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November 08, 2016 06:14 AM

A Kentucky special education teacher invited all of her students to her Louisville wedding — and she says having her pupils by her side on the big day was “a dream come true.”

Kinsey French, 25, married her middle school sweetheart, Josh, on June 3, at Trinity Presbyterian Church. All seven of her students at Christian Academy Rock Creek, who have Down syndrome, were in attendance and walked down the aisle as flower girls and ring bearers.

“It made the day even more special for us,” French tells PEOPLE. “To have your students there who love you with all your heart, it meant so much.”

“My kids are like family to me.”

Lang Thomas Photography
Lang Thomas Photography

French has been teaching elementary special education at Christian Academy for three years and says the bond she has with her students is “just incredible.”

Lang Thomas Photography
Lang Thomas Photography

“They are in an inclusion program, to get them in a typical classroom,” she explains. “We treat our students with dignity and respect and encourage them to reach their full potential that God has created for them. We have high expectations for our students in all aspects of the day.”

Lang Thomas Photography
Lang Thomas Photography

“They are silly and serious and shy and my students are just like any other kid,” says the newlywed of her beloved students. “We have such a diverse group and I want people to know and to see is that they are like any other student.”

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Lang Thomas Photography
Lang Thomas Photography

French says she spends so many hours with her students, that it only made sense to have them at her wedding.

“They’re such a big part of my life,” she explains. “You grow such a bond in the classroom.”

Lang Thomas Photography
Lang Thomas Photography

Seeing her students dancing and playing and having fun at the wedding was the “cherry on the cake” for French.

“I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” she says. “They made it the perfect day.”

 

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