At Plymouth Elementary School (PE), students celebrated World Down Syndrome Day by "rocking their socks", watching a video about Down Syndrome, and having a special visitor. Emilio Lopez, a PE first grader with Down Syndrome, went to each classroom in the school to greet the students and deliver a World Down Syndrome Day poster.
"We celebrate Down Syndrome Day so they can know that if they're a little bit different, we still appreciate them," said PE first grader Aariana Avery.
Emilio's class also welcomed Emilio's mother, Lori Lopez, who read a story and shared some information about Down Syndrome with the students. She also spoke about the surgeries that Emilio has had and showed some of the posters and brochures that feature Emilio from a special photo shoot at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"I think it's great, because some kids may have questions about somebody who's a little different," said Mrs. Lopez. "For example, he uses an ipad sometimes to communicate in the classroom, he gets pulled out to work with different specialists during the day, and he has a different chair. So it's nice to go into the classroom and explain why he's a little bit different."
The children also learned the story about why World Down Syndrome Day is held on March 21. Most human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes. However, people with Down Syndrome have three chromosomes where their 21st pair would be.
"They have three chromosomes, and March is the third month, so basically that's why we celebrate it today," added Aariana.
World Down Syndrome day has been celebrated worldwide since 2012 to help raise awareness and celebrate individuals with Down Syndrome.