First Friendship Fields Academy program class graduates

Original members of Friendship Fields Academy program graduate
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Three women from the original class of the Friendship Fields Academy, a Friends University program, will be the first to graduate from the program. The academy is a four-year program that includes college classes modified for those with different abilities.

The director of Friendship Fields at Friends University, Valerie Wall, started the program seven years ago. It began with a program focused on life skills and the college experience.

“I taught special education for 32 years, and I always had students come and ask me and talk about going to college, but that was not a possibility for them because they couldn’t do the work required of them,” said Valerie. “They want to go to college and do the things that everybody else gets to do. I wanted to make sure that they got to eat in the cafeteria because that’s a big deal. A big part of college is eating in the school cafeteria.”

Graduates Lauren, Alexis, and Kaitlyn are the inaugural class. The women tried on their caps and gowns and had been practicing their stroll across the stage to accept their certificates before the event.

Alexis Armstrong, a graduate of Friendship Fields Academy, says, “I was able to accomplish something that, before this program, none of us were able to accomplish. It means a lot to me because my dream is to help kids with disabilities. And I feel like it’s essential for them, for us to do it. ”

Lauren Herron, another graduate, says, “my favorite classes were foods one and two because I love to cook.”

They said that accomplishing their dreams will help pave the way for others to be included.

“I’m really happy now,” says graduate Kaitlyn Eads.

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