Rion Holcombe was overjoyed to learn he had been accepted to the college of his choice, Clemson University, and when he opened his college acceptance letter, Rion's parents recorded his heartwarming reaction and posted it to You Tube. It has since gone viral.
The good news is all the more special to the Holcombes because college wasn't always in the picture for Rion, who has special needs. He is one of more than 400,000 people in the United States living with Down syndrome, a condition that occurs in individuals with an extra copy of chromosome 21, resulting in an altered course of development and some cognitive delays. Rion will attend Clemson University as part of a specially tailored programs for young adults with special needs, providing them with an opportunity to experience college.
Rion’s mother, Clemson alumna Susan Holcombe, is clearly tickled pink – or in this case, orange – that her alma mater is one of a handful of universities in South Carolina who provide a LIFE program, a two year program that incorporates functional academics with independent living, employment, social & leisure skills in a university setting.
“I love that kids like Rion get to experience college life and this type of independence, Holcombe said in her December 18 You Tube post when she shared the footage of Rion opening his letter, adding, [I’m] proud of my alma mater!”
Rion’s parents reportedly didn’t expect Rion would have the opportunity to go to college, and while they don’t have savings to send him, they are determined to make it work.
"I want the maximum experience Rion can get in everything”, his mother told Go Upstate.com , adding, ”I'm telling all the young parents (of children with disabilities), start saving now because you never know what will be available in ten years."