This week’s Student Feature Friday is Freshman Lindsey Franco, whose smile and positive attitude light up any room she enters. Lindsey is a dedicated athlete and musician and feels that these activities help her thrive. She has participated in Special Olympics gymnastics for the last 7 years. Each year she has competed at the state games at Harvard University and has won over 29 medals during her career. Although her gymnastics accomplishments are impressive, Lindsey’s favorite sport is basketball. Lindsey has needed to overcome many obstacles in her life and she describes basketball as the sport that makes her a stronger person and takes her mind off of her disability. She was thrilled this year to join the first Unified Basketball team at Holliston High School and can’t wait to play again next year.
Lindsey is a great advocate for her disability, Williams Syndrome, which is a genetic condition that can be characterized by medical problems, developmental delays and learning challenges. In 2018 Lindsey began partnering with Team Impact, an organization that pairs kids with disabilities with a college sports team. She was drafted by the Framingham State University Softball Team and she feels such a sense of pride as a member of the team. What is most striking about Lindsey is how strong she is and how much she cares about others. She is truly an inspiration and it is exciting to think about the impact she will have on HHS during her high school years.
Q: During our conversation you discussed how much you love playing basketball. What was it like for you to participate in Unified Basketball here at HHS? How long have you been involved in the sport and what have you learned from your experiences?
A: Playing unified basketball was really fun and a great experience. I made so many new friends. Our team was competitive. We had a great crowd at some of our home games, cheering us on! I can’t wait to see what happens next year in Unified Basketball! I have played Special Olympics for 6 years. I have learned that it is not all about winning, but it’s also about cheering on your teammates. I also learned that it’s not an easy sport to play, but the more I played the better I got!
Q: What role does music/chorus play in your life and why do you feel it is so meaningful to you?
A: Music means everything to me. I started to notice I loved music when I was little. I went to piano classes and music classes as well. As I got older, I started to get more into music. And when middle school came along I had to decide if I wanted to be in chorus or not. I decided I wanted to. I love all different types of music. I like pop music because it helps me to feel better. It helps me to remember that I’m not alone even if I feel like it sometimes.
Q: You are very open when talking about Williams Syndrome. What do you want others to know about this Syndrome?
A: Many people with Williams Syndrome are very friendly and love music. Sometimes people with Williams Syndrome also have problems with loud noises, for example if there was a fire alarm, my heart would start to race and it would feel like my ears are ringing, full of sound. Lots of people with Williams Syndrome also have heart and kidney problems and developmental and speech delays as well. I would want people to know that people with Williams Syndrome can do anything that anyone else can do, but it’s harder for us. It’s harder for us because we have to deal with all different kinds of medical issues at the same time. Also sometimes people with Williams Syndrome can have trouble making friends. For example, if I make a new friend, I worry that they won’t understand me because of my disability.
Q: What advice do you have for other students who have not yet found their interests or passions?
A: The way you find your passion is to go to lots of different events and try different things. Sign up for things that you like to do. And just because you haven’t found your passion yet, doesn’t mean it will take forever to find. If you are having trouble finding it, just remember that you will find it somehow. There are passions that I haven’t found yet either!
Q: Tell me a little more about Team Impact and your role with the Framingham State softball team.
A: I am so happy to be part of the Framingham State University softball team and I love my teammates. My role is to help encourage the team before games, and to be in the dugout with them during the games. My teammates call me a ‘good luck charm’, because after I joined the team, they went on a winning streak!! Team Impact has changed my life in so many ways. My teammates are amazing and I can’t wait to join them again for practices and games this season!