'He’s full of faith:' Student with Down syndrome inspires others while receiving his diploma

Carlos Neira enthusiastically accepts his high school diploma to a wave of cheers. (Photo: Facebook)

Teresa Neira had seven children before she had Carlos Neira, and she considers the new high school graduate a “blessing” in her life — and has since the moment she discovered she was pregnant.

“After having seven children without disabilities, I went to the doctor to get sterilized and he came back into the room with a bottle of vitamins,” Neira told KWES. “I asked him if I had anemia because he had drawn my blood and he told me, ‘No, you’re pregnant.’ I was about three months into the pregnancy and didn’t know it.”

Carlos was born with down syndrome, and while her husband was initially worried how they would handle having a child with a genetic disorder, Neira was sure that her son would be just like any other child. And just like every other child, there would be ups and downs.

“He would say, ‘What are you going to do with a child like this?’ and I told him, ‘Just like we did with the rest, we’ll get this one through it all,'” she said.

Carlos recently walked at his graduation from Lee High School, and the video has been viewed by thousands of people.

Neira was somewhat surprised by the number of cheers her son received, but when you see his pure joy crossing the stage it’s understandable that others want to root him on.

She said, “To our great surprise, they say ‘Carlos Neira’ and the whole world, the men in front of us and everyone recording, they started asking, ‘Oh my God! Who is he?’ Jeez! As if he was the president’s son or something.”

This summer, Carlos will start attending Life College, and he hopes to find a job where he can help people — something will suit him perfectly.

“He’s given us an example of sharing, of love, of happiness,” Carlos’s mother said. “Nothing gets him down. He looks up and points to God. God. He’s full of faith. Lots of faith.”

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