“I’m a proud 1991 graduate of Renton High School,” proclaimed Katina Thornock, Director of Corporate Counsel and Litigation at Starbucks Corporation.
The students in the room—the Renton High School Class of 2019—perked up as they listened to an accomplished attorney for one of Seattle’s most well-known brands talk about coming from the same place as them. She told them that she was the first person in her family to ever go to college. “I’m proud to create a new legacy for my family,” said Katina. “And to demonstrate that no matter what your background is, you can in fact do it.” She also reminisced about the Taco Time across from Renton High School where she worked for four years. Students instantly knew which location she was talking about because it’s still a hangout for Renton students. “At times I felt like I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I stuck with it,” said Katina, “And I encourage you all to just stick with it and never give up.”
During DiscoverU Week, hundreds of students from King County participate in worksite tours at companies in the region. The goal is for students to see real community members in real careers—and start thinking about the possibilities in their lives.
As the Starbucks employees shared their own college and career paths, the 11th graders in the room started envisioning their own futures:
Josh, another Starbucks employee, reminded the students: “That French test you take, that Geometry test you take, that job at Taco Time that you have… those things may not feel like they’re steps at the time, but all of those things cumulatively are adding up to something. And if you stay focused on whatever your goal and arrange those steps, you’ll get there.”