Cairo students paint the town blue for World Down Syndrome day

Students at Southside Elementary School sported blue and gold for World Down Syndrome Day to bring awareness to the community.
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 10:01 AM EDT
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CAIRO, Ga. (WCTV) - Students at Southside Elementary School sported blue and gold for World Down Syndrome Day to bring awareness to the community.

Skills trainer Brenda Stephens, and special education teacher Kristina Barber sold shirts and collected donations to celebrate the day. Stephens shared that the support from the community has been overwhelming, both this year and last when Grady County rallied around her and her family.

Stephens’ nephew Javondis Rollins had Down syndrome and underwent heart surgery in March 2021. Due to complications, Rollins died a few months later.

“Anybody that he ran into, he had a lasting impression on them. He really did,” said Stephens.

The community participated in an event called “Paint the Town Blue” to honor Javondis, but his death also sparked the beginning of a mission to bring more awareness to others with Down syndrome.

“We had all of our kids at southside buy shirts, wear the crazy socks. But all Grady County wide we had a lot of support from everybody,” said Barber.

Barber shared that Down syndrome hits close to home for her as well.

“Javondis, he did Special Olympics with my son,” she said. This is why it’s important for her to educate others on what Down syndrome is.

“They’re normal just like us, they just have an extra chromosome,” Barber said.

All of those proceeds from the shirt sales and donations will go to the special education department at Southside Elementary and Project SEARCH in Grady County.

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