Senior with Down syndrome prepares to give opening Commencement Address at Lake Central High School 2019 Graduation

By: Contributor Last Updated: June 2, 2019

lakecentralgraduationspeaker1Olivia Longo, a senior at Lake Central High School, is a student with Down syndrome. As a strong personal advocate, Olivia has been a large part of the campus community for 4 years.

On Sunday, at 2:00, she will take the stage in front of thousands and deliver a speech she and her mother wrote charging graduates to go forth and change the world. Longo thanks grads for giving her the high school experience she always dreamed of and reminds them that the world is a better place when we allow everyone a seat at the table, a voice in the conversation.

Longo's speech may only take 4-5 minutes to deliver, but is expected to resonate in the minds of graduates throughout their lives.

Olivia plans to help make the region and our world a more inclusive, diverse and accepting place to live and work.

She plans to take classes in public speaking and broadcasting at Purdue Northwest starting in the Fall. She works at 2 Old Goats Market in Cedar Lake, and is an advocacy intern at the Down Syndrome Association of Northwest Indiana & Chicagoland. As part of her broadcasting class, she can soon be found on WJOB as a weekly entertainment correspondent. She has been a guest on WJOB several times talking about her love of Taylor Swift and her plans to one day meet her as Olivia is sure they will be the best of friends.

Longo's family credits Swift, in part, for Olivia's speaking ability. Since she was little, all she wanted to do is sing along to Taylor Swift music and play the guitar. Longo worked diligently to be able to keep up with recordings often listening to music over and over for days at a time. She challenges and beats Swift lovers, fellow Swifties to "name that song" in less notes than it takes her.

Olivia Longo lives in St. John, IN with her parents, Louis & Christine Longo, brother, Louie and dogs Maggie & Arlo. Her sister, Emily and her friend, Rob, live in Highland with her nephew-dog, Archie. Photo courtesy of the Longo Family: Some Sass from a Senior: Photo Credit: Alyssa Klapkowski Photography

To watch her live at 2pm tomorrow: