Friday, May 25, 2012

teen with Down Syndrome graduates with standard diploma



from 12 WSFA.com by Beth Shelburne:

Allison Gabriel is a young woman who has dreamed big since she was little. This girl with a big smile is a lot of things--daughter, sister, friend to many.
Allison's strengths have always been the focus in the Gabriel house, because even though Allison has Down syndrome, her parents say it's no big deal.
"Not everyone in this world is perfect. In fact I don't know anyone who's perfect other than Jesus and so... She is who she is," Allison's mom, Susan, said.
 Allison had to work extra hard to pass her exit exams to achieve her goal of graduating with a standard diploma. But despite that achievement, when you talk to Allison, it's never about her.
When asked how she feels about graduation, she said, "It feels great... And I like to be with my sister."
"She does have a heart like Jesus," her mom says. "I mean if you do something to offend her and she gets her feelings hurt often, if you say I'm sorry it's over with."
This compassionate young woman rises to the occasion, because her parents, Susan and Harry, expect her to.
Whether it's a beauty walk or playing basketball at Northridge High School, anything Allison has wanted to do, they've encouraged her and asked others to give her a chance.
Susan says Allison's success is in part thanks to her community.
When Allison was just six weeks old, she started early intervention at the University of Alabama Rise school.
"I think living in Tuscaloosa really, you are kind of at an advantage because when Allison was born Gene Stallings was here so his son was here and it was just people accepted things better," Susan said.
Allison's classmates love her, and what a gift she's given them: a lifetime of open hearts thanks to their time together over the years.
"She knows no boundaries and knows no limits," her dad Harry said.
And she got there with grace and the strength of her family's unconditional love. A big congratulations to Allison. The skies the limit.

see the video here

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