Student Focus: Entrepreneur Edition
Over the years at Florida Virtual School, we have had the honor and privilege to teach many incredible students. In our Student Focus blog series, we are pleased to showcase two amazing students this month who are blazing a trail with their unique gifts.
Thirteen-year-old Virann Welbourn is very much like other girls her age—she loves to sing, dance, spend time with her friends—but she also loves to cook and can already boast that she’s a cooking champion. Virann competed on a July episode of the hit Food Network show, “Chopped Junior.” and out-cooked her competition to win $10,000 in prize money.
Virann feels at home in the kitchen and has been helping and preparing meals for her parents and brother since she was just four years old. She said her favorite dishes to make are Filipino and American foods. Her fried banana bundle, turon, a dish representative of her family heritage, wowed the “Chopped Junior.” judges.
The 8th-grade homeschool student said she dreams of running her own restaurant or catering business but is also thinking about becoming a doctor or teacher. Virann said she loves FLVS because it is so flexible with her schedule, and she can cook more and see her friends more often. She was hard pressed to name just one favorite school subject but said if she had to pick, it’s Language Arts.
She wanted to thank a few of her teachers:
- “Mrs. Pitts for saying I’m her ‘favorite’ student because of “Chopped Junior.”
- “Mr. Herbert for helping me out with homeschooling questions.”
- “Mrs. Rack for being so understanding.”
- “Mrs. Walker for being an amazing teacher.”
- “Mrs. Gormally for being such a great teacher, person, and friend.”
Ailani Forde is a 12-year-old entrepreneur and FLVS student who loves arts and crafts. At age seven she started her own business because she was bored! Ailani began designing flip flops for women and children and is the founder of Fancy Flops by Ailani. Her business has grown with more than 100 different styles and she has expanded her product line to include t-shirts, headbands, wallets, lipstick cases, and wall art.
The 7th-grade student has been featured in various media outlets including Bay News 9, Cox Media, the Pete Edwards show, and on the Harry Connick Jr. Show. Ailani was honored and selected as the NAACP Young Entrepreneur of the Year and was a 2018 “Children Who Inspire Us” Award Winner from Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
In addition to running her business and keeping up with her online academics, Ailani also enjoys reading, dancing, singing, acting, politics, and volunteering in her community.
FLVS is so proud of Virann and Ailani!
Providing our students with a flexible, individualized educational experience that complements their aspirations makes us feel fulfilled—and we are never happier than when we see our students making their dreams come true!
Have a suggestion on a student to spotlight or have a comment you’d like to share? Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post by Suzan Kurdak, former FLVS Communications Specialist