- Judson Independent School District
Have you met Rhema?! You know Rhema!
Have you met Rhema Cutkelvin?!
Pretty sure you’ve met Rhema!
Everyone knows Rhema - You know Rhema!
If you don’t know Rhema, she will make sure you know she’s in the room.
“She’s quite the character,” Amy Paul, Adaptive Physical Education Teacher, said. “She’s always happy, no matter the day, time, or what is going on, and that’s just one of the things that makes her great. Rhema vowed her freshman year to attend Judson and change her campus and she has definitely changed the stigma of students with disabilities and impacted the Inclusive environment of the campus. From the daily hugs, high-fives, and dances that happen in the hallways, you definitely feel her superstardom as she walks through the halls - everyone knows when Rhema’s around.”
Born in Hawaii, Rhema is one of many students in Judson ISD with Down Syndrome, a genetic condition where a person is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. This means that they have a total of 47 chromosomes instead of 46 which affects how their brain and body develop. When it comes to Rhema, this impacted her heart - she was born with a hole in her heart.
However, like many students with Down Syndrome, her condition hasn’t stopped her from being great. You would never be able to tell her heart has that deformity due to it overflowing with jubilee.
“I can do the same things everyone else can do,” Rhema said.
From traveling to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida as a Team Texas Representative and part of the Youth Leadership Experience to participating on the Unified Track Team, Special Olympics Bowling Team, and now a member of Judson’s Unified Cheer Team, Rhema has made it a point to have a fantastic senior year.
Part of that was running for the Homecoming Queen.
“It’s my destiny to have the crown on my head,” Rhema said.
And that destiny was met! After hanging posters in the hallways and campaigning amongst her peers, last Thursday, October 12, Rhema was crowned the Judson High School 2023 Homecoming Queen.
“I knew it was going to happen,” Rhema said, as she exited the field with her crown, sash, and robe.
It was a magical night for Rhema and the whole Judson Community! Like she said, there is no obstacle that she cannot overcome. And with all possible opportunities in front of her, she is determined to turn them into reality.
Rhema has the tenacity of just making things happen, no matter the obstacle in front of her. After she graduates from Judson High School this May, she hopes to study music at Texas State University, where her sister - another Judson Alumni - graduated.
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. As the Special Olympics says on its website, “it is a time to celebrate people with Down Syndrome and make others aware of their abilities and accomplishments. They have similar dreams and goals, and they want to have successful careers and families. They can drive, go to work, go to college, go on dates, get married, and contribute to society.”
Part of Judson ISD’s One Home, One Family initiative is to tell the story of all our students. We take care of each other. We spotlight each other. And Rhema is the epitome of a student who, through dedication and perseverance, has not let anything get in her way to becoming GREAT!