Julia Farley describes having a normal childhood until her sophomore year at The Enrichment Cooperative at Bryant, when things went a little sideways.
What went sideways was her spine. Doctors discovered she had scoliosis of the spine, a curvature of the spine into either an S or C shape.
“I had just had a growth spurt,” Farley said.
She was set to have surgery to correct her spine, but the COVID-19 pandemic intervened and delayed her surgery by six months. She was finally able to get the surgery, which used two screws and two metal rods to straighten her spine, in September.
“By the time I had surgery I had a 75-degree curve,” she said. “It was pretty bad. The spine twists in on itself and they have to go in and untwist it and then put in rods and screws.”
She’s now 2 inches taller and, though recovery has been painful, it’s been less painful than the scoliosis. “I’m in a lot less (pain) than I was before,” she said. “Sitting super long in school was painful before surgery.”
Through it all, Farley stayed on top of her school work, which includes Running Start classes through Spokane Falls Community College.
“Julia is an excellent student,” said Bryant counselor Sara Duval. “She still managed to pull out amazing grades. Julia shows perseverance, determination and grit, all while smiling and never complaining about the circumstances she is handed.”
Farley is also a positive, caring person, Duval said.
“Julia is one of the kindest kids I have worked with,” she said. “Her compassion for others is admirable. Julia encourages others and tries to see the good in all around her.”
Farley was born in Moses Lake, where her family lived until they moved here in time her freshman year of high school. When she was younger, she was homeschooled and then attended a public middle school. Bryant is in the Spokane Public Schools district, but Farley’s family actually lives about 40 minutes away. Farley said she chose the school because she liked the atmosphere better than what she found at larger high schools.
“It was a lot smaller,” she said. “I got to know a lot of the students better.”
Being in a smaller school has helped her explore, Farley said. “I took web design which is one class I don’t think I ever would have taken if I wasn’t at Bryant,” she said.
After she graduates in June with an associate degree under her belt, Farley plans to attend Eastern Washington University in the fall to earn a degree in elementary education.
“I just like working with kids and seeing how they learn and helping them through,” she said.
She often helps her three younger siblings with their homework and took a class at SFCC that included teaching math to young students.
“I think that kind of confirmed it,” she said of her career choice.
Being a teacher just seems like a natural fit, she said.
“I like being in charge,” she said. “I like taking things into my own hands.”
Nina Culver can be reached at email@example.com
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