Last week, students at St. Viator Parish School in Las Vegas sported colorful, mismatched socks as part of one of their favorite traditions: Rock your Socks Day, in support World Down Syndrome Awareness Day.
“We wore our unique, spirited, mismatched socks today,” explained Principal Katie Kiss. “It’s important to raise public awareness, promote inclusivity, encourage advocacy and support the wellbeing of those living with Down Syndrome.
“Today,” she added, “we celebrate how we are more alike — than different.”
The entire school got into the tradition to support their third grade classmate, Amanda. She is the second student with Down syndrome to attend the school. The first, Luke Sylvestri, graduated last year and now is in high school.
Both students have thrived with the support of St. Viator’s Micah Program. The program — the only one of its kind at a Catholic school in the state of Nevada — takes its lead from the Book of Micah, in the Old Testament: “Act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God and each other.”
The program serves children with Downs syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Administrators at St. Viator feel strongly that it is their mission to welcome students with disabilities into their community and provide them with the same quality, Catholic education afforded to their non-disabled peers.
Three years ago, the program expanded to include a full time aid to accompany one of the students, thanks to a scholarship grant from the Viatorian Community.