by Cori Hilsgen
Students at Kennedy Community School arrived at school March 21 wearing a variety of brightly colored socks.
They wore unusual socks to draw attention to themselves so they could spread awareness of World Down Syndrome Day.
Speech language pathologist Kirsten Doering and fourth-grade teacher Mary Radunz, along with Radunz’s students, worked together on the effort.
Radunz’s students made posters to hang around the school. The posters featured a photo of fourth-grade student John Paul “JP” Schmit who has Down Syndrome, with other classmates.
Doering and the students wrote scripts about the event and shared them on the morning announcements. Radunz showed video clips in her class throughout the day.
“Students with Down Syndrome want to feel included,” Doering said. “They want to learn and have friends and be involved in school just like all students do. Mary Radunz, classroom teacher, and Laurel Schoborg, special-education teacher, work hard and do an incredible job fostering that type of inclusive feeling into the school learning environment.”
Several fourth-grade students commented about the day.
“It’s fun to celebrate with kids with Down Syndrome because they’re fun,” Solina Jasso said.
“I think it’s very cool, and it’s a great way to show people no matter who you are, you can do anything,” Allison Moon said.
“It was really fun and I’m glad I got to celebrate it with JP,” Willow Thompson said.
For the past nine years, World Down Syndrome Day has been celebrated March 21 each year because people with Down Syndrome have an extra chromosome on their 21st pair of chromosomes.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.