CORPUS CHRISTI — For Juan Acuna and Sonya Hill, South Texas has always been home and the privilege of serving their community is not lost on them.
“I love being home, so many people in this business are trying to get home and we’re already here,” said Hill.
Both news personalities graduated from Orange Grove High School, Acuna in 2003 and Hill in 2010, but their paths to the newsroom divulge from there.
Acuna had always wanted to be a meteorologist, but the arrival of Hurricane Brett in 1999 sealed his fate. Acuna had always talked weather with his grandfather, watching and learning while spending time with him.
“I always wanted to be a meteorologist; there was nothing else I wanted to be,” said Acuna. “I remember watching people and cops running everywhere during (Hurricane) Brett and thinking that I wanted to be involved with that.”
Juan earned his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Incarnate Word in 2010, taking some time off after his grandfather passed. The passing of his meteorological inspiration left Acuna questioning his choice of major, but after a health scare, where he lost his hearing completely for six months, he knew that he had to finish what he started.
His personal tragedies spurred him on to complete is his degree and to begin his career in the news studio. He took his first job in Odessa, returned to Corpus Christi, worked in San Antonio and has now settled back into the Coastal Bend.
Hill was born in Corpus Christi and split time between the coastal bend and her family in Mexico. When she entered the first grade, however, her family had firmly landed in Orange Grove. Hill attended Orange Grove schools through graduation, but was never quite sure which career she wanted to pursue.
“I remember being in high school and we had to write a report on what we wanted to be,” said Hill. “I wrote about being a news anchor, but didn’t think that was in the cards for me.”
Hill says that she grew up without many extras and felt that becoming an anchor was “unattainable” for her. She started working as soon as she turned 14, waiting tables at the Bulldog Diner, a local joint in Orange Grove.
“My upbringing taught me how to work and hard and fend for yourself,” said Hill.
After high school, Hill attended Del Mar College and A&M Corpus Christi and during this time she gave birth to her son.
“I was in my early 20s and kind of struggling,” she said.
During that time, she won a Miss Harley Davidson contest and was offered a job at KZTV soon there after.