SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2018 | DENVER, CO

2018 BBBY Models


Olivia
Olivia Byers-Straus

Olivia is 26 years old and lives in San Francisco. She has loved to dance and perform since she was a little girl. Now she teaches a creative movement class at Steppin’ Out Dance Studio for children who have disabilities. Her hobbies include taking tap and jazz dance classes and shopping. Olivia lives independently in a studio apartment in the Haight-Ashbury and enjoys traveling on her own to vacation in Los Angeles, where she lived for two years while completing the Pathway program at UCLA.

Capuano Clarissa
Clarissa Capuano

Clarissa is a spunky 10-year-old who lives in Englewood, Colorado. She is the 2015 Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador. Clarissa has two older brothers, Alec and Jesse who adore her! She loves to do gymnastics, swim, dance and play dress-up. This year she started fifth grade at Cherry Hills Village Elementary, and her favorite class is PE, where she can go outside and play, run and play football.

Quinn Cronin
Quinn Cronin

Quinn is a sweet and fun loving 6-year-old who lives in Winston Salem North Carolina! She loves soccer, horseback riding and most of all, watching movies! She is a great actress and often recites her favorite shows and movies word for word. After a successful prekindergarten year where she was voted the “friendliest student” by her classmates, Quinn is ready to take on kindergarten. Her always kind and sometimes mischievous spirit keep endears her to all those she touches including her sister Janie and baby brother Case.

Ty Dillon
Ty Dillon

Ty is 11 years old and lives in Valley Cottage, New York. He is a witty, fun-loving boy. He constantly makes us and everyone around him laugh. Ty loves to act, dance and listen to rock n roll and dance music. Some of his favorite bands and singers are ACDC, The Who, Journey, and many more. His current favorite songs are “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay and “Jump” by Van Halen. For the past 6 years, Ty has been training karate and jiu-jitsu regularly. Going to movies and watching some TV shows are also his favorite things to do.

DeOndra
DeOndra Dixon

DeOndra has been a Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador since 2011 and is the inaugural Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient. She lives in California and travels around the U.S. and the world representing Global at conferences and events. She loves being a model and a role model. DeOndra loves her family, travel, bowling and movies. She is an excellent dancer and performed at the Grammys. DeOndra’s family has helped her reach her potential, and now she is helping others with Down syndrome do the same.

Zack Gottsagen
Zack Gottsagen

Zachary Robin Gottsagen, “Zack,” is an accomplished stage performer and film actor with Down syndrome. He has worked with Zeno Mountain Farms nonprofit film productions for over a decade, acting in many films including “Burning Like A Fire,” “Life of a Dollar Bill,” and “Bulletproof.” While filming with Zeno, Zack met Tyler Nielson and Michael Schwartz, who were so taken with Zack that they wrote a film for him to star in, “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” Set to release later this year, Zack co-stars in the adventure film alongside Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson.
We are honored to present Zack with our 2018 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award.

Leeon Grullon
Leeon Grullon

Leeon is a dancer at heart with great moves. Leeon loves his gym time, for the fun of building his muscles, but also takes it up a notch when it’s time for power lifting competition. He has participated in the Special Olympics since elementary in various sports and has practiced kickboxing and tae kwon do. He loves music, WWE, and his mom’s delicious meals which help him keep healthy. Leeon can be shy but when walking down this catwalk, he is cool.

Kendra Hager
Kendra Hager

Kendra is 21 years old and lives in Marion, Illinois with her parents. She graduated high school in 2016 where she was a cheerleader and the Homecoming Queen. Kendra loves making new friends, telling others about her 100lb weight loss, working out, dancing, going to concerts & listening to country music. She loves her pets. Kendra is known to be the “selfie queen” and “social media queen”. She’s always living life to the fullest, being sassy, and bringing joy to everyone she meets.

Claire Hepburn Ingham
Claire Hepburn Ingham

Claire is a 10-year-old charmer who learned early how to make others smile. Every day she walks into the room with her own eyes covered and yells “surprise” to everyone. She had heart surgery at three months old and hasn’t looked back. She enjoys teaching class to her dolls and singing along to her favorite songs. She’s an avid skier and competes in Special Olympics swimming. Like a fish, she swims to the deep-end bottom to retrieve her to toys. Claire loves to embrace others with her whole-body hugs.

Charlotte LaRose
Charlotte Fonfara LaRose

Charlotte is 15 years old and lives in Annapolis, Maryland. Charlotte, or Charley as those close to her call her, is a bright, sweet, thoughtful, imaginative young lady. She enjoys traveling, swimming, hanging out with her friends. Charlotte plans on attending college one day, being a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars,” opening her own business and continuing to be an advocate for the Down syndrome community.

Sam Levin
Sam Levin

Sam is 15 years old and he is the Be Beautiful Be Yourself 10th Anniversary Ambassador. Even though he’s a triplet, his brother Jake and sister Lexi will tell you that Sam is one of a kind! An avid sportsman, Sam is on the track and basketball teams as a sophomore at Cherry Creek High School. Whether it’s a joke or a snappy one liner, Sam is quick to make you laugh which lends to his plan to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.

Luke Lind
Luke Lind

Luke is 14 years old and lives in Arvada, with his parents and older brother. He’s in the 9th grade, is home-schooled, and his favorite subject is history. Luke loves music and to write lists of his favorite things, so he’s rarely seen without his notebooks and MP3 player. He loves going on bike rides with Dad, camping and hiking, and participating in drama acting camp. Luke loves the Global Health and Wellness Programs, like football and tennis, but especially ballet.

Cecilia McGarrity
Cecilia McGarrity

Cecilia is a 7-year-old who loves to wear “beautiful dresses” as she dances and sings around her home, especially in front of a mirror! She wants to be a princess when she grows up and her best princess friends are Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Anna from Frozen and Sophia the First. Her strawberry blonde hair explains her rambunctious spirit and her “I can do anything” outlook on the world. When she is not singing, riding horses during therapy or hanging out with her family, she likes to paint and draw butterflies.

Jeff McGarrity
Jeff McGarrity

Jeffrey is an outgoing 12-year-old who began 7th grade this fall. He is a sports-loving boy who plays soccer, football and basketball with his four brothers and he shows his moves at the Dare to Play Soccer and Dare to Play Football camps. In addition to sports, Jeffrey enjoys musical theater, especially singing songs from Les Mis and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Jeffrey has a weekly voice class and sings in a choir at church. He adores his two younger sisters and is adored by them! When he grows up, Jeffrey wants to be a superhero.

David Pearce
David Pearce

David is 32 years old and lives in his own home in Wilder, Vermont, with several housemates and a black Lab named Harry. In 2017, he celebrated ten years of employment at Simon Pearce. David recently became a godfather to his adorable nephew, Bear. David enjoys trips to theaters throughout New England and is a volunteer usher at his local theater. David has been called the “secret star” of the award-winning HBO documentary, “The Crash Reel”!

Chase Perry
Chase Perry

Chase Turner Perry is a Global Ambassador. He is a 12-year-old seventh grader at West Middle School. He lives with his two younger brothers who love him, play with him and annoy him all at the same time. Chase adores his Mom and Dad and a large extended family who think he’s the leader of the band and admires his ability to light up any room. Chase enjoys music, the outdoors, skiing, the Denver Broncos and most of all modeling.

Louie Rotella IV - “Big Lou”
Louie Rotella IV – “Big Lou”

Louie is 18 years old and lives in Omaha Nebraska. He is a senior at Elkhorn High School and enjoys learning all things science related. He can bust a move to any upbeat song. Besides lots of swimming and traveling, his summers aren’t complete without attending camp. Louie is proud to have been the 2016 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show Ambassador. He also enjoys working with his father and grandfather at the family business, Rotella’s Italian Bakery, Inc.

Jaidison Saignaphone
Jaidison Saignaphone

Jaidison’s name means “good heart,” and that’s exactly what he is, a good-hearted little boy that brings a smile to everyone’s face. He is a 7-year-old, second grader at Indian Ridge Elementary School. He is changing the face of cuteness through his Instagram and YouTube channel. Jai is a ray of sunshine with a contagious laugh. He is sure to put anyone in a good mood with his positive energy and vibrant smile.

Alexandra
Alexandra Shankle

Alexandra is 20 years old and lives in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. She wakes up every morning happy and delighted, asking “where are we going?” Alex loves planning her outfits, with a theme of the day, whether it’s camping at Roundup River Ranch, Easter Seals Rocky Mountain Village, or sailing with the NSCD at Grand Lake, Alex is always ready for action. Alex particularly loves her sports activities: Global Down Syndrome’s Dare to Cheer Junior Bronco Cheerleaders, Peak Stars Dance, Unified basketball, cheer, and now lacrosse.

Marcus Sikora
Marcus Sikora

Marcus is a 28-year-old creative soul who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. He has acted on stage with local and national companies as well as written a short one-act play, which was produced locally. His first storybook for children and accompanying animated short is: Black Day: The Monster Rock Band. When he’s not watching theater, singing, or working out, he’s writing new stage productions and contemplating Black Day Two. You can connect with Marcus and his adventures via Twitter (@marcusmusical), Facebook (GrownUpsAndDowns), and BlackDayBook.com

Walt
Walt Snodgrass

Thomas “Walt” is 15 years old and lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Walt’s passions lie in the field of music. He plays drums in his school band and incorporates lively dance moves to enhance his musical experience. Walt also enjoys basketball, swimming, volleyball and running track. His hobbies include boating, vacationing with family members and all interactions with his sister Lily. Walt’s infectious laugh, happy demeanor and concern for others endears him to all that he encounters!

Frank
Frank Stephens

Frank Stephens is a Quincy Jones Award Recipient and Ambassador for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and a member of the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Virginia. Frank has spoken all over the world promoting the inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Today, he is most widely known for his testimony before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee seeking increased funding for Down syndrome research. That testimony, espousing the right of individuals with Down syndrome to exist, has been translated into dozens of languages and been viewed by over 200 million people worldwide.

Walt
Cora Jane Thompson

Cora Jane is a ten-year-old from Golden, Colorado. She is a fifth grader at Kyffin Elementary and always gives her best effort in school. Cora Jane is a great reader, dancer, hiker, swimmer, biker, traveler and friend. She especially loves spending time with Carter and Cambell, her teenage brothers, her cousins and her dog Rocky. Cora Jane has enjoyed participating in many of the activities sponsored by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation like Dare to Cheer Camp, Be Beautiful Be Yourself Ballet program and modeling at the Fashion Show Kick-Off parties.

Elizabeth Walter
Elizabeth Walter

Elizabeth is a rising fifth grader at Kohl Elementary School in Broomfield, CO. She loves socializing with her friends and is a very popular girl. Teachers regularly comment on her compassion for others and her desire to assist others and make positive contributions. Elizabeth participated in the school talent show singing “Remember Me” from Coco. She was also a member of the “Card Guard” in Alice in Wonderland. When not on stage, she is active in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and enjoys traveling, swimming, playing baseball, watching movies, and reading.

Destiny Weldon
Destiny Weldon

Destiny is 17 years old and lives in Aurora, Colorado with her mom, dad and brother. She is a senior at Grandview High School where she is active in unified cheerleading, basketball and track. She is also an officer of the Unified Leadership Council at her school. Destiny has participated in Global’s Dare to Cheer camp with the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders the last 3 years and loves it. She enjoys listening to Gospel music, singing, dancing, writing music and hanging out with her friends. Destiny loves being around people and hopes one day to become a successful singer and dancer.

Sophia Whitten
Sophia Whitten

Sophia is a very proud Global Ambassador. When she grows up she wants to be a doctor, an event planner and a famous singer – all at once. She is half English, a quarter Italian, a quarter Chinese and ALL American. Sophia adores her brother Patrick, her parents, Nonna, Yeye, Granny and every single member of her extended family. She is a fully included freshman at DSST Byers. Her favorite subject is science and she’s an excellent pianist and swimmer. Sophia is CRAZY about Mamma Mia! and listens to the soundtrack on max volume, every day, several times a day.

Kate
Kate Winfield

Kate attends 3rd grade at St. Catherine School in Seattle and plays soccer, basketball, and is a Special Olympics Young Athlete. She enjoys skiing, swimming, dancing and acting. One of Kate’s favorite things to do is play with her older brother, Kirby III. She has modeled for Nordstrom, Iviva, and the Bellevue Collection. Kate is 9 years old now, but when she was only 15 months old she became a Global Ambassador in 2010. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation helps to ensure that Kate gets to live her life fully, which is exactly what she wants!