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Staff Spotlight: Meet Kasey Winegar

Kasey Winegar teaches YE to seniors at Fredonia High School in Fredonia, Kan. “In YE, we’re learning entrepreneurial concepts, soft skills and math calculations. And it’s not just about the activities. It’s about the Foundational Values and constantly making ourselves better.” Get to know Kasey. 

Her YE connection: Kasey first encountered YE when she student taught at North High School in Wichita, Kan. “I was buying food from the school’s Market Day before I even knew what YE was!” she laughs. When she started teaching full time at Fredonia, she had the opportunity to attend YE summer teacher training. She was hooked, and became the first YE teacher at her school. “I couldn’t wait to get further involved.” 

What she loves most about YE: “I love the opportunities YE gives to students,” Kasey says. “Students get to be up and moving. They participate in a classroom currency and learn how to build their own business.” Beyond the classroom, she loves that students get real-world experience. This spring, Kasey and one of her students, Maria, attended YE’s Spring Break Academy in Phoenix, a four-day event that dove deep into the Foundational Values and topics like innovation, economics and problem-solving. They also networked with Phoenix-area YE students and had fun exploring the city. “What a cool opportunity for both of us — and that’s not a trip Maria would normally get to take herself.” 

Most memorable mindset shift moment: “Before Market Day, students think they know all about business just because they’ve shopped at a store and eaten at McDonalds. But through YE, they learn that it takes work. They have get licenses, hire people and do the figures. Market Day is when the lightbulb moments happen. They go from thinking they know everything to actually putting YE concepts in action.” 

A day in her YE classroom: Kasey’s engages students through YE dollars, the classroom currency that teaches entrepreneurism. “I’m always passing out YE dollars for every correct response. People respond to incentives. In my class, even the quiet students are more likely to respond if there's money involved.” 

Defining entrepreneurism for her students: “Entrepreneurship is all about creating innovative solutions to a problem you see. I teach my students that it’s all about the entrepreneurial mindset. You can bring that mindset to any classroom or organization that you’re in.” 

Entrepreneurship is all about creating innovative solutions to a problem you see.

The importance of failure: “In my class, we talk about failure. You have to fail in order to learn. We can’t be embarrassed by our failures. You have to own it, accept it and learn from it.”

Her YE opportunities: Kasey thrives off professional development, and she has taken advantage of many YE opportunities to grow. In addition to summer trainings and Spring Break Academy, she serves on YE’s Teacher Advisory Council and recently attended SXSW Edu in Austin, Tex. “There’s something special and different about YE professional development,” she says. “They make you feel welcome, and you really feel like a part of the YE family. It doesn’t matter where you teach — whether it’s Phoenix, Detroit or Fredonia — I just feel like we’re one big family trying to accomplish the same goal: making more successful students.” 

If students remember just one lesson from YE, it’s this: “It comes down to passion. I tell my students they need to be passionate about something. I don’t care whether they leave YE and become a CEO, shopper or lawn mower. I can teach you skills to be a good employee, but it doesn’t matter unless you have passion.”

“How do my students become passionate about something? I have to be passionate about my learning area. I have to be passionate about teaching. If I make the curriculum fun, my students are going to be excited and engaged.”

Her case for YE: “Our youth are the future. These kids are the future of the America. They will be playing vital roles in our communities and our country. We need to be making investments in our youth. A lot of the students come from rough home lives. They need more positive role models in their life.”

“I invite anyone who doesn’t know about YE to volunteer. Be a role model. Come sit in the class and see the magic that’s happening in the classroom. Be a part of YE, and shape the next generation of leaders.” 

Meet more inspiring YE Educators here