Kari Balaz was born on January 28, 1999. She was born premature and only weighed four pounds. She was diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after she was born. Despite the fact that she was born with a disability, she would defy odds.
She will be graduating from Hoover High School on Thursday, May 31, 2008. She has a 3.5 GPA. She has overcome many obstacles and has always stayed focused on her goals. Most students who have Down Syndrome have to take an alternative educational route to earn their diploma. However, Kari took the same classes as everyone else.
Kari will also be attending college in the fall. Many people have low expectations of Kari when they see her. She is short for her age and has the typical features that are associated with Down Syndrome. She is also an advocate for people with Down Syndrome. She stated that parents of children with Down Syndrome should put them in the same classes as everyone else.
Sue Tolle is the Down Syndrome of Alabama Executive Director. She stated that only three students with Down Syndrome have completed the general education track. She also stated that general studies can be difficult for someone with Down Syndrome because this condition affects their intelligence.
Kari’s teachers have made adjustments in her curriculum to accommodate her special need. However, she is still like every other student. She looks forward to attending college in the fall and becoming more independent. She is fascinated with horses and plans to study equine science.