Associate degrees

With high school and associate degrees under her belt, TEC at Bryant senior Julia Farley is ready to take education to a new level: become a teacher herself

Julia Farley describes having a normal childhood until her sophomore year at The Enrichment Cooperative in Bryant, when things got a little awry.

What went sideways was his spine. Doctors found she had spinal scoliosis, an S- or C-shaped curvature of the spine.

“I had just had a growth spurt,” Farley said.

She was scheduled to undergo surgery to correct her spine, but the COVID-19 pandemic intervened and delayed her operation for six months. She was finally able to have the operation, which used two screws and two metal rods to straighten her spine, in September.

“At the time I had surgery, I had a 75 degree curve,” she said. “It was pretty good. The spine twists on itself and they have to go in and untwist it, then put in rods and screws.

She is now 2 inches taller and although the recovery was painful, it was less painful than scoliosis. “I suffer much less than before,” she said. “Sitting for a very long time in school was painful before the surgery.”

Through it all, Farley has stayed on top of her schoolwork, which includes Running Start classes through Spokane Falls Community College.

“Julia is an excellent student,” Bryant’s adviser Sara Duval said. “She still managed to get incredible grades. Julia shows perseverance, determination and courage, while smiling and never complaining about the circumstances entrusted to her.

Farley is also a positive and caring person, Duval said.

“Julia is one of the nicest kids I’ve worked with,” she said. “His compassion for others is admirable. Julia encourages others and tries to see the good around her.

Farley was born in Moses Lake, where her family lived until they moved here in time for her freshman year of high school. When she was younger, she was homeschooled and later attended a public college. 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 much smaller,” she said. “I got to know a lot of students better.”

Being in a small school helped her explore, Farley said. “I took web design, a course I don’t think I would have taken if I hadn’t been to Bryant,” she said.

After graduating in June with an associate’s degree under her belt, Farley plans to attend Eastern Washington University in the fall to earn a degree in elementary education.

“I just love working with kids and seeing how they learn and helping them,” she said.

She often helps her three younger siblings with homework and took a course at the SFCC that included teaching math to young students.

“I think it sort of confirmed it,” she said of her career choice.

Being a teacher seems like a natural fit, she said.

“I like to be responsible,” she said. “I like to take things in hand”


Nina Culver can be contacted at [email protected]