Go Back

Our Stories

The one thing every student needs

Youth Entrepreneurs provided a single opportunity. Luke Hurt took it from there. 

In the fall, Luke’s class drove from Fredonia, Kansas, to visit Koch Industries’ global headquarters in Wichita as part of his YE Biz Crawl event. It was there that Luke met Joe Woodward, Koch’s internship program manager. 

“After our presentation, Luke gave me his business cards and said, ‘I’d like to learn more,’” Joe says. “When someone approaches you so humble and hungry for knowledge, it’s hard to say anything but yes.” 

And Joe did say yes. He and Luke exchanged a few phone calls that led to Joe offering Luke some book recommendations. “I was impressed by his boldness, ambition and willingness to learn,” Joe says.  

That was Christmas break, and it’s been nonstop interaction since. “I’ve been listening and following advice from Joe on things like reading books, researching schools and even coming for a visit at Koch,” Luke says. “I’ve grown a lot from his advice, and I’m glad I decided to give him a call.”

Luke’s drive to seek out a meaningful mentorship experience is impressive, but not unique. Across the nation, YE students have taken advantage of these kinds of opportunities for decades. It’s a key piece of the curriculum. 

“In a community like ours, some students never even leave the county,” says Kasey Winegar, who taught Luke’s YE class at Fredonia High School. “For Luke to get the chance to get out there and meet other people – that is really rewarding.” 

Kasey is her students’ biggest cheerleader, always rallying their confidence and encouraging them to take advantage of networking opportunities. “Students need to learn from people who are successful in their communities,” she explains. “It’s important to talk to real people, and to learn that everyone struggles. And that you can face those struggles and still be successful.” 

When asked about Luke’s mentorship experience, Kasey lights up. “There are so many warm, fuzzy moments I get as a YE teacher than I’d get in a traditional lecture environment,” Kasey says with a smile. “To see those moments come to fruition and watch them grow and become members of the community – that's the reason I'm a teacher.” 

If you’re interested in partnering with YE or learning more about our curriculum, contact us.