Daily Herald screenshot
Jonny Peay is a 22-year-old Orem man with Down syndrome. In a recent article by the Daily Herald, he talks about preparing to attend Utah State University.

Lisa Peay was told her son, Jonny, wouldn’t be able to speak, read or write. She ignored them.

Jonny Peay, 22, was born with Down syndrome. Years of fighting the system to help their son has paid off for the Peay family as Jonny was recently accepted to Utah State University where he will enroll in the Aggies Elevated program for special needs students, according to a recent article by the Daily Herald.

“It will be the first time Jonny will be on his own, living in a dormitory with a roommate and going to classes every day on campus,” said Lisa Peay, Jonny's mother, in the article. “He will be responsible for himself.”

Defying experts’ expectations, Jonny Peay can speak, read and write in both English and Tongan, as he began attending the Tongan ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Orem at age 9.

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“As he has progressed in his faith, Jonny has taken on responsibilities like any other normal Mormon male,” the Daily Herald’s Genelle Pugmire wrote. “He even served a two-year service mission with the community food bank and worked once a week with the full-time missionaries proselyting and teaching. He is currently an assistant Scoutmaster, and is also an assistant to the Elder’s Quorum Presidency in his ward.”

Jonny Peay holds a 3.94 GPA at Utah Valley University where he is attending part-time classes and participates in the “Act Risk No More” acting troupe. He also enjoys CrossFit. He wants to make new friends at USU and give hope to others with Down syndrome.

“I want to be a good example to my brothers and sisters,” Jonny Peay told the Daily Herald. “I want to tell them to keep going, don’t quit and have faith.”

World Down Syndrome Day is March 21.