Getting accepted to college is a big moment in anyone’s life but for Rion Holcombe, who has Down syndrome, it is a day he will never forget. The 20-year-old from South Carolina was filmed by his parents as he opened a letter from Clemson University.
After carefully reading the letter he looks ecstatic as he turns to the camera and says, with a huge smile: ‘I got accepted.’
The sports-mad youngster will join the two-year Life program at Clemson next fall, where he will experience college life while furthering his education and learning to be independent.
As a student at Clemson, Rion and his new college friends will live on campus, and attend and take part in sporting events and other activities with those studying at the main university.
Rion, who lives in Spartanburg, sent in a video application to the university, which shows him winning medals at swim meets, hitting home runs for his baseball team and enjoying water sports with his sister Molly and friends, as well as doing chores and going to prom.
His mother, Susan Holcombe, said: ‘This is an amazing two-year program for a small number of young adults with special needs.’
The heartwarming video of him getting his acceptance letter has been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube and more than 1,000 well-wishers have left comments of congratulations under it.
While it won’t lead to degree, the program offers students with learning disabilities the chance to develop skills to help them in the work place.
And, as the video of him receiving his college application shows, the chance to be a student is overwhelmingly exciting for Rion.