Chapel Hill student with Down syndrome competes in Miss Clemson University pageant

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Sydney Davis

This Saturday, Sydney Davis, who grew up in Chapel Hill, will be only the second student with Down syndrome to compete in the Miss Clemson University pageant.

When we sat down with Sydney and her mom, it wasn't Sydney who was nervous but her mom Patti who struggled to describe what it's like to send a child with special needs off to college.

"It's even harder," she said.

But Sydney helps her through it.

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"When you know it's going to be the best thing for her, that does it," said Patti.

You can tell by Sydney's orange and purple wardrobe that she loves Clemson.

"We go to football games, tailgating, and hanging out with friends," she said.

She's part of the ClemsonLIFE program that is designed specifically for students with disabilities. She lives in a dorm with two roommates.

"I work on campus. I work at the Underground Recreation Center known as "The Bowling Alley" on campus," said Sydney.

She's learned how to cook, she's more confident speaking to people, and she really is just a typical college student.

"She never calls me," said Patti. "When I finally get in touch with her she says 'Mom, I'm busy.'"

And now Sydney is getting ready to be in this weekend's Miss Clemson University Pageant. She's at dance lessons and got a new dress.

Her mom is still trying to find the words to express how proud she is of her.

"She's just an unbelievable girl, but then I think a lot of kids with disabilities can do this stuff. We just don't give them credit to try," said Patti.

This week, Rachel Wyatt who is Miss Clemson, Miss South Carolina, and was this year's Miss America first runner up will be coaching Sydney before Saturday night's pageant in Clemson.

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