Many parents want their children to complete their education. Nobody will be pleased when their kids graduate from college. There is nothing greater than a tremendous academic accomplishment that not everyone can achieve.

When his daughter Rachel graduated from college, Jim Handlin was ecstatic.

Rachel has Down syndrome, which is a genetic condition. She is one of the few persons with this hereditary abnormality who has earned a college degree. That’s why, when the delighted father went on Twitter in mid-May to announce his daughters’ success, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the family’s social media feeds with well wishes and congratulations.

In the United States, children with Down syndrome are given a free and appropriate education. However, there is no assurance that this will be the case when they reach high school age. Their condition may be accompanied by varying degrees of intellectual disability and many Down syndrome students do not meet college entrance criteria.

Rachel and her family dealt with “nay-sayers” along the way. They did not, though, allow this to deter them. There are colleges and universities that welcome Down syndrome students to participate in courses and other enrichment programs. However, earning a degree is no easy task.

Changes may be made to make educational materials more accessible to people with Down Syndrome. But, regardless of their condition, students are required to complete the same rigorous bachelor’s degree programs.

When Charli Haze became the first person with Down syndrome to complete those requirements at her graduation from the California Institute of the Arts this year, she was one of only a few people with Down syndrome.

Mr. Handlin said that he feels during his interview with PEOPLE that “out of all the people with Down syndrome in the world, those who’ve earned a regular college degree are literally about one in a million.”

Even before she was born, her parents recognized talent in her. Rachel received a Nikon Coolpix point-and-shoot digital camera as a gift for her birthday when she was in 9th grade. And it was at that time that photography really captured her attention.

She began working on her portfolio during high school, and it eventually got her into CalArts, where she became the first person with Down syndrome to attend.

Of course, she did not go to college without any problems or barriers to overcome. Rachel lived with her mother away from campus so that she would not have to deal with the extra strain of learning how to live independently while studying. This is just one of the challenges and hurdles that she faced.

Nobody but Rachel herself deserves credit for her success.

She had no idea what to expect, but the overwhelming response was one of surprise. She received a lot of support via social media. She became an inspiration for parents who have children with Down Syndrome.

Contrary to popular belief, more persons with Down syndrome are capable of this success. It’s just unfortunate that they don’t have access to the resources or opportunity to do so. It’s high time we started seeing disabled people in a whole new light.