FORT KNOX, Ky. - This military child shows her resiliency, strength, and leadership in her community. She also demonstrates her ingenuity while operating her own business.
Taquaria Bryant, daughter of Command Sgt. Maj. Sherman Waters Jr., senior enlisted advisor, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, and 1st Sgt. Alikeisha Waters, senior enlisted advisor, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Human Resources Command, spends much of her time volunteering, competing in sports, and working on her popcorn business - which she calls “Something Seasonal.”
The North Hardin High School senior has been volunteering for years. She attributes her giving spirit to her parents.
“They show me every day that it is good to help others,” she said.
“My friends and family are a big part of why I volunteer,” she added.
Taquaria has volunteered with blood drives, delivered food to the hungry, staffed trunk-or-treat events, and helped with 5K races. However, her favorite volunteer experiences involved working with animals.
“I definitely love animals,” she said.
The 17-year-old wants to learn more about them in college with a possible major in marine biology or agriculture.
She recalls having a horse when she lived in Alaska. “I took care of my horse, feeding, walking, and grooming it,” she explained.
Playing sports is a big part of her life too.
“I’ve been competing in track for two years and playing soccer for four years,” she said.
She excels in both the 100 and 300-yard hurdles. “I recently won a medal in the hurdles for my last meet,” the athlete said.
Another passion of hers is participating with the organization DECA, Inc., aimed at growing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high school. The organization’s goal is to help prepare students for the business world.
The military child said her teacher and advisor for DECA, Mrs. Geisert, pushes her a lot.
“Without Mrs. G., I wouldn’t know business the way I do. She is the best advisor and someone who I can talk to everyday,” she shared.
She has learned a lot being involved in DECA and is now her team’s vice president for career development. “I am going to compete with DECA next weekend in Atlanta,” she said.
The high school senior is participating in an international career development conference in Atlanta, where 17,000 high school students, advisors, businesspersons, and alumni gather to develop knowledge and skills for college and careers.
The organization values competence, innovation, integrity, and teamwork. The high school student has learned a lot about being an entrepreneur and is proud of her business making seasonal popcorn.
“I have sold over 200 bags of popcorn, which I mix with different holiday colors, chocolates, and Chex Mix,” she explained.
She sells the bags for only $3 and customizes the contents based on holidays or seasons. “People love them, and I’ve learned a lot doing this. It helps me push myself,” she said.
Her parents have recognized how competing in sports, volunteering, and being involved in DECA have contributed to Taquaria’s success.
“She has learned so much in the last four years by overcoming her shyness by stepping out of her comfort zone, and I am overjoyed with the young lady she has become,” her mother, 1st Sgt. Waters said.
The proud Command Sgt. Maj. Waters said, “Taquaria is a very mature 17-year-old woman with great character who has a bright future in biology or agriculture.”
He also touts her involvement in DECA. “She has gained great strides breaking that shell of shyness,” he said. “She is devoted to her school studies, including showing her North Hardin Trojan pride by participating in high school track and field, soccer, and DECA.”
He is certain that she will succeed in whatever she decides to pursue in the future.
Whether it’s helping others, competing in sports, spending time with animals, or working and growing Something Seasonal, this military child plans to continue pushing herself.
Taquaria knows that she didn’t get where she is on her own. “I thank everyone that has pushed me in the right direction to this day,” she said.
She also acknowledges her athletic coaches. “Thanks to Coaches Basham, Coney and Smith, who put in the time and effort to push me forward in my athletic career,” she said.