Dancing through life


Mary Ralston

“I’m very creative,” Clare said. “I’m very clever with things, [and] very unique. There’s no other kid like me.”

Liam Jackson, copy editor

She goes outside, puts on her rose gold headphones and starts to dance like nobody’s watching. Clare Sullivan, sophomore, loves to express herself through dance.

“I’m very creative,” Clare said. “I’m very clever with things, [and] very unique. There’s no other kid like me.”

Clare has been dancing for as long as she can remember and dances whenever she has the opportunity, whether that be in school or at home. Clare’s sister, Mary Grace Sullivan, said dancing has always been a big part of Clare’s life.

“I remember when we were little we would do performances for our family during Christmas and big holidays,” Mary Grace said. “She’s always loved to dance.”

Clare also dances to forget about the stresses of her everyday life. When school gets difficult or overwhelming, she dances.

“[Dancing helps me] with [the] stress of school and friends,” Clare, said. “I can just put it to the side and dance.”

Clare has Down Syndrome, a condition that is caused by the presence of a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.Clare said she sometimes struggles because she has Down Syndrome, but has friends who also have Down Syndrome that she can relate to.

“When I first met [my friends who have Down Syndrome] I [understood] them,” Clare said. “We all have [Down Syndrome], and I can help them with their problems.”

According to Clare, she is a problem solver and loves helping people. Clare said she lays her problems out, cuts them up, and solves them one piece at a time so she doesn’t get overwhelmed.

“I want to [make] people feel good,” Clare said. “I want people to think ‘I’m not alone. She’s always going to be there.’ When there’s a hard time I’m always there to help them.”

Clare said she often finds help and support in her family. She and her sister both say their family is very supportive of her.

“My parents have always let her do whatever she wanted to do in terms of dancing or different extracurricular activities,” Mary Grace said. “My aunts and grandmas are [also] always supporting her and going to her different recitals, congratulating her on the different awards she’s gotten in the past as well, just being there throughout her life.”

Clare is a member of Circle of Friends, a club for students with and without disabilities at KHS.

Zach Baynham, sophomore,  is a member of Circle of Friends and a friend of Clare, who he met through the club.

“[When I first met Clare] I thought she was hilarious,” Baynham said. “She’s always dancing and [is] always so nice, she’ll always say hi to you in the hallways and it’s really sweet.”

Mary Grace said Clare works hard day in and day out, and that she makes her a more confident person.

“I think she has a very wise mindset on the world,” Mary Grace said. “The fact that she continues to [overcome] different obstacles in her life, I think it shows her true character. People should know that she is really special.”