From Prom King to the Governor's office

Lots of people set their sights on the state's highest office, that of the Governor in the Tennessee State Capitol. One Chattanooga native is showing the state, and his hometown, that a dream can come true, regardless of the challenges you face.

Being an intern at the state Capitol isn't always a glamorous job. But for Jason Rogers, it's a very important one. "I want to help people within the state of Tennessee," Rogers say.

You see Jason, is the first intern at the Capitol with a disability.

"It's really important for people with and without disabilities to see someone follow their dream, he wanted to work at the Governor's office and he went out and he did it!" Joanna Wagner is the head of Lipscomb University's IDEAL program. It teaches students with Down syndrome, like Jason, and other learning differences college academics, how to live on their own, and the best way to succeed in the workplace. "Everyday our students are overcoming these bariers and are overcoming things that someone, at some point, told them they wouldn't achieve."

Jason is known around Chattanooga from his days at East Hamilton High School, where he won Prom King and Mr. East Hamilton and now he's making a name for himself in one of the most powerful offices in state government.

"It's a little scary but when you get the hang of it you just do it," Rogers says.

Lipscomb provides a job coach to help Jason navigate the waters of his first adult job. "Every person deserves to be someone to do something in this life, that's why we are put on this planet and Jason with what he's doing right now is setting such a great example for future internships here," says job coach Jason Miller.

But here's the thing about Jason, no matter how significant it is that he's succeeding here every day... what's perhaps more important is that he never doubted it's where he belongs.

I asked him, "Do you think you ever thought that you would be here in one of the busiest and most important offices in the whole state?" Jason's answer was simple. "Yes."

When Jason finishes the IDEAL program at Lipscomb, he will get a certificate of completion and a college transcript.

His dream is to come back to Chattanooga, get his own apartment, and be a teacher's assistant for Hamilton County.

For more on the IDEAL program, click here.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off