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Gov. Steve Beshear joined entrepreneurs and educators across Kentucky to announce the creation of the Governor's School for Entrepreneurs. Speaking alongside him, on behalf of high school students across Kentucky, was Taylor Nash, a sophomore at Collins High School.
When Taylor first heard about the program through a meeting at school, he said he was excited, “This is definitely a path to careers that would work for me because I want to start my own business and make a difference in the community.”
The press release announcing the new program cited the state’s success with its Kentucky’s Governor’s Scholars and the Governor's School for the Arts and that this new program centers on innovation, creative thinking and entrepreneurship. The goal of the program is to develop talents at younger ages and increase their value to society.
“Ag is one of my passions,” Taylor said. “I see many different job opportunities, like opening a store for farmers, while even inventing products for the modern scope of farming, using technology.”
The son of Scott and Beverly Nash, Taylor is getting hands-on experience in this field through engineering classes at Collins’ Project Lead The Way program.
His other avenue of preparation is in the ag department, where he is responsible for a “supervised ag experience.” Working with his father and ag sponsor, he is pursuing blackberries and strawberries while investigating chickens and quail.
Speaking at the governor’s press conference was a natural for Taylor, who as a freshman last year placed third in the FFA speech contest. He was asked to speak by Gilda Ellis, teacher for the Talented and Gifted, of which Taylor is a member.
“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to speak with the governor,” he said with a grin.
He also said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to apply for GSE, which this summer will be held at Georgetown College. Fifty students will be selected for what is described as “an immersive, hands-on summer experience.”
The release said students would be selected to participate through a competitive and creative application process rather than traditional academic methods.
Taylor exhibited his characteristics during the speech, saying, in part, “GSE offers knowledge about what it takes to succeed, owning your own business and being able to compete with already strongly, established operations....With GSE, I have the chance to spend three weeks exploring how to take an idea, working with others, to not only achieve my dreams but go over the top and make this dream my life.”
One requirement of the GSE application is responding to an essay question about “the hardest thing you have had to overcome....It would definitely be losing my grandmother,” he said with tenderness.
It was 4 years ago when Cleda Nash died (she was the former cafeteria manager at Northside Elementary). Taylor’s home was on the same farm property as his grandmother, so he saw her every day. “She was one of the best women ever. She was there for everyone who needed her and gave love to everyone,” he said.
He was one of those recipients because Cleda Nash also served as babysitter when he was young. “I’d be on the couch, and she’d bring me chocolate milk,” he said, smiling. “She loved playing Chinese checkers and puzzles.”
Taylor uses those puzzle skills in a civil engineering and architectural class at Collins. He said he wants to pursue those degrees at the University of Kentucky. In the meantime, he is concentrating on his work in high school: TAG, FFA, Young Leaders Institute, Leo service group, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Technology Student Association and the academic team.
Then, next summer he said he hopes to be involved in a GSE team that will develop and take an idea through the components of a business model – from product creation to getting the product into customers’ hands.
Duanne B. Puckett is public relations coordinator at Shelby County Public Schools.