Lifting Herself Up
Inside an empty weight room at Casper’s Kelly Walsh High School, Alyssa Lattimer is getting ready to practice her squats. Herfather Todd spots her as she settles the bar on her shoulders. With even breaths, she counts her reps, practicing the form that took her to Wyoming state championships for powerlifting.
Four months earlier and one floor above, Alyssa performed Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” at Rodstock, a musical talent show put on annually by the school, as a raucous crowd cheered and sang along.As the song boomed through the gymnasium, she danced to the beat and performed a series of rock star moves. Music suffuses the 20-year-old’s life. She’s quick to sing along to a song on the radio or stop everything to dance when she feels the beat.
Alyssa was born with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that results in an extra chromosome. She lives a full and vibrant life, walking side-by-side with her community of family and friends as she pursues her passions. “Alyssa was very accepted with her peers and her school,” says Alejandra, Alyssa’s mother.
As football players slowly enter the weight room for practice, Alyssa ends her workout, greeting each athlete on her way out of the building. Next year, Alyssa will step onto her largest stage yet as she travels to Orlando, Florida, where she will represent Special Olympics of Wyoming in a national powerlifting competition.