He would be accepted as a fully matriculated freshman college student.
“From that point on, I told Jessica she really changed my life,” says Weiner.
CCM provided support he believes he wouldn’t have received elsewhere.
“They were so great with just everything that I needed to have,” says Weiner. “To be able to be an independent student, that was the first on my checklist.”
Weiner will attend the University of Arizona in its honors college this fall. He plans to pursue his undergraduate degree in finance, possibly pairing it with a dual major in statistics. His plan is to obtain dual master’s degrees in finance and sports management, eventually leading to work with an NFL franchise.
He hopes to show others with disabilities that great things are possible.
“I can tell myself ‘I can do this,’ but to see that it has been done is what I would like to do for kids younger than me,” says Weiner.
At CCM, it’s safe to say he has already made an impact.