Gerber picks first spokesbaby with Down syndrome, EC special edu - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gerber picks first spokesbaby with Down syndrome, EC special education teacher reacts

Lucas Warren, 2018 Gerber spokesbaby Lucas Warren, 2018 Gerber spokesbaby

Eau Claire (WQOW) -- There's a new Gerber baby and for the first time ever it's a baby with Down syndrome. 

Lucas Warren is an infant from Georgia and the 2018 Gerber spokesbaby. He beat out more than 140,000 other kids in this year's 'Gerber Baby Photo Search' contest, making him the first spokesbaby with Down syndrome in the company's 91-year history. 

The title means Lucas will be featured on Gerber's social media channels and in its ads throughout the year. He's also won a $50,000 prize, which his parents say will go right into his college savings account.

Melissa Gunnes, a special education teacher at Memorial High School, told News 18 she got choked up sharing the news with her students on Thursday. 

"I asked if they noticed anything different, or if they noticed anything at all that was special about the Gerber baby, and the only thing they said," Gunnes said, fighting back tears, "the only thing my kids noticed about this adorable baby was his bowtie and I think that speaks volumes."

"My kids don't see differences in themselves, or anyone they come in contact with, and I think that's the coolest thing about my job. Showing their abilities and focusing on their abilities and what they can do rather than what they can't do. Because let me tell you - my kids can do just about anything any other kid in the world can do," she said. 

Gunnes' students said, going forward, they hope Gerber uses more babies with differing abilities, maybe even a baby with glasses. 

The president and CEO of Gerber said in a statement, "Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber's longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby and this year, Lucas is the perfect fit." 

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