BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) – It’s an opportunity parents of kids with special needs feel their child may not experience and now a Belvidere North senior with Down syndrome is proving anything is possible as he gets ready to pack his bags for college.
The halls at Belvidere North High School will soon look different for 19-year-old Carter Fridly, although the dream has never changed.
The Belvidere North senior with special needs will cross the stage the day he turns 20, knowing his annual birthday wish is finally coming true.
“Ever since he was a junior, he kept saying he wanted to go to college, wanted to go to college, and I’m like, I really didn’t know what that meant,” says Carter’s mom, Becky.
“I was really happy. I got a letter at home.”
“And you opened that letter, and tell me what happens next?” asked our own Whitney Martin.
“It said congratulations, I got accepted,” Carter recalled.
“And what were you thinking?”
“I was excited,” said Carter.
Excitement is an understatement as friends and family had no idea what was inside the envelope from the University of Iowa, a letter that brought him to tears.
“What does it mean to you that you get to go?” asks Whitney.
“Meet new friends and get to know them,” says Carter.
Carter leaves for school, for the UI Reach Program in August and will stay in a dorm while he takes classes to become a chef. It’s the first time he’ll be away from home, away from mom and dad.
“We would have never had imagined his whole life that he would be going to college,” says Becky.
Carter still has a few months left inside the Belvidere North classrooms and says while he’s looking forward to his new venture, he knows it will be hard to say goodbye to the classmates who constantly remind him anything is possible.
College is expensive – something Carter’s mom Becky wants more parents to know about this opportunity now so other can prepare for the cost, since there’s no special funding. Becky is now making it her goal to spread the word, telling other mothers this can be their son or daughter’s future too.