Student with Down syndrome set to graduate from University of Kentucky

Portraits for commencement story on Megan McCormick. Photo by Pete Comparoni | UKphoto
Portraits for commencement story on Megan McCormick. Photo by Pete Comparoni | UKphoto(WKYT)
Published: May. 2, 2019 at 5:33 PM EDT
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Megan McCormick will be among the thousands of students to walk across the stage in Rupp Arena this weekend during the University of Kentucky’s commencement ceremony. In many ways, she’s a lot like her fellow graduates, but in others her experience at UK differed.

McCormick, 30, is part of the small population of college students across the country with Down syndrome.

"I'm proud of me. This was my idea of going back to college, and I'm officially graduating this year. It's a special moment, and I'm excited," McCormick said.

For the past five years, McCormick has been attending classes across campus to earn her degree in Liberal Studies. She hopes to soon get a full-time job teaching children with disabilities.

McCormick has spent countless hours in pre-school, kindergarten and elementary classrooms working with children, and has even been working as a substitute teacher assistant at a local elementary school for over a year, according to a press release from the University of Kentucky.

"I was one of them when I was in school. In my elementary through high school experience, I know what it's like to have a disability. They should be defined by their abilities not their disabilities," she said. "Coming out of special education and pursuing the same interest full circle, I want to teach those kids to fulfill their full potential later in their lives — in their new chapters ahead of them."

McCormick has previously competed in the Special Olympics as a swimmer, gymnast and cheerleader, according to a press release from UK. When she isn’t competing or at school, she travels around as a public speaker.

Recently, McCormick received UK’s 2019 Adelstein Award given to a student or students with a disability who serve as an inspiration to the UK community.

"Never give up on your dreams,” McCormick said.

Read McCormick’s full story here.