Living with Down syndrome often leads people to underestimate your capabilities.
Growing up, Dylan Keuhl was told “no” more times than he can count. He’s felt knocked down and denigrated throughout his life, but with supportive family and friends by his side, he persevered. Now, he’s made history by being the first person with Down syndrome to ever graduate from his college!
Dylan recently earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He’s the first person with Down syndrome to ever achieve this goal in the college’s 51-year history. Not only that, but he’s the first person with Down syndrome in the entire state’s history to graduate from college!
Dylan graduated with an emphasis on writing, and he is well known around campus for his artistic talents. He’s an accomplished painter, and he loves to dance.
In honor of his historic achievement, Dylan was one of just three graduates out of 900 students who was selected to give a speech during the ceremony. He prerecorded his speech, and he hopes that it inspires not just his fellow grads, but anyone who has ever been told their dreams were out of reach.
“Wow, I never thought I’d make it this far,” Dylan said in his message. “I am the first person with Down syndrome to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Washington. 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.'”
Dylan’s “Yes Team” is comprised of Evergreen faculty both past and present, friends he made in college, and his family. This group supported him and told him “yes” when he was far too used to hearing “no.”
Dylan goes on to praise Evergreen for creating an inclusive environment for all students.
“Evergreen is based on acceptance,” he said. “I believe that many other students, like me, have a right to be included as well. We all benefit from diversity and inclusion in our community. Diversity and inclusion creates a well-rounded community for us all.”
“Celebrate your abilities,” he concluded. “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.”
Watch Dylan’s full speech in the video below, and be sure to share to celebrate his historic accomplishment!
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