“Proudest Father On The Planet” Celebrates Daughter With Down Syndrome Who Just Graduated From College

rachel handlin

Proud dad Jay Handlin had no idea his tweet congratulating his daughter, Rachel, who has Down syndrome, for graduating from CalArts would go viral.

Since Saturday, the post has garnered over 222,000 likes, and it’s been retweeted over 19,000 times. The 10,000 comments include those reaching out to congratulate Rachel for completing her BFA at the California Institute of the Arts, but people also share their own heartwarming stories.

One of Rachel’s teachers tweeted in response to Rachel’s dad with a picture of him with Rachel in class. He said he was so happy to have been at CalArts while she was there.

One mom said, “I could not love this more,” in response to Handlin’s tweet. Inspired by Rachel’s accomplishment, she shared that her own daughter, who is a high school junior with Down’s syndrome, “found CalArts online and came to me, saying she’d found the perfect school.”

Rachel’s story inspired so many parents of young children with Down’s syndrome who posted pictures and thanked Rachel for showing their kids that they too could fulfill their dreams.

Handlin describes himself in his Twitter bio as a “fierce father” and a “disability/ inclusion zealot.” His endless support is undoubtedly a huge part of Rachel’s success.

One Twitter user wrote Handlin, offering the assurance that the title of “Proudest Father on the Planet” is rightly his to claim: “You deserve the title as she would not be what she is without your love, support, and encouragement. Congratulations Rachel and wear the proudest Dad title well, sir.”

Let’s all take inspiration from Rachel and her dad, and keep at it. Don’t give up!

via Twitter/ @jayhandlin

Congratulations Rachel!

Susan LaMarca

Written by Susan LaMarca