Gov. Brown appoints teen with Down syndrome to state agency

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ByVic Lee KGO logo
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Nicole Adler

A Peninsula high school student has been picked by Governor Jerry Brown as member of a state agency. The appointment is unique in several ways. Nicole Adler is young, very focused and happens to be disabled.

She is a senior at Woodside High School. Her disability has never been an obstacle and never really stood in the way of everything she has accomplished.

"I'm just a normal person with Down Syndrome," Nicole told ABC7 News. The word disability is not part of her vocabulary -- but the big "D word" is. "Myself, I drive myself, I'm driven," she said.

"Driven" may be an understatement. The Woodside High School senior was on the honor roll, a student representative on the school district's PTA, a soccer player and the list of achievements go on and on and now, the biggest honor of all is that Brown just appointed this 19-year-old to the State Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Nicole says she never thought she would be picked. "I want to be an advocate for people with disabilities," she said.

Her proud parents are just beaming. "It's really amazing that she would ever be recognized at this age," said her father Glenn Adler. "She's done a lot on her own and it's pretty incredible."

But all the achievements didn't come easy. Her parents worked with Nicole and encouraged her. The school and her friends supported her. But it was Nicole who worked the hardest.

"I don't want to be like other people with Down syndrome that can't talk as well, like I'm talking now. It's really hard for them to do that, but I practiced so hard and I got to this point that I'm different now," she said.

Nicole is no stranger to surprises. Last year, she was picked homecoming queen for the junior class court. "I was really shocked and I was really happy," she recalled. "It was really fun. I danced with a lot of people and it was really a good experience."

And there's one more thing -- Nicole was one of those picked to give this year's commencement address.