As a rising senior at Insight School of Oklahoma (ISOK), in many ways I'm a typical high school student. I enjoy photography and digital media production, and love spending time with friends and family.
But when I'm not in class or studying, I'm probably not what you would consider a 'normal' student. I'm an entrepreneur!
The Seeds for a New Business
For context, a few years ago my brother was medically retired from the army after 11 years of service due to complications with his back. With limited opportunities to secure a traditional desk job due to his injury, he needed to find a new means of employment—and I wanted to do everything I could to help.
Shortly after my brother returned home, we decided to take a risk and start a business together. And after a thorough planning process, the two of us hatched an idea: Diamond G Produce.
Launched in the spring of 2017, Diamond G Produce is a homegrown, organic gardening business that harvests nearly every kind of produce under the Oklahoma sun: from radishes, lettuce, and spinach in the spring; watermelons, blackberries, tomatoes, and peas in the summer; to pumpkins and gourds in the fall. And that's just the tip of the produce iceberg.
We employ several veteran gardeners to support our business, selling our fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets across Central and Southeastern Oklahoma. And with just over a year of harvesting under our belt, we were so excited this summer to expand our distribution to a wholesaler in Noble, Oklahoma.
Flexibility to Work and Learn
I'm blessed to have a brother and family who support me in whatever I choose to do. But I also know that I would not be able to learn effectively while running a thriving business without the opportunity to learn online through ISOK. And while the summer might offer me a short reprieve to tend to my time-intensive gardens, a traditional class schedule would be unthinkable in the spring and fall—the height of the planting and harvesting seasons.
At ISOK, my versatile schedule allows me to focus on Diamond G Produce without interfering with my school work. My teachers are incredibly supportive, and if I'm struggling on a certain assignment, they are always willing to help me understand all aspects of my coursework. ISOK wants to make sure all students are ready to thrive in the 'real world,' and that outlook has only helped fuel my entrepreneurial spirit and prepared me for starting my own business.
Prepared for What's Next
As for my plans after graduation, I'm still weighing my options. What I do know, though, is that I want to continue expanding Diamond G Produce, with the hopes of growing enough produce to sell to several wholesale companies. I also want to pass on what I've learned, teaching other young people how they can start and grow their own businesses.
And if my radishes, strawberries, and snow peas from this year's harvest are of any indication, I think any goal I set can be within reach. Just ask our customers!