Dad beaming with pride when daughter with Down syndrome just graduated from college

Seeing their kids graduate is probably one of the most special moments for parents. It’s a heartwarming and fulfilling experience for them.

When Jay Handlin saw her daughter graduating from college, he felt extra proud.

Twitter/Jay Handlin Source: Twitter/Jay Handlin

Being diagnosed with Down Syndrome, it wasn’t an easy journey for his daughter Rachel. Her condition came with several misconceptions and challenges.

A lot of people think that those diagnosed with the condition are incapable of living a normal and independent life. For them, kids with Down Syndrome can’t achieve anything in life.

Rachel broke those misconceptions.

Twitter/Jay Handlin Source: Twitter/Jay Handlin

In fact, Jay describes her as a fierce being. Despite her condition, she’s able to accomplish a lot of things and her father has been by her side all the time.

Twitter/Jay Handlin Source: Twitter/Jay Handlin

He was there when she had her exhibitions. He was with her when she was working on her mid-residency project, too.

When Rachel earned her degree, Jay considered himself the proudest father around.

In a post, he shared:

“This is my daughter, Rachel Handlin. Tonight, she earned her full Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography & Media from the prestigious California Institue of the Arts, @CalArts. Raches has #Downsyndrome.

I am officially the proudest father on the planet.

Fight me.”

Jay’s post has earned tons of positive comments.

One of them said:

“You deserve the title as she would not be what she is without your love, support and encouragment. Congratulations to Rachel and wear the proudest Dad title well sir”

Another one commented:

“You have every reason to be proud! What a beautiful, talented and creative daughter you have. Congratulations to you both. That is a wonderful accomplishment. Wishing your daughter a lifetime of happiness and success!”

A Twitter user said:

“I don’t wish to fight you, but I will congratulate you and your daughter – you for doing a fine job as a parent, her for doing a fine job at college. No wonder you’re proud.”

Rachel showed great potential at such a young age.

Twitter/Jay Handlin Source: Twitter/Jay Handlin

She was first exposed to great art when the family went on a vacation in Paris. Jay and his wife took the girl to Musée d’Orsay. There, they toured the area while holding her. The moment they passed the Van Gogh gallery, the child seemed to experience a “spark”.

Jay recalled:

“She had an instant, strong, positive physical reaction to the art.”

Eventually, Rachel was able to develop better creative skills.

Her parents got her a Nikon Coolpix point-and-shoot digital camera for her birthday. She was able to start taking photography classes in high school. By the time she reached college, she was already in the process of building her portfolio.

She has really supportive parents.

Twitter/Jay Handlin Source: Twitter/Jay Handlin

Her parents know the challenges that come with independent living. Not wanting her to deal with them while studying, Rachel lived with her mom in an apartment.

Unfortunately, with the pandemic going on, graduation ceremonies have been canceled.

However, since his child’s graduation is super special, he looked for a way to celebrate her success. His post sparked thousands of positive reactions.

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Source: Bored Panda, Twenty Two Words