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Martha Haythorn

When Martha Haythorn was voted onto the Homecoming Court at Decatur High School she felt embraced by her peers. “It means a great deal to me. When I saw my name it made me realize that my school community accepts me more than I knew. They don’t see me as the girl with Down Syndrome but as a unique person, a leader and an advocate. People with disabilities want to feel like they belong.”

Martha Haythorn in most ways is a typical teenager. She loves to swim, sing, act, and hang out with friends. She also is a deacon at her church and volunteers at the Ellis School of Atlanta, a school for children with complex communication needs and multiple disabilities. What is remarkable about Martha is her steadfast commitment to educate and advocate on behalf of people with disabilities.

“I have trisomy 21 but this is not all I am. I don’t like to be labeled with my disability. We are more than our disabilities. It is important for students to listen and to know that we want to be included, we are fun to be with, and we have a lot to offer. I want to advocate so we all have voices and because it helps others with disabilities to follow their dreams. I feel like it is important so people with intellectual disabilities can live and work in Decatur.”

Martha was honored by the students at Decatur High School when she was voted onto the Homecoming Court. “It means a great deal to me. When I saw my name it made me realize that my school community accepts me more than I knew. They don’t see me as the girl with Down Syndrome but as a unique person, a leader and an advocate. People with disabilities want to feel like they belong. I feel like I do now.”

When asked about her plans for the future, Martha responded with conviction. “I want to go to a postsecondary program and study special education and theatre. Someday I want to work in a hospital and would like to encourage other people with disabilities. I want to get married someday and have a life with my husband. I also want to travel and make speeches about disabilities.”

 

 

 

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