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Lemonade Day celebrates 15 years in Fort Cavazos area

Copperas Cove school librarian recognized with Teacher of the Year award


Cove Leader-Press 


A Copperas Cove school librarian was recognized with an award on Wednesday evening at the Lemonade Day Fort Cavazos Area’s 2024 gala that also celebrated 15 years of impact from the Copperas Cove area to Belton. 

The gala was held at Central Texas College, and featured a catered brisket dinner, plenty of photo opportunities and a celebratory cake. 

Savannah Taylor, the librarian at Williams/Ledger Elementary School, was given the Teacher of the Year award for how she used Lemonade Day curriculum in teaching materials. 

Ally Torres Olszynski, Lemonade Day’s City Director, emceed the gala and distributed awards on Wednesday evening. 

“There is a GT (gifted and talented) student population at that school, and Mrs. Taylor incorporated the Lemonade Day curriculum into her GT intervention blocks,” Olszynski said. 

“The students completed the online modules and created business plans. Over 400 registered Lemonade Day students set goals, branded their stands, and managed all of the logistics of a successful business. These youth entrepreneurs hosted an open-air market Lemonade Day event for students to use campus currency for competent behavior to sample Lemonade Day the Friday before Lemonade Day weekend. 

“Additionally, Mrs. Taylor had students set up stands in the community during Lemonade Day weekend and connecting them with their favorite charities to donate proceeds from their sales.”

Held the first weekend in May, Lemonade Day has grown since the first was held in the area in 2010. 

The gala’s program shared statistics to show the growth in 15 years. 

Altogether, there have been 32,188 youth entrepreneurs that have registered for the program since the beginning. Since 2010, they have earned $181,438 in gross receipts for their small businesses. 

Of that more than $181,000, a total of $50,698 has been donated to charities by the young entrepreneurs. 

Several of the Lemonade Day Fort Cavazos area entrepreneurs have received accolades at the national level.

Duane Shaw, owner of Lemon Squeezos, was the 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Fort Cavazos area, and also won the Lemonade Day National Entrepreneur of the Year. 

He has continued his lemonade business since Lemonade Day. 

Shaw’s bottled lemonade is sold at Toa’s Ohana Restaurant in Copperas Cove. Shaw has grown his “menu” of lemonade varieties. 

On Wednesday, he passed the torch of Lemonade Day Entrepreneur of the Year to Kyrei Hartsfield, owner of Stroke Survivor Lemonade & Co. 

This is her second year participating in Lemonade Day, and she had a goal of raising $1,000. 

Kyrei made and bottled 500 bottles of lemonade, which she offered for sale at Raising Cane’s in Harker Heights. She ended up exceeding that goal and made $2,375. 

Kyrei donated $300 to The Stroke Clinic at Colorado Children’s Hospital, a facility which she credits to saving her life. 

She has a goal of opening a mobile lemonade stand to operate in the summer and to continue to earn money and continue raising funds for Colorado Children’s Hospital. 

Kyrie is also looking ahead to 2025, when she plans to help a new Lemonade Day entrepreneur by investing in their business and also mentoring them as they build their new business. 

Amanda Sequeira is the founder of Lemonade Day for the Fort Cavazos area, and she was one of the keynote speakers on Wednesday. She reflected on how she became involved in the initiative and why Lemonade Day is now more important than ever. 

“I was first introduced to Lemonade Day at a youth entrepreneurship event in Houston in 2009. I had just transitioned to a new role at First National Bank Texas and it was focused on community development for all ages, and Lemonade Day was this perfectly packaged vehicle to introduce youth to financial independence. It was simple but effective.”

She credits her boss at the time with giving her the green light to take the next step, and that was getting buy-in from the local communities.

“Our first conversations were with the cities of Harker Heights, Killeen, Copperas Cove, and of course, the leadership on post. Nobody batted an eye. They were on board from the beginning. And to me that speaks of local governments that are eager to support them.”

She also said Lemonade Day wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of other local businesses. 

The first year, 735 kids participated, Sequeira said, and by the 10-year anniversary, there were 24,000 kids in the program. Lemonade Day also weathered a global pandemic and continues to the present day.

Sequeira said for her personally, her perspective on Lemonade Day changed when she became a mom. Now a mother of two, she said her four-year-old son, Caleb, was “all about it,” and that he was excited to do his own “market research,” and that his slogan is “hard work is good.”

“As a mom, I plead with you in the room to keep this program going so that it becomes a household name for our community. Because something happens when kids scratch the itch of entrepreneurship, when they taste success from the work of their hands, when they gain confidence, not from an opportunity given to them, but one that they have earned and created by forging it with their own grit and determination. Lemonade Day matters now more than ever.”

Next year’s Lemonade Day weekend will take place May 3-4. Prior to that, young entrepreneurs will have many opportunities to prepare by building their own stands, learning how to make lemonade, using the free Lemonade Day business curriculum, and even have the chance to attend the one-day Lemonade Day University.

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