CHESNEE, SC (FOX Carolina) - Connor Bloomfield just walked the stage, graduating from Chesnee High School. But this special graduate is about to make a bigger mark along with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).
A photo of Connor taken at graduation will be featured in the NDSS's annual video presentation at Times Square in New York City on September 14th, and will help kick off Down Syndrome Awareness Month on the morning of the NDSS Buddy Walk in NYC. According to Spartanburg District 2, this photo of Connor was hand-selected out of thousands of photos submitted from around the world. The district originally posted the photo on their Facebook page after graduation in May.
"We were ecstatic," said Michelle Bloomfield, Connor's mom. She says she's more than ready to make the trip up to NYC in the fall to help represent Connor. But more importantly, she takes pride in her son walking the stage back in May.
“We were so proud of him. His whole family was there,” Bloomfield said. “Everyone wanted to share in his celebration. He was so proud of himself and that made us even more proud of him.”
She also says the photo captured a lifetime of joy while a student in Spartanburg District 2, saying her son has felt loved and valued.
“All the way from preschool to today, he has had some wonderful teachers. They have really helped him reach beyond what we thought he could,” Bloomfield said. “We were concerned when he was younger. But once he was expected to do more, he took that as a challenge, and he has grown by leaps and bounds.”
Connor isn't finished with school just yet; he'll return to class in the fall and continue to receive services to prepare him for a transition into the workforce. Bloomfield said she's excited he will continue growing with the same people who helped him garner so much independence.
“They have believed Connor could achieve and they helped him do it. They have been his biggest cheerleaders," she said.
The NDSS released this statement about the campaign in Times Square:
“Every year, NDSS reminds the world in a big way about the gifts that people with Down Syndrome bring to their communities through a special video presentation on a jumbo screen in the heart of Times Square. The featured photographs highlight children, teens and adults with Down syndrome working, playing and learning alongside friends and family. These collective images promote acceptance and inclusion, which is the foundation of NDSS and the National Buddy Walk® Program. The video presentation is a reminder of the contributions, accomplishments and value of people with Down Syndrome.”