Nationals, Wow!

Nationals, Wow!


Last week, the NFTE Chicago Team had the pleasure of attending the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge with our Chicago representatives, Deandre, Malachi, and their families and teachers.

We had so much fun! 

Special thanks to Chad Kreindler, Chicago Board member, for making a special trip out to NYC to support our competitors!


In my reflection of the experience, I think that the only way I can truly show how it felt, is to speak directly to the NFTE Class of 2016.

Dear NFTE Students,

I think it goes without saying that the caliber of your presentations was impressive, your ideas inspiring, and your year+ of hard work evident. It is absolutely important to recognize that for all the participating students. YOU ALL ARE AWESOME!

But, I already knew that we can teach content at NFTE. What I also already knew in my mind, but maybe not yet fully in my heart, was that we also teach a little something about being a great human.

You are amazing young people and you had me in tears all week.
You may now know a little too well, that I am a joy crier, a pride crier, a laughter crier, a corny, embarrassing to all, crier! I am a grandma trapped in a 32 year-old body when it comes to swelling with pride and uncontrollable emotion at your expense. 

The passion, dedication, and humility that you embodied at the competition was absolutely moving. 

Your business plans give me hope for the future. You are building community with your problem solving; creating pathways for healing the environment and our neighborhoods, our education system, our personal health, and our interpersonal relationships. You are inspiring others to do the same.

Your confidence (and watching it build over the process of your NFTE journey) shows us all the power of the value of self. It motivates us to get out there and do something positive!

Your support of each other – WOW. If someone had walked in knowing nothing about NFTE, they would have barely been able to tell it was a competition! You all demonstrated a deep understanding of the truth that the only real success is when we all succeed.

I want to really take the time to fully embarrass you here, and to say that you all should be extremely proud of yourselves, not just for your business plans, but for WHO YOU ARE. Be strong in self and I know you will all succeed.

And that is what NFTE is truly about. It is not really about winning the competition (although that part is fun!), it is about learning and growing yourself so that you can tackle any problem, any challenge, and any struggle with effectiveness, grace, and perseverance. 

So to all NFTE students across the United States, congratulations on your journey. You are just so great! I cannot wait to hear of all the goodness that is to come in your lives, and the goodness you will bring to others. 

To my Chicago Crew…what can I say? You are all forever in my heart! You know first hand what a sap I am, and that isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Once NFTE, always NFTE! I am so thankful for you all as a part of my life – you’re a reminder of why I’ve dedicated my career to education, even when it gets crazy. Keep being awesome. 

Be sure to keep in touch, all of you! (Shameless alumni registration plug…ask your NFTE contact if you don’t know what your next step should be!)

All the best and all the thanks,

Alex Terrana*

*I know I speak for the whole Chicago Team, I am just the goof willing to pour my heart out on a blog 😉

To find out more about the competition results, visit





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