By Joy M. Banks
News Contributer, TCPalm.
Submitted by her proud mother, Paulette Choinierre Beurrier
JENSEN BEACH — Recently, Jensen Beach High School celebrated the graduation of more than 370 students.
Amid the pomp and circumstance of the celebration, many significant milestones were celebrated for the class: academic, athletic, and artistic. One notable Martin County milestone was celebrated without significant fanfare as Faith Beurrier, 19, became the first student with Down Syndrome to earn a standard diploma in the county.
Many of her classmates have moved with Beurrier through J.D. Parker Elementary, Stuart Middle School, and JBHS, likely never realizing the glass ceilings Beurrier was shattering as a fully included student with a significant disability.
Beurrier has long had the support of her parents, Paulette and Jim Beurrier of Stuart, who have served as tireless advocates of their daughter’s right to receive a full education in the least restrictive environment. As she transitioned from the Grace Place Preschool into the Martin County School System, her teachers and principals soon learned the value of supporting her access to a regular education, not only for her but also for the other students as well as the teachers.
Her success in the classroom earned their respect and advocacy as she moved through each grade. At each step of her education, Beurrier has shown that the only limits to her possibilities are those who put limits on her abilities.
In addition to her academic achievements, which include graduating with a cumulative 3.4 GPA, Beurrier was involved in several extracurricular activities. She enjoyed participating in Jubilate, traveling to several competitions with the choir and singing a solo in her final high school concert appearance.
As an active member of the drama program, Faith also starred in a number of productions including “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Sound of Music,” and others which qualified her for induction into the International Thespian Society.
In the community, she has danced at the Florida Arts & Dance Company for 10 years, participating in their Competition Dance Team and Company Dance Troupe at various times. For next year, she was accepted into the competitive Project SEARCH job training program, a collaborative effort of Helping People Succeed, Martin Health System, The ARC of Martin County, and the Martin County School District.
Beurrier is looking forward to exploring the career possibilities ahead of her. While she is still unsure about college, her Martin County educational experience has taught her so much about dreaming big. Perhaps the lack of significant recognition for Beurrier at commencement is a testament to the full inclusion she experienced: in the end, to her and her classmates, she is just one more proud JBHS Falcon alumna. Congratulations to Faith and all of the 2017 JBHS graduates. May you all SOAR in your next adventures!