For years Harry Dydo dreamed of going to Syracuse University – a dream that may seem out of reach for an individual with Down syndrome. But Harry didn’t let that stop him.
He is currently attending InclusiveU, earning his college certificate as well as working a variety of internships. InclusiveU is a program of Syracuse University’s Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, which is “committed to individualized and inclusive higher educational opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” This year Harry is serving an internship at the Barnes Center at The Arch, “a health-and-wellness facility on campus offering all students support for mental and physical wellness.”
But for Harry, perhaps the biggest highlight has been living in a college dorm.
“My dream. Yeah, I can’t stop smiling about it,” said Harry.
Harry’s mom, Colette Powers, told reporters:
“It’s truly amazing. You know, we say, we always look at each other and we’re like pinch me. My youngest just went off to Geneseo and I will say to people, if I ever thought I was going to say I have two in college the day that he was born – [I would have said] never.”
Myers relates that Inclusive U’s graduates have an employment rate of 100 percent. With that promising data in mind, Harry has no plans of returning home to his parents after graduation. In fact, he plans to marry his girlfriend of five years, get a job and a place of his own, and continue enjoying a happy, independent life.
His mom remarked:
“I’ve done all I can possibly do. He worked all last year. He worked this summer with a mentor. Practicing the streets, she was fabulous, practicing the bus route. He’s loving life. He’s crushing it. Just crushing it.”