WT students, special needs community to benefit from new scholarship

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CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A new scholarship established by Panhandle Down Syndrome Guild will support West Texas A&M University students who are committed to helping those with special needs in the Panhandle, according to a press release by WT’s Communications Dept.

The Panhandle Down Syndrome Guild scholarship will focus on students in speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and education who plan to remain in the area and work with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

According to the release, the new scholarship will be announced at the halftime of the WT football against against Midwestern State University. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m. in Buffalo Stadium, with halftime festivities providing recognition WT’s Where the Learning Continues (WTLC) program. The release added that seven of WTLC’s 11 students have Down syndrome.

“WT is pleased to work with the Panhandle Down Syndrome Guild to encourage graduates to remain in the area to help teach and support students with intellectual disabilities and their families,” said Dr. Todd Rasberry, WT vice president for philanthropy and external relations. “This endowment gift directly supports people — the first priority of our historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign.”

The release stated that “a minimum of $1,000 will be awarded annually to one or more qualified students.”

The Panhandle Down Syndrome Guild focuses on education, advocacy and networking support for people with Down syndrome and their families in the High Plains.

“This scholarship will go to somebody who has a heart to help people,” said Jay Campbell, one of the guild’s founders. “Therapists and teachers are the ones who show up. This is a way for us to give back to those who help our kids.”

WT said that Campbell’s daughter Kaylee, a WTLC graduate, will help President Wendler announce the scholarship during halftime.

“The Panhandle Down Syndrome Guild is excited to partner with WT because the University provides some type of training to about 90 percent of all teachers in the region, as well as many of the nurses and therapists who help our members,” said PDSG treasurer Jeff Medford. “WT’s WTLC program helps our members better realize their full potential, and WT has a large voice in the community, helping us to let the community know about our parent support group for people with Down syndrome.

“Working together we can help everyone see we are all more alike than different,” Medford said. “Together we are just better.”

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