Celebrating student success

New name, same mission.

What was known as the Vocational Opportunity in Community Experience - or VOICE - program is now called the Independence Academy. The mission of the Independence Academy, part of the Lincoln Public Schools Special Education Department, is to prepare students with disabilities, primarily ages 18 to 21, to gain the skills and connections they need to facilitate a positive transition into adult living.

The program's new name better reflects that mission, said Independence Academy Coordinator Tonya Jolley.

"It's more fitting with the direction of the students and where they're going," she said.

The program started more than 25 years ago and currently serves 115 students. The program’s goal is for students to learn about independence, career development, developing self and academics. They gain community-based work and life experience at various sites throughout Lincoln, including Bryan Health Warehouse, Duncan Aviation, Food Bank of Lincoln, Hy-Vee and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Watch how one Independence Academy student, Dalante, is thriving as a result of the program.

Published: December 11, 2019, Updated: December 16, 2019