If you’ve attended football games, you may have seen student equipment manager David Saville on the sidelines. Saville, who has Down Syndrome, hit the national spotlight this past year when he was featured in ESPN commentator Holly Rowe’s “Front Rowe” series as well as being a keynote speaker at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention.
At the convention, Saville was introduced by former Clemson All-America football player Dwayne Allen, who now plays for the Indiana Colts. “I went into the relationship,” Allen said, “thinking I would learn something about Down Syndrome. I came out learning about a kid who loved video games, loved to eat hamburgers, knew every college team mascot. The only out-of-the ordinary thing I learned about him is his extraordinary ability to love. David loves everyone; it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’re about.”
Saville is enrolled in ClemsonLIFE (Learning is for Everyone), a four-year post-secondary program focused on vocational and independent- living success for young adults with disabilities. For the first two years, students live in apartments on campus with an on-site independent living assistant while taking classes on independent living, employment, personal finances, health and nutrition. During the last two years of the program, students live in off-campus apartments and are employed in the local community.
In Saville’s keynote, he quoted one of Coach Dabo Swinney’s life lessons: “The only real disability in life is a bad attitude.” Rion Holcombe, another ClemsonLIFE student, hit national news last year when a video of him receiving his acceptance letter went viral. “CBS Evening News” covered Holcombe’s journey from acceptance to move-in.
Watch David Saville’s speech at the NDSC on 9/12/14:
Watch Holly Rowe’s feature on the ClemsonLIFE program:
Additional videos and articles about Saville can be accessed below: