Homer Elementary and others celebrate World Down Syndrome Day

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ENDWELL (WBNG) — March 21 is known as World Down Syndrome Day and at Homer Brink Elementary there was lots of music, dancing, and high-fives. That’s how students celebrated their fellow classmates Grady and Morgan, who both have Down Syndrome.

Students created paper chains this week to go along with the dance-a-thon that occurred Thursday, all to follow the theme organizers wanted students to carry with them.

“It’s just really bringing an awareness. You know, they may look a little different, but we all look a little different and we try to get that point across. But we’re alike in a lot of ways as well,” said teacher and organizer Kellie Van Fleet.

Unity and acceptance was certainly shown by all students to both Morgan and Grady. Seeing all of this support made both their parents extremely happy.

“It brings tears to my eyes when I see how accepted he is and how loved he is. It’s not even about tolerance anymore, it’s just that he’s one of the kids,” said Grady’s mother Katie Simek.

To go along with these celebrations, teachers and parents raised money for Gigi’s Playhouse, an organization that works to continue the positive awareness of Down syndrome. Gigi’s Playhouse is able to continue to spread their message thanks to events like these and its annual gala event happening on Friday.

“Actually I think these are bringing us to the world and let them know that we are who we are,” said Gigi’s Playhouse volunteer Birdie Rittenburg.

All in all, what’s most important is showing love and acceptance for those that might be a little different from us, whether that be Down Syndrome or just having a different personality. It’s what Senator Fred Akshar showed by inviting Julianne “Juice” Horton onto the Senate floor in Albany Wednesday. It’s also something we can all learn from the kids at Homer Brink.

“We should take a play out of these young people’s playbook. Just learn to love one another, live life the best that we possibly can,” said State Senator Fred Akshar.

Most importantly, above all else, this day and the example set by the kids can teach us all to just be happy together as one.

Damon Matson

Damon Matson

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