KHS Entrepreneurs

KHS Entrepreneurs
KHS Entrepreneurs

            Kokomo High School senior Molly Hedrick received her first cooking lesson from her mother before she could even see over the kitchen counter.

            Mrs. Hedrick noted: “Molly, you have been watching me bake in the kitchen for a long time. Now it is your turn. Bake me a cake.”

            Molly has vague memories of pouring a great deal of chocolate syrup and sugar into the baking pan, before happily sticking it in the oven. Molly grinned ear-to-ear as she pulled a light-brown, “semi-risen blob” from the oven, and presented it to her mother.

            Mrs. Hedrick responded, “You know what you forgot, Molly? Flour.”

            The Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) student has come a long way since that first baking lesson. She recently debuted her own business, “Butter Bakery,” during the CEO Trade Show. The business launch served as her final project for the hands-on entrepreneurship class.

Molly spent days creating complex desserts like French macaroons, thin mint truffles, homemade marshmallows, caramel apple cheesecake bars, and cheesecake pops, which she sold to the hundreds of community members who filed through the Trade Show to learn about the student businesses. In fewer than two hours, almost all of Molly’s desserts had been purchased.

            “I don’t even have words to describe my CEO experience,” Molly said. “It has been amazing. I’ve gained so much confidence in my business capabilities. I learned how to plan, and how to handle the stress of owning a business.”

            Molly received a Presidential Scholarship from Purdue University, and plans to pursue a degree in entrepreneurship from the Krannert School of Management when she begins classes in the fall. Molly said her business will likely take a back burner while she focuses on her studies, but her ultimate goal is to open her own coffee shop/bakery.

            Molly has no doubt that she will enter college ahead of her peers in business school because of all the practical experience she gained through the program. The CEO course only strengthened her desire to become an entrepreneur.

            “This course made me realize how hard running a business – especially a bakery – actually is, but I also learned that entrepreneurship is so rewarding,” Molly added.

            This year’s CEO class featured nine KHS seniors. In addition to Molly, KHS CEO students included: Paxtyn Bailey, and her business “Breaking Barriers”; Trevor Emerick, and his business “Get a Grip”; Jalen Hall, and his business “Chops Inc.”; Sarah Hutchison, and her business “Rosewick’s”; Vinh Lee, and his business “Lee’s Organized Living”; Rodrig Naska, and his business “Idem”; Connor Sanburn, and his business “CCS Entertainment”; and Yetzali Zimbron, and her business “Zim’s Autos.”

            Trevor Emerick developed a solution to what he says is a very common issue in tennis… incorrect racquet grip.

            “I’ve played tennis since I was five years old,” Trevor noted. “Over the years, I’ve had issues with my own grip, and I knew I couldn’t be the only who has struggled with this.”

According to Trevor, having the right grip is important because your serve becomes 20 to 30 mph faster if you’re holding the racquet correctly. Proper grip also decreases your chances of developing tendonitis.

            Trevor developed a training racquet called “Get a Grip,” which athletes can use during practice to commit the proper grip to muscle memory. Trevor is in the beginning stages of development, and his next steps include having 3D models of the product made, filing for a U.S. Patent, and talking to tennis corporations about why they need “Get a Grip” and why it is a cutting-edge product.

            Trevor described the profound impact the CEO class has had on his young life.

            “This course really changes you,” Trevor explained. “Before this class, I was just this shy kid who didn’t say much. Now I can start a conversation with anyone. Everyone talks about how great this class is, and everything they say is true. I love the business experience I’ve gained because of CEO.”

            Trevor plans to attend Indiana University Kokomo in August to pursue a degree in accounting and finance, with hopes of becoming a financial advisor in the Kokomo community.

            Paxtyn Bailey also plans to attend IU Kokomo in the fall, where she will study Business Marketing and Management. Her decision was inspired by the CEO course, in addition to her business and marketing classes at the Kokomo Area Career Center.

            Paxtyn has been taking business courses at the Career Center since 8th-grade. With every course, she fell even more in love with business. The CEO course sealed her decision to make it a career.

            “I never imagined I would have all of these practical, hands-on business experiences in high school,” Paxtyn noted. “These courses have been a blessing.”

            At the Trade Show, Paxtyn unveiled her unique business venture, “Breaking Barriers,” which is a therapeutic release event that focuses on relieving stress through destruction of glassware.

            Paxtyn is hosting a stress-relief event at the July First Friday (July 7) in downtown Kokomo. The event will begin at 5 p.m. in the south courthouse alley. For $20 members of the community can break various types of glassware (protective eyewear provided).

            Paxtyn explained that she and her friends tested this therapeutic release as a way to combat the stresses of school, and they discovered that it was fun. She hopes the community will have fun at this event as well.

            Paxtyn gleaned advice from the many businesses her CEO class visited this year. The business owners helped her learn how to run her own business. These business visits, she believes, will give her an edge in college.

            “I’ve learned about the ups and downs, and successes and failures, of many businesses in this community,” Paxtyn noted. “I’ve seen the business world from so many different perspectives. I feel way more experienced in matters of business. It has been absolutely amazing. This class motivates me to get up in the morning.”

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