Dylan Kuehl has Down syndrome and has spent most of his life with people telling him he wouldn’t achieve the same things as others. Despite that, he has managed to receive a Bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College. Anyone who knows someone with Down syndrome would know that they are used to people assuming they won’t achieve the same kind of success other people will. But according to Dylan, “They should not be saying that to me.” And impressively, this 31-year-old graduate will be the first individual living with Down syndrome to receive their graduation in the 51-year history of the college.
Dylan also has quite an optimistic view of life. It may seem cliche, but it’s true. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade out of it,” he says. Dylan received a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in writing.
Before he received his Diploma, Dylan was just one of the three students out of around 900 graduates who were chosen to give a speech at the graduation ceremony. In the message that was recorded, Dylan stated, “I see the greatness in all of our graduates. I have to say. Wow. I never thought I would make it this far. 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 of people… who supported my goals and gave me the resources to succeed”.
Dylan has given a lot of credit to his peers and his teachers that supported him throughout his journey. But he also knows that a lot of what he achieved was due to his own efforts. And this is precisely why he hopes that his journey would help others with the same disorder achieve their goals.
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Individual With Down Syndrome Graduates From College
In his speech, he also stated, “All of our hard work, perseverance and never giving up has led us to this very moment. Evergreen is based on acceptance where many other students like me can have a right to be included. Diversity and inclusion create a well-rounded community for us all.”
Dylan hopes that his academic success will inspire others.
In fact, he has no doubt that his journey will serve as an inspiration. He also wants others to know that there will always be people who would support them- no matter where they end up. “Celebrate your abilities. Live your life with ambition and pride. Yes, I am the very first person to graduate here, but I’m not going to be the last.”
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- “Graduate with Down syndrome makes history at Olympia college.” King5. Drew Mikkelsen. June 10, 2022.