A woman with Down Syndrome can’t hold back her excitement as she’s surprised with a college scholarship, screaming, “I GOT IT!” as her family watches on with pride.
Martha Haythorn, 22, was surprised with the $10,000 scholarship from the charity Ruby’s Rainbow, allowing her to fulfill her dream of attending Georgia Tech University.
According to Martha’s family, she had been attending Georgia Tech’s EXCEL Program before she was later accepted into the college’s Vocations Rehab.
The family said there was initial financial help, but when that funding was cut to a much smaller amount, Martha’s parents were left scrambling to come up with the funds.
Martha insisted she applied for help from Ruby’s Rainbow all by herself, which meant a nervous wait after the application was submitted.
Ruby’s Rainbow is a charitable organization providing scholarships for adults with Down syndrome and is overseen by Ruby’s mom, Liz Plachta, whose daughter was the inspiration behind the non-profit.
Ruby’s Rainbow has awarded nearly 600 scholarships worth more than $2,000,000.
Having patiently waited for a reply to her application, Martha returned to her Decatur, Georgia, home one day and asked if there had been any mail.
Her mom, Mary, informed her there was some on the coffee table, and when Martha saw one of the letters from Ruby’s Rainbow, Mary started recording.
Martha’s scholarship was for $10,000, significantly helping her family with her college costs, which are said to be around $30,000 annually.
Mom Mary said of the moment: “It was news to us as well, so we were all very excited – Martha expresses joy with every cell in her body, so it is such fun to be with her when she is excited.
“She would like to have a job when she finishes her program.
“She would like to serve as a disability advocate, spokesperson, and lobbyist and work to expand access for people with disabilities to vital services and cultivate understanding and acceptance for the inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities.
“Ruby’s Rainbow is a unique and vital source of support for individuals with Down syndrome to access post-secondary education and training.
“The presence of individuals in inclusive post-secondary programs is changing the lives of individuals with T21 and the communities in which they participate.
“Martha is not simply getting to “go to college” she is continuing her learning and addressing her unique needs for skill-building alongside her peers without IDD.
“This is inclusion at its best and a model for communities and employers.”