"Yes, I am the very first person to graduate here, but I'm not going to be the last," Kuehl said.
All through his life, Dylan Kuehl was told that he wouldn't be able to do a lot of things in life. “They should not be saying that to me,” said Kuehl, according to King5.
Instead, he focused on one thing that he really wanted to do—to graduate from college. But, he was no average pupil. He has Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that impairs cognitive and intellectual ability. But despite that, he bagged his graduate degree from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Kuehl, 38, became the first person with Down syndrome to graduate, in the college’s 51-year history.
“When life gives you lemons,” said Kuehl, “make lemonade out of it.”
The man now holds a bachelor's degree in arts with an emphasis on writing. Among his favorite classes were painting and dance. Out of the almost 900 graduates, Kuehl was one of just three students selected to make a speech at the event, just before getting his diploma.
https://t.co/gnh8VYvUMD Please read & comment on our latest live blog story: Dylan Kuehl is the first student with DS to graduate from college with a bachelor's degree in Washington State! He stands for #DiversityandInclusion please show your support thank you :-) pic.twitter.com/mqwTHoYCCq— Erika Petrie@shadesofdifferent (@ErikaPetrie2) June 17, 2022
”I see the greatness in all of our graduates,” said Kuehl, in the recorded message.
”I have to say. Wow. I never thought I would make it this far,” said Kuehl, “When I first started, I had people tell me I wasn’t ready for college. It discouraged me. Instead of giving up, I built a ‘Yes Team.'”
He then thanked his mother, teachers, tutors, and fellow classmates for all their help, but acknowledged that it was most of his own hard work that got him his degree. Now, he hopes his story will serve as an inspiration to others like him. “All of our hard work, dedication, and never giving up has brought us to this point,” Kuehl explained.
"Celebrate your abilities. Live your life with ambition and pride,” Kuehl said, "Yes, I am the very first person to graduate here, but I'm not going to be the last."
There are so many people like Kuehl who are capable of a lot of things, but people generally tend to think that they are unable to succeed, all because of that extra chromosome. However, there was once a man who gave a new life to a baby girl with Down syndrome. He adopted her, after she was rejected by 20 families due to her condition.
Luca Trapanese welcomed his daughter, Alba, with open arms at the age of 2, after she faced several rejections.
"I wanted to become a father, to sow my knowledge, my love, my affection in another creature. Currently, I have forgotten that Alba has been adopted and for me, it is not a foreign body,” he said in an interview (in Italian) with Bon Culture.
“A disabled child is not a second choice, but a conscious choice with respect to my vocation and my abilities,” he explained. “I was not afraid of adopting a disabled child."
People like Luca and Kuehl show that anything is possible with kindness and determination, right?
Cover Image Source: YouTube | The Evergreen State College Productions (Dylan Kuehl - Alt Grad Speaker 2022)