Clemson acceptance video shines light on college special program - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Clemson acceptance viral video shines light on college special programs

Posted: Updated:

Hundreds of thousands of people have watched 20-year-old Rion Holcombe read has acceptance letter into Clemson University's LIFE Program. Holcombe has Down Syndrome and had dreamed about becoming a Clemson Tiger. The video has captured the hearts of the country.

Clemson isn't the only college to have a such program. There are 200 around the nation and five in South Carolina.

The REACH program at the College of Charleston has 29 REACH students and 10 are accepted every year.

REACH Director Edie Cusack loves the reaction that Rion's viral video has received across the country.

"I get to live that all the time. I'm the one who talks to the students and tell them that they have been accepted into the program. On the other end of the phone, I hear tears and screams and crying and I actually cry on my end of the phone," she explained.

REACH is a four-year, fully inclusive college program for students with intellectual disabilities such as autism or Down Syndrome. The goal is giving them the full college experience.

"They get the same college experience as other College of Charleston students. They are able to live on campus. They take traditional courses that we modify," Cusack said.

"Most people with intellectual disabilities have lifetime unemployment and live at home with their families for the rest of their lives. This increases their ability to live on their own and have a full and productive life," she continued.

The REACH and LIFE programs and stories like Rion's are changing the national dialogue and changing lives.

"The change in thought process about disability that's happening on campus. Because people are now meeting people with a disability and disability is taken out of that equation and they are just getting to know someone," Cusack said.

"They started out much more dependent on the program than they are now and they don't really need us anymore. They are ready to graduate and live full and independent lives... and that's the goal," she said.

In the most recent legislative session, state lawmakers voted to grant scholarships for the programs.

More information: http://reach.cofc.edu/

  • College of Charleston hires new basketball coach

    College of Charleston hires new basketball coach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:19 PM EDT2014-09-03 00:19:09 GMT
    C of C men's basketball coach was fired Tuesday.C of C men's basketball coach was fired Tuesday.
    The College of Charleston announced a new head coach for the men's basketball team Tuesday evening.Earl Grant, currently an assistant coach at Clemson, will be replacing former Head Coach Doug Wojcik after Wojcik was fired amid allegations of verbal abuse.RELATED: CofC coach firedGrant is no stranger to the Lowcountry. He played basketball for Stall High School and started his coaching career at the Citadel in 2002 before spending six seasons under Gregg Marshall at the College of Charleston....
    The College of Charleston announced a new head coach for the men's basketball team Tuesday evening.Earl Grant, currently an assistant coach at Clemson, will be replacing former Head Coach Doug Wojcik after Wojcik was fired amid allegations of verbal abuse.RELATED: CofC coach firedGrant is no stranger to the Lowcountry. He played basketball for Stall High School and started his coaching career at the Citadel in 2002 before spending six seasons under Gregg Marshall at the College of Charleston....
  • Awendaw shocked by shooting death

    Awendaw shocked by shooting death

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:07 PM EDT2014-09-03 00:07:54 GMT
    SHOOTING VICTIM: 33-year-old Earl CampbellSHOOTING VICTIM: 33-year-old Earl Campbell
    Family and friends are mourning the murder of an Awendaw man.Authorities identified 33-year-old Earl Campbell as the victim of Monday night's shooting. 19-year-old Manning Isaiah Milligan was arrested early Tuesday morning in connection the murder.Family members and friends gathered at Campbell's Grandmother's house to remember the father of two."We were able to tell each other man to man that I love you and he told me that he loved me also," said Lawrence Campbell, Earl's father. "That's wha...
    Family and friends are mourning the murder of an Awendaw man.Authorities identified 33-year-old Earl Campbell as the victim of Monday night's shooting. 19-year-old Manning Isaiah Milligan was arrested early Tuesday morning in connection the murder.Family members and friends gathered at Campbell's Grandmother's house to remember the father of two."We were able to tell each other man to man that I love you and he told me that he loved me also," said Lawrence Campbell, Earl's father. "That's wha...
  • College of Charleston looks to admit top ten percent of local high schools to gain more diverse students

    College of Charleston looks to admit top ten percent of local high schools to gain more diverse students

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:51 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:51:31 GMT
    Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston County students who worked hard to land a spot in the top ten percent of their high school could soon gain automatic acceptance to a nearby college.The College of Charleston is working to give automatic acceptance to those students in an effort to meet their diversity goals.Right now the diversity numbers at the college are slim. In 2013, they only had 15% minorities and about 64% of their overall student body is female."We are hoping this initiative will p...
    Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston County students who worked hard to land a spot in the top ten percent of their high school could soon gain automatic acceptance to a nearby college.The College of Charleston is working to give automatic acceptance to those students in an effort to meet their diversity goals.Right now the diversity numbers at the college are slim. In 2013, they only had 15% minorities and about 64% of their overall student body is female."We are hoping this initiative will p...
Powered by WorldNow

210 W. Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Telephone: 843.216.4875
Fax: 843.881.3410
Email: news@wcbd.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.