Minnesota native becomes first woman with Down syndrome to compete in Miss USA state pageant

BURNSVILLE, Minn. — A 22-year-old woman from Minnesota is a trailblazer after she became the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant.

Mikayla Holmgren received the spirit award and the director’s award on Sunday night in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. The audience gave Holmgren a standing ovation as she accepted the awards.

The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports the nomination letter for the spirit award says Holmgren is humble, puts others first and has the ability to overcome obstacles with a smile and excitement in her heart. Holmgren is from Marine on St. Croix.

Holmgren is a student in the Bethel University Inclusive Learning and Development (BUILD) program. She loves dancing and she competes in solo competitions as well as on the school’s dance team, according to the Star Tribune.