Everyone contributes to building a community.

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This article was published 7/4/2017 (1626 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Everyone contributes to building a community.

Robyn de Witt, 17, is a Grade 11 student at Immanuel Christian School (215 Rougeau Ave.) who lives with her parents, in Dugald, Man. Her two older brothers and older sister attended Immanuel Christian School before her. 

Robyn de Witt is a Grade 11 student at Immanuel Christian School (215 Rougeau Ave.). She enjoys English, math, and science class, and performs percussion in the school band. She also enjoys basketball and badminton. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

Robyn de Witt is a Grade 11 student at Immanuel Christian School (215 Rougeau Ave.). She enjoys English, math, and science class, and performs percussion in the school band. She also enjoys basketball and badminton. (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

Robyn de Witt is also the only student at her school with Down syndrome.

On March 21, de Witt and her fellow students celebrated World Down Syndrome Day at Immanuel Christian School.

"Different countries did too," de Witt said.

Students, staff and parents all wore different coloured socks to show that everyone is different. The school gathered in an assembly to view a video, and de Witt gave a presentation to the school about Down syndrome.

"People with Down syndrome have three chomosomes of No. 21," de Witt explained as part of her presentation. "I am lucky because I have three chromosomes of No. 21."

Robyn de Witt is a Grade 11 student at Immanuel Christian School (215 Rougeau Ave.). (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

Robyn de Witt is a Grade 11 student at Immanuel Christian School (215 Rougeau Ave.). (SHELDON BIRNIE/CANSTAR/THE HERALD)

"(The presentation) gave her the opportunity to share what it means," said Deborah deRuiter, the education assistant who supports de Witt at school.

Over the course of World Down Syndrome Day, de Witt took pictures of the wide variety of bright coloured socks students and staff were sporting, and put together a poster that now hangs in the hallway near the front doors of the school to commemorate the event.

"Our theme is we are all created in a unique way," deRuiter said.

According to deRuiter, the event provided a great opportunity for the whole school community to learn about Down syndrome, and to celebrate difference.

On March 21, Immanuel Christian School celebrated World Down Syndrome Day by wearing different coloured socks, while de Witt delivered a presentation to the school on what having Down Syndrome means.

SUPPLIED PHOTO

On March 21, Immanuel Christian School celebrated World Down Syndrome Day by wearing different coloured socks, while de Witt delivered a presentation to the school on what having Down Syndrome means.

"Everyone contributes to the community," she said. "Everybody deserves respect.  We all have goals and dreams, and things we struggle with. We all have different likes and dislikes, we all use different supports in the community. And that’s what makes a community."

A friendly, confident student, de Witt said she likes school, and loves socializing or studying with her friends. She enjoys science, English, and math.

"(But) my favourite is band," she said. "I play the timpani, bass drum. Tambourine. Cymbals."

A team player, de Witt keeps active playing badminton and basketball with friends, and practises gymnastics Tuesday evenings. Currently, she’s learning a routine with hula hoops.

While de Witt is looking forward to graduating in 2018, she said that she still has a lot of work to do at Immanuel Christian School before then, including building on the success of this year’s World Down Syndrome Day for next year’s celebration.

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Sheldon Birnie

Sheldon Birnie
The Herald community journalist

Sheldon Birnie is the reporter/photographer for The Herald. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at sheldon.birnie@canstarnews.com Call him at 204-697-7112

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