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A Summer to Remember: An Alumna's Story

When Victoria Xayaphet, a recent graduate from Truman High School in Independence, Missouri, arrived at the 2019 Youth Entrepreneurs Summit in Detroit, Michigan, she didn’t know what to expect.

“I have no idea what’s in store for us,” she said with excitement. “But I know that everything I have ever done associated with YE is beneficial.”

This eager attitude towards the unknown didn’t come naturally to Victoria. It’s something she’s taken from her experiences inside the YE classroom.

“YE encourages us to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s really enhanced my networking skills,” said Victoria. “I've changed a lot because of YE and all the hands-on activities and events. I hope to learn even more at [YE] Summit.”

In true YE fashion, this year’s summit was an immersive, weeklong experience filled with activities and excitement. More than 200 YE students from across the country were able to connect with each other and prominent entrepreneurs from the Detroit area. They also explored the history of innovation at The Henry Ford Museum, toured inspiring businesses, heard  from dynamic speakers, attended dinners with industry leaders and had some fun.

For Victoria, it meant more than just a five-day trip to a new city.

“This was the highlight of my summer. Actually, this was the most life-changing trip I have ever taken,” she said. “YE took a group of strangers with completely different backgrounds and put us together. We had introverts, extroverts and people you wouldn't think would click. It was like real-life Breakfast Club. We went from strangers to lifelong friends.”

After a moment of reflection, Victoria added, “It's giving us a leg up on the real world. It’s shown us we can be anything we want.”