Dancer Earns Silver at Special Olympics World Games, Returns to Hero’s Welcome at School

Taylor

Taylor Carpenter is an eight-year-old who recently competed in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, earning a silver medal in dance. When she and her sister returned to school they were welcomed home with school-wide celebration and victory lap.

Taylor’s father, Michael, posted the video to Facebook, saying, “This is inclusion. This is community. This is love.”

“Words cannot express the feeling the love, the joy, the pride, the friendship displayed and represented in the video that represents part of Taylor’s school welcoming her home…celebrating her accomplishment, her journey, and most importantly her. To all involved in her life thank you everything you pour into her she pours into her life and into her dance.”

I spoke with Michael and he shared that Taylor, who has Down Syndrome, has been dancing since she was two years old with local group Miracles in Motion. (Kaitlyn, a young friend of mine who has also been featured on this website, previously danced with them as well). Taylor loved everything about the games, traveling to another country to explore, and meeting others. He said, “She had an amazing experience making new friends, dancing multiple days and being in the closing ceremonies. (Taylor) is an outgoing spunky child with lots of presence wherever she goes. She loves to have fun and above all DANCE.”

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Taylor competing at the World Games

Michael also said that her favorite part of the whole experience was was “dancing for Austria.”

When Taylor finally returned to school after her long trip the school day had already begun. She was greeted by the sight of ALL the students and staff lining the hallways and celebrating her accomplishment.  A teacher from the school shared that they took time of out the school day to welcome Taylor home and “made this a priority”.

What a victory lap it was! An entire school gathered to congratulate Taylor for her accomplishments. She was celebrated and respected as an equal~ as she should be.

I must admit I cried so hard watching the video that I actually squeaked. I also love near the beginning when Taylor looked at all the people and a banner stretched over the doorway and excitedly exclaimed, “For ME!”

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It’s all for you, Taylor. You earned it.

What a beautiful dancer, wonderful accomplishment, and incredible community!

Congratulations, Taylor! And welcome home.

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