Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Graduated from High School and has his first job

He lives with a developmental disability, but it hasn't stopped him from achieving in the classroom. 18-year-old Tyler Steward has Down syndrome. Despite the condition, he graduated from high school this week, and he's already landed his first job.

"I made a pact that I will stand behind him and do whatever I have to, to give him the best life I can," the loving mother says.

That 'best life' was cultivated at Rogers High School.

"A lot of that has to do with public awareness, and realizing that there is so much more potential than just putting them in a classroom in the basement of the school," Sandy says. "Having them involved in school activities, and the staff facilitating that, it's really brought a lot of positive awareness to our community."

All the hard work has led to Tyler's high school graduation. He says he will miss his classmates. "I feel sad. I'm going to miss all my friends and stuff."

Although he will cherish the memories, his new ones will begin at Shared Lives Studios, affiliated with Lott Industries.

Employees make art and sell it, in addition to doing various jobs in the community. Tyler hopes to make good friends there.

His mother says she's learned a lot from watching him grow over the years.

"Tyler has taught me more about life than I can ever give Tyler," she says. "He's taught me patience, he's taught me compassion, things I didn't have before I had him. And he's taught me to understand and accept diversity. And they all have something to give. You just have to find it."

Tyler has 'found it,' and he knows he's done well. "My whole family is so proud of me," he says.
It's a proud moment for everyone who has been touched by the young man.

Tyler is also starting his own business. It's called "Tyler for Hire." He's currently working on his business plan.


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