mansfield isd

Mansfield ISD Student Marks Milestone With College Acceptance

Summit High School senior was invited to be part of the University of North Texas ELEVAR program

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On Monday, Summit High School's 'Woohoo Crew' celebrated Jaylen Walker's acceptance to college. It marked a milestone for Walker.

"I want to help (people) who have learning disabilities," Walker said. "You can do anything you want to do."

Walker was born prematurely with a learning disability. His parents didn't think college could be in his future until they saw a story last February on NBC 5, highlighting the University of North Texas ELEVAR program for students with learning disabilities.

"I saw that story and I thought, 'Oh my gosh, this is for Jaylen,'" Jaylen's mother, Traci Walker, said. "His motto is, 'If I can do it, you can do it,' and so that's our goal just to keep pushing him and supporting him, allowing him to be the best person that he can be."

"For Jaylen to be accepted into ELEVAR program at UNT, it's amazing," Jaylen's father Larry Walker said. "We couldn't be more happy."

Jaylen was one of 12 students invited to attend the second cohort of UNT ELEVAR, one of only two 4-year college programs in the state for students with intellectual disabilities.

"So Jaylen is a perfect example to be able to say, he can do it and everybody else can do it as well," UNT ELEVAR Faculty Lead Brenda Barrio said.

Walker is manager of Summit High School's basketball team. His teammates cheered and celebrated the milestone with him.

"To see them overcome those limitations and be so proud of themselves, it makes us feel like the job is worth it," Walker's teacher Kayla Demouchet said. "It's the true reward of being a teacher," another teacher Jessica Janus said.

Walker hopes to inspire others to be inclusive of people like him.

"We can do what you can do," Walker said. "If I can do it, you can do it."

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