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New Trier Teen Stars in Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie This Weekend

Peter ten Brink plays a high school student with Down syndrome in "A Smile as Big as the Moon,” airing Jan. 29 on ABC-TV.

For Peter ten Brink, the best part of acting is not the glamour, it's the practice.

The 19-year-old Glencoe resident has been working hard for his starring role in "A Smile As Big as the Moon," which premiers Jan. 29 as a Hallmart Hall of Fame movie on ABC-TV.

"I'd have to say, my favorite [part of this job] is being in my trailer and being able to focus on my lines," said ten Brink, who has Down syndrome.

The recent graduate is registered with the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles as someone interested in acting, according to PioneerLocal. That's how he got the original call for an audition in September.

Since receiving the part of Ben Schmidt, a high school student with Down syndrome who sets his sights on space, ten Brink and his mother, Jeannine, have focused on filming the movie, which centers around Space Camp.

“Ben Schmidt had Down syndrome like me," said ten Brink. "The character wants to go to Space Camp … but Space Camp is really for gifted children, not special needs,” ten Brink said.

Ten Brink's mother said the family moved to Glencoe in 1994, and has since appreciated the variety of resources available to people with Down syndrome.

"We have the best of the best here," she said. "This has influenced how Peter has become who he is today, a very bright, energetic, talented and social individual."

Ten Brink keeps a busy schedule, also working shifts at Little Ricky's in Winnetka.

"It's just like what all actors do," she said.

The film premiers from 8-10 p.m. CST. Check out more information at www.hhof.tv.

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