Highland News Leader

Highland teen with Down syndrome inspires those around her

Holly Wrobbel, a 17-year-old junior at Highland High School, was named the “Student of the Year” at the annual Illinois Statewide Transition Conference.
Holly Wrobbel, a 17-year-old junior at Highland High School, was named the “Student of the Year” at the annual Illinois Statewide Transition Conference.

A Highland teenager with Down syndrome was honored at a recent statewide conference for achieving her own personal goals and helping others to do the same.

Holly Wrobbel, a 17-year-old junior at Highland High School, was named the “Student of the Year” at the annual Illinois Statewide Transition Conference.

The conference, which was held Oct. 23-24 at Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield, is promote effective, person-centered transition planning to address all aspects of adult life for youth with disabilities. Titled, “Stepping Stones of Transition,” the conference invited participants to imagine the possibilities for students with disabilities in the areas of independent living, education and training, employment, community integration, health care, and self-advocacy.

The award Wrobbel received is given annually to a youth/young adult (14-26 years of age) who has successfully achieved his/her transition planning goals to become more independent in adulthood, a self-advocate and a good role model for others.

Wrobbel is no stranger to awards. She was named the the 2016 Illinois Teen Butterfly Dreams Queen. She also won the 2016 National Rise Award for Down Syndrome advocacy.

She is also very involved in Special Olympics and has competed at both the regional and state level for the last several years in a row in three different sports, receiving a total of 12 gold medals and two silver medals at the state level for rhythmic gymnastics competitions and medaling at both regional bocce and regional bowling.

She is also active in her school’s chorus program and works making and selling cookies as part of the Special Education Program at Highland High School. She is a member of the Highland Bulldogs Women’s Bowling Team, where she is a coach’s assistant, and she occasionally volunteers as a “cat whisperer” at the Metro East Humane Society.

She was also elected to the Highland High School Junior Homecoming Court for the 2017/2018 school year.

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