Caitlin Boland, Winnipeg woman living with Down syndrome, proud college graduate

Caitlin Boland is a 26 year-old Manitoba woman, and proud college graduate who lives with Down syndrome.

Caitlin Boland was nervous about going to college, but after graduating, is eager for more

Caitlin Boland, on the day she graduated from Red River College. (Judy Boland )

Caitlin Boland is a Manitoba woman living with Down syndrome, who on World Down Syndrome Day is doing extraordinary things. 

World Down Syndrome Day falls on the 21st day of the third month because people living with Down syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21. 

The 26 year-old Winnipeg woman is one of the recent graduates from Red River College's Transforming Futures pilot program. 

Caitlin Boland, was excited, but nervous, to start college when she first spoke to CBC in 2014. (Marcy Markusa/CBC)

"My family is very proud of me," said Boland. "Right now I'm looking for a paid job."

The first program of its kind in Manitoba, Transforming Futures included courses that helped students explore career options and learn essential employability skills.

Boland was one of 20 students enrolled in the program, and began taking classes in the fall of 2014. "I'm glad to go to school again," she told the CBC's Marcy Markusa when they first spoke in 2014.

According to Boland, she was nervous when classes began, but quickly made some new friends. Her favourite class was computers, because she "really wants to be an administrative assistant and office worker, and it's all about computers." Boland said she can use the "internet and Microsoft Office really well," but struggles a bit with Excel. 

The program also prepared students if they choose to pursue one of the college's academic program tracks. Students in Transforming Futures could go on to enrol in the culinary arts or administrative assistant programs. Boland hoped to take the administrative stream, but found the pace was a bit fast for her. 

Boland didn't give up though. She hopes to start taking the required classes at Red River College in a more "individual," one-on-one environment. 

For other Manitobans, who are living with Down syndrome and might be anxious to go to college or enter the workforce, Boland says "Don't be nervous, instructors will help [you], and your family and friends will be very proud." 

With notes from Bridget Forbes