A Pennsylvania teen with Down syndrome is warming hearts with a video showing her unrestrained excitement after she finds out she’s been accepted into East Stroudsburg University.
In the video at the top of the page you can see Rachel Grace reading the letter sent by the college, upon which she realizes she was accepted.
“It is with great pleasure to notify you of your acceptance into the CILLS program. I got in!” she cries. “I’m going to college!”
Since the video was posted on Facebook showing the teen with Down syndrome getting accepted, it has since amassed more than 13 million views and thousands of likes and shares, according to WNEP.
Rachel Grace and her mother, Deb, went on Fox & Friends on Sunday to talk about the viral video and Rachel’s acceptance into the university.
“It was very exciting; we were very happy for Rachel,” Deb said.
The hosts of Fox & Friends asked Rachel Grace how she felt about the acceptance letter and she replied, “It was just cool.”
According to Fox News, though Rachel Grace may have Down syndrome, it hasn’t stopped her from excelling as the manager of her high school basketball team outside of Philadelphia. Though she loves her mother, Rachel decided she definitely wanted to move away from home and live independently to get the full college experience.
This helped shape her decision while picking a special-needs college that works with students with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. Rachel Grace will be studying in the Career, Independent Living & Learning program. Institutions like ESU are dedicated to giving individuals with Down syndrome an education and university experience just like any other college.
“They go to class, they cheer on the Warriors, they go to the cafeteria, they wake up for that 8 a.m. Monday class,” said College of Education Dean Terry Barry.
When East Stroudsburg University found out about the viral video of Rachel Grace getting accepted, they posted the clip on their own Facebook page with the caption, “Welcome to ESU Rachel Grace! We are lucky to call you a Warrior.”
“You can’t help but have tears in your eyes. I mean that’s what we do. That’s what we try to do,” said Domenico Cavaiuolo from the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitative and Human Services. “[Rachel Grace] took it very seriously and when she got accepted, I mean obviously it’s what she was looking for.”
Dean Barry saw Rachel’s video, too. And despite helping hundreds of young adults with Down syndrome every year, he admitted the video had an emotional impact. But not many students have their reactions go viral.
“Of course, it just melts your heart when you see a student reading the acceptance letter, but at that moment, I didn’t realize that over a half a million other people had also saw the video.”
According to the Daily Mail, while Rachel Grace will be living on her own away from home, ESU is only about an hour and half drive from where she currently lives, meaning her mother will be close enough to visit regularly.
Rachel Grace’s video isn’t the only viral clip on the internet of a person with Down syndrome getting accepted into college.
Check out the videos below, featuring Rion and Noah, both teens with Down syndrome who had similar ecstatic reactions to Rachel Grace.
What do you think about Rachel Grace’s video? Are you happy that people with Down syndrome can get the same kind of college education as everyone else?
[Images via Facebook]