For high school seniors, college acceptance letters, whether big or small envelopes that say “yes” or “no,” have the power to change their future within seconds. For a Wisconsin high school student with Down syndrome, the moment he opened his college acceptance letter from Edgewood College in Madison, Wis., was an unforgettable moment that would captivate the hearts of his parents, peers, and over 300,000 viewers on YouTube. Eighteen-year-old Noah Van Vooren defeated the odds by playing for his high school football team, being crowned prom king, and getting accepted into college — after doctors said he wouldn’t be able to “walk, talk, or do anything.”
“I got accepted!” Van Vooren screamed after reading the first line of the letter in the video. “Dad, you rock! I love you!” the teen concluded before he gave his father a hug. To help the high school senior celebrate, a student at Noah’s school, Reddit user lonewanderer356, featured the video in the school-wide weekly video announcement, where the entire student body erupted in applause, according to Gawker. The Reddit user wrote, “Everyone in the school loves Noah and hopes the best for him.”
The Edgewood College that Noah was admitted to has had a total of 32 students that have graduated from the program since it first started in 2007. The four-year program, Cutting Edge, is the first in the state of Wisconsin that caters to developmentally disabled students so they are able to have a similar experience to their peers. The three required courses in the program include: Resource Seminar, Safety in the Community, and Friends, Dating, and Your Place in a Diverse Community.
The Wisconsin teen has an impressive resume, as he served as the team manager and waterboy for four years at Little Chute High School in Clintonville, Wis., where during one of his final games, the team decided to let him make a play of a lifetime. “I'm so happy, my parents are here today. It's a big night tonight,” Van Vooren said before the game in a YouTube video.
Van Vooren will attend Edgewood College in the fall.