Hibbing Students Create Billboard to Bring Attention to Down Syndrome

By KBJR News 1

June 12, 2012 Updated Jun 12, 2012 at 8:26 AM CDT

Hibbing, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Homework is common for high school students, but seeing it displayed on a billboard, isn't. That was the case however, for two Hibbing High School students.

Rachael Wilcox and Tayler Thornton, both of whom just completed their sophomore years at HHS, created a billboard design as part of an assignment for their parenting class.

"We didn't think it was actually going to be a billboard," said Wilcox.

With help from a grant from the teaching organization, Alpha Delta Kappa, the design turned into an actuality. The students' billboard was put up along Highway 169 in Hibbing earlier this month.

The assignment was to create a billboard design aimed at bringing awareness to certain birth defects. Wilcox and Thornton's billboard slogan, 'You'd be happy too if you had an extra chromosome' became a class favorite.

"They have one extra chromosome, so what can we do with that?," said Wilcox, "Then we saw this kid in the hallway and he looked so happy and he had Down Syndrome so we figured [the slogan] would be cute."

"We never thought that we were going to get this much recognition from the community and get a billboard up," said Thornton.

Wilcox and Thornton say the billboard sends a message that has already been received at Hibbing High School.
This year both their prom king and queen had Down Syndrome.

"That's why we kind of picked this birth defect. We had a lot of choices in parenting class. We could have done many more but we chose down syndrome because we actually know people and it relates [to us] better," said Thornton.

Wilcox and Thornton said they hope the billboard delivers a lasting message to drivers.

"I hope that they respect Down Syndrome people and learn that they're just people," said Thornton.

HHS Parenting Class teacher, Jeanne Bymark, hopes to pair with the March of Dimes to make this an annual project.