by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
If you’ve ever doubted the notion that the youth are our future, it’s young people like Katrina Surcel-Debes and Lauryn Marie Burks whose lives serve as a constant reminder that the future of our communities and the world at large truly does lie in the hands of our children.
What these two young ladies have accomplished thus far is proof that investing in today’s youth is the smartest thing we can do as a society.
Lauryn is set to be my first Intern Media feature of 2017, but her story takes me back to a very special and memorable moment in the two-year history of my interview series; my interview with Katrina at the Park School of Baltimore in the summer of 2015.
At the time, Katrina had just finished the third grade as a Lower School student at the Park School, my alma mater.
While balancing school, sports, and childhood, Katrina still managed to develop her own business, Kiki’s Harvest All Natural Granola — making granola from scratch and selling it to local buyers.
Katrina is fearless, and with the unwavering support from two loving parents who encourage her to think outside of the box, it’s no mistake that she’s where she is today.
It’s interesting how one can live on this earth for many years, but experience life in a whole new way by simply tapping into the talent and youth of a child.
When I interviewed Katrina on that summer day, I learned about the makings and dealings of granola — something I had never really given much thought to before.
It was Katrina who opened my eyes to something new, and without even realizing it, she taught me about the nature of running a successful business from the ground up — something even some adults have never been able to master.
Katrina’s story is evidence that you don’t have to be an established and successful adult to start something and to create a lasting platform. You can be a child and be more ready than ever to cement a career of your own.
To hear from a third grader, at the time, who didn’t skip any steps in what can be a difficult process in running a business, and to see her actually embracing that level of responsibility, that was reassuring for me.
The fact that Katrina became a business owner as an elementary school student gives me all the confidence in the world, knowing that she’ll be shaping society for the better for many more years to come.
Thank you for inspiring me. I know that most adults will tell you that it’s children who can learn a thing or two from us, and that’s true. However, I want you to know that it’s adults like myself who can also learn a thing or two from the youth. And that’s what happened here. I’ll never forget how much fun it was to interview you on that beautiful summer day at the Park School, and having your mom there in support of you was special as well. You’re an amazingly talented kid, but more importantly you’re a person of great character and your future is beyond bright. Continue to be a game changer, not only at Park, but in life in general. I will continue to follow your journey and I promise you that I won’t be surprised at all to see you change the world around you for the better because you have a loving family behind you, a strong educational background, and talent that cannot be taught. You’ve been apart of the Intern Media family since our interview and you’ll always be! Thanks Katrina.
Karl Nelson II, Founding Editor of Intern Media