Wedgwood Academy students receive real-world work experience

One TCU concession stand on average will earn up to one thousand dollars, but for students at Wedgwood Academy, work experience is more important than fundraising.

What some people don’t realize is that these students have learning differences such as ADD, ADHD, autism, and down syndrome.

“I really enjoy working with my classmates and managing the cash register,” said Andrew Nickerson, a senior at Wedgwood.

Andrew Nickerson, senior at Wedgewood Academy, plans on attending college in the future.
Andrew Nickerson, senior at Wedgwood Academy, plans on attending college in the future.

The students have jobs such as restocking the cups and lids or running the cash register and taking orders. While others might be filling orders with popcorn, nachos, or pretzels.

“They [students] perform amazingly well,” said Rachel Wittich, director of Wedgwood Academy. “An average person looks at the line and says ‘wow look at that line’ but someone with high anxiety looks at the line and says ‘look at all the people, how do I handle this?'”

Wittich, along with teacher Susan McCartney, work the concession stand with the students to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

“The thing that I see that our kids get a lot of benefit is that interaction with the other person on the other side,” said McCartney. “Those real world skills.”

Students work together in the stand when it gets busy during halftime.
Students work together in the stand when it gets busy during halftime.
Fans wait in line at concession on Saturday Nov. 14th for the TCU vs. Kansas game.
Fans wait in line at concession on Saturday Nov. 14th for the TCU vs. Kansas game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year, the funds from the concession stand helped purchase iPads for most of the classrooms. Now, the funds raised pay for a mad scientist to perform at the school as well as a trip to Camp Carter.

Wittich says that it’s important that the students get real world experiences and the activities at Camp Carter such as archery, pioneer cooking and canoeing are some of the ways they get students involved.

Wedgwood Academy is home to 88 students located in a rented building from the Southcliff Baptist Church on Selkirk Dr.

Students work in a small classroom setting.
Students work in a small classroom setting.

The biggest thing that the school offers that other schools don’t, is the ability to get that one on one attention that the students need. The school has a small teacher to student ratio and adjusts the lessons to fit the needs that they have in the classrooms.

The school has expanded since it started in Jan. of 1997. Rachel Wittich says that she started the school with eight students who came to her house everyday. Now, the school is at maximum capacity and they would like to someday have their own building.

Since the school is not accredited, it falls under the homeschool category. Tuition for the school is $6,350. However, this is a third of what most private or charter schools cost.

All supplies, books, desks, and tables are donated to the school from private schools in the area.

“I choose this school because I get the freedom to teach what I know my kids are going to need in the real world,” said teacher McCartney. “I really do enjoy working here, it’s a lot of fun, it really is.”

To learn more about Wedgwood Academy or to donate, visit their website.