LLYP discovers common denominator in Bluegrass businesses

Author: Tammy L. Lane • First Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2017

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Bernardini, which won the Preakness in 2006, now commands a $100,000 stud fee as a top stallion at Jonabell Farm.

Bernardini, which won the Preakness in 2006, now commands a $100,000 stud fee as a top stallion at Jonabell Farm.

Bernardini, which won the Preakness in 2006, now commands a $100,000 stud fee as a top stallion at Jonabell Farm.The 1978 Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, is buried on the property off Parkers Mill Road where students toured the Darley operation.Frosted, which was born Jonabell Farm, is already booked up for this breeding season.Students checked out the trophy wall where Sheikh Mohammed’s prized thoroughbreds are celebrated.The nearly four dozen LLYP participants paused at the fountain before heading back to Crank & Boom for ice cream.The teens were impressed by small-business owners' ingenuity and sweat equity.

A group of high school juniors have found prime examples of “Kentucky Proud” ranging from a thoroughbred farm where a Dubai sheikh is a major player in the local business sector to a start-up ice cream shop growing its support base largely through word of mouth.

Students in the Leadership Lexington Youth Program toured the 800-acre Jonabell Farm off Parkers Mill Road as part of Economic Development Day, which was January’s theme in their six-month learning series. Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation houses nearly a dozen stallions there with stud fees reaching $150,000. “This is his hobby. He loves horses and loves to win races,” said Brianne Sharp, market research coordinator. She explained the process, including the sales season and the breeding shed, and also highlighted the Godolphin Flying Start training program for students interested in the equine industry.

LLYP, which is offered by Commerce Lexington, introduces teenagers to their community, highlights pressing issues, and shows them varied career opportunities. “We’re seeing Lexington as a big, complex machine, and we’re seeing how it all runs,” said Drake Witt of Bryan Station High School, who values the networking aspect, too. “I’m not from Kentucky, so this program is a cool way to get me plugged in,” added Kendra Thomas of Tates Creek High School.

On Economic Development Day, the nearly four dozen students also heard from the owner/CEO of North Lime Coffee & Donuts and from web developers at 212ths; toured Awesome Inc.’s creative studio; minded their p's and q's during an etiquette luncheon; and wrapped up at Crank & Boom Craft Ice Cream with owner and operator Toa Green.

Drake and Kendra both were particularly impressed that people from many different backgrounds had come together to run a donut shop. “It was cool to hear their stories about starting from the ground up,” Kendra said, noting, “A lot of people just start with an idea and put in a lot of hard work to make it come true.”

That certainly was the case with Green, who has tried her hand in various arenas including Thai Orchid Café, which she opened with her parents several years ago. “They taught me discipline,” Green told the students. After her homemade ice cream became a hit, Green spun off with a mobile operation and then landed in the Manchester Street warehouse district.

“You should be open to opportunities. The story of Crank & Boom is all about the unexpected,” Green said as students sampled the menu options. “Assess your worst-case scenario, and if you’re OK with that, you should go for it!” 

Did you know?

The diverse students in LLYP meet one Wednesday a month and stay in touch through their mentors on the program’s steering committee. Also on this year’s schedule were Ambassadors for Change Day in October, Government & Public Safety Day in November, and Arts & Media Day in December. Still to come are Health & Human Services Day on Feb. 1 and Higher Education & Career Day on March 1. The program’s graduation luncheon is slated for April 12.

Roll call

The Class of 2016-17 has 45 outstanding students, including 33 from Fayette County Public Schools.  

  • Bryan Station High School: Sidney Bibbs, Simone Bibbs, Karishma Srinivasan, and Drake Witt;
  • Carter G. Woodson Academy: Zion Walker;
  • Henry Clay High School: Shelby Amato, Ella Franklin, Nick Joseph, Charlotte Kessinger, Ellie Phillips, Kassidy Stumbo, Colton Warner, and Alex Welch;
  • Lafayette High School: Kasey Fields, Chris Giuliani, John Giuliani, Sarah Gleeson, Abby Holthaus, and Erin Remley;
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar High School: Emma Draper, Akhil Kesaraju, Rohith Kesaraju, David Ma, Flor Mucino, and Julia Radhakrishnan;
  • STEAM Academy: Claire Page;
  • Tates Creek High School: Caroline Dunson, Ellen Harrington, Sarah Hornback, Hannah Isa, Eliana Shapere, Lauren Skidmore, and Kendra Thomas.

Leadership Lexington Youth Program

Amy Carrington, coordinator, (859) 226-1610



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