“Miss Largo Outstanding Teen” Isn’t Letting Her Autism Define Her

Rachel Barcellona has always wanted to make it clear that she’s a person, just like everybody else. She’s involved in drama and singing, and she enjoys volunteering as a Big Sister. She views her life as an opportunity — not a challenge — and her hard work is paying off.

In early February she was crowned Miss Largo Outstanding Teen. Now the high school junior is proud to represent the four points of the crown: success, style, scholarship, and service. She will compete for the state title in June.

When Rachel was little, many people told her she couldn’t do anything because of her autism — but that didn’t slow her down. She smashed any negative expectations people had for her and has grown into a talented, confident young woman. “It doesn’t matter if you’re autistic, deaf, blind, mute, whatever,” she said during her interview with ABC News. “You can accomplish anything and not let your disability hold you back.”

Watch the video to hear more about this driven young woman.

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C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband and dog.