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Jacob Irving

1135

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Finalist

Bio

Ambitious, bold and daring, I opened my own food truck at the age of 16. I continue to own and operate it, maintaining a regular schedule while also maintaining my ranking in the top 6% of my class. I am driven, compassionate and accountable, using my business to give back to my community through donations, sponsorships and "eat free" days for veterans and first responders. I am an achiever.

Education

Lake Creek H S

High School
2020 - 2023

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other
    • Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      entrepreneur

    • Dream career goals:

    • Pet Care

      Who Let the Dogs Out
      2013 – 20229 years
    • Front of House

      Chick Fil A
      2020 – 2020
    • Front of House

      Chronic Taco
      2022 – 2022
    • Attendant

      The Carriage House
      2021 – 20221 year
    • Owner and Operator

      Pop Pop's Dandy Dog
      2022 – Present2 years

    Arts

    • Various

      Acting
      The Music Man, Aladdin, Elf the Musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Shipwrecked, Chemical Imbalance, Clue On Stage, A Christmas Carol, Memory of Water, The Marriage of Bette & Boo, School House Rock, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan
      2011 – 2021

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Local Veterans and First Responders — Coordinator
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Montgomery County Food Bank — Food Drive Coordinator
      2019 – 2021
    • Volunteering

      Rockwall County Helping Hands — Warehouse volunteer
      2018 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Montgomery Carolers — Caroler, soloist
      2011 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Dante Luca Scholarship
    Wolf In June of 2022, at the age of 16, I opened a food truck. Pop Pop's Dandy Dog is located in my hometown of Montgomery, Texas in the downtown area of my small town. I own and operate it, and serve hot dogs, French fries and funnel cakes. I wanted to open my business in my hometown so that I could give back to the community where I was raised. I have hosted several days where veterans, first responders and active military can eat free at my trailer. I have sponsored many local organizations and school clubs. I have brought food to the local fire station to feed the firefighters on duty. I have fed school theatre and sports groups when they had rehearsals and practices. I have truly been philanthropic in giving back to the community that has given so much to me. But where I really think I have made a difference is with one man, Wolf. One day, shortly after opening, I caught the sight of an elderly man shuffling down the street, pushing an overflowing shopping cart in front of him. Tied to the handle was a leash with a sweet, but mangy dog. The heat index was well over 100 degrees in the sweltering Texas sun. I rushed to finish my customer's order, but he was gone before I could get to him. Several days later, he came by again, and this time, I was able to catch him. I jumped from my trailer with multiple bottles of cold water in hand and caught up to him. I invited him back to my trailer for a meal for him and his dog. From there, Wolf became my friend. Wolf has taken refuge in a local park. Sometimes he sleeps behind some local buildings. He keeps most of his possessions in his shopping cart. Other items he hides in places that he will go back and recover later. He is a veteran but has not had much success with veteran assistance programs. Wolf is approaching 80 years old and is nearly deaf and partially blind. Over the last 9 months, I have been feeding him regularly. I keep a cooler of bottled water outside of my food trailer so that anyone in need can grab water even when I am closed. When the Texas heat turned to frigid temperatures, I drove around town for hours looking for Wolf to bring him blankets and a coat. When I found out his portable radio had broken, I replaced it and I keep spare batteries in my cash box for him. Others know that Wolf has become my friend, and from time to time I will have a customer add a meal to their tab for Wolf. Whenever that happens, since I am planning to feed him anyway, I always give him the cash so he can get other items he may need. Most of all, I talk with him. I treat him with respect. While the meals and other items are appreciated I can tell that most of all he appreciates the fact that I treat him like a person and I truly consider him my friend. I have contacted the city and looked into ways to get him help. He does not want to leave the area. I have tried to explain some of the veteran housing that is available to him in neighboring towns, and that we can coordinate transportation for him. I think I am slowly talking him into taking one of these opportunities which would provide a place to stay and give him easier access to the medical care he needs. He hasn't agreed yet, but I think I am getting close. At least at this point, Wolf knows that someone cares about him. I have done a lot of volunteer service while growing up. Since opening my business, for all the free hot dogs I have given this is the one thing that I think is truly impactful. I know that there are many days that I made the difference as to whether or not Wolf ate at all. I know that when the temperature dropped, I was the only reason Wolf had a blanket to keep him warm. I know that for whatever reason, I am one of the only people that has taken the time to listen to an elderly man's stories and pay him some kindness. To me, that is what matters.
    Betty and Earl Hinson Scholarship
    From Spotlights to Spatulas I gazed out from the stage through the lights and saw the blur of more than a thousand faces in the audience that had come to watch us perform. I bowed my head as I had done countless other times and clapped my hands together in appreciation for the audience. I felt the heat from the spotlights fade from my face as the room went dark. As I picked my head up, still in the shadows, I knew that despite my acting awards and years of effort, after all my hours of deliberation and all my sleepless nights, I had made the right decision. I was leaving the stage for good. From the time I was 4 years old, all I have ever known is theatre. From late-night dress rehearsals and performances, I developed confidence and learned to express myself while also reaping the benefits of working toward a common goal with others. I entered high school as the star of the theatre program, and continually earned leading roles in our productions. We attended the International Thespian Convention, earning a coveted main stage spot to perform our production of Clue:On Stage where I had the leading role. I earned the award for Best Actor out of over two thousand attendees. I was excelling on stage and I was content, but deep down, I knew that a stage would never satisfy me. In my heart, I was filled with an entrepreneur's drive and a chef's creativity. I wanted to share my love for food with my community and learn about business while I did it. I made the very difficult decision to pursue my dream to open a restaurant and to do so meant giving up the theatre. As the lead actor for our program and one of the student officers for our troupe, this decision required a very serious conversation with Bobby Ramirez, my director. I was nervous about speaking with him, as we were entering the competition season for one-act play, which is a large part of high school theatre in Texas. I knew he would be counting on me for his production, and I wanted to speak with him before auditions were held and decisions were made. I prepared myself for a very difficult discussion, yet I knew he would share my excitement at pursuing my dream. That conversation epitomized who Mr. Ramirez is. Even though my decision required him to completely change course for the most important production of the year, leaving him without a leading male actor for the rest of the year, he met my decision with enthusiasm and support. He encouraged me to chase my dream. Instead of making the discussion about what I could do for him, it was about what he could do to support me in my endeavor. He encouraged me to have a plan and to work the plan. He told me to give it my full effort, and as we say in theatre, to “leave it all on the stage”. What I learned from Mr. Ramirez in my time as his student is to always give everything my best effort. He has inspired me to put my best foot forward in all I do so that regardless of the result, I will know I gave it my all. Mr. Ramirez also inspired me to dream big. Whether on stage or off, he encouraged us to have goals and take steps to achieve them. I have done just that, and am now the proud owner and operator of Pop Pop’s Dandy Dog.
    Deborah Thomas Scholarship Award
    I opened my own food truck at the age of 16, in June of 2022. I worked multiple jobs to save money to achieve my dream, while also earning a spot in the top 6% of my graduating class. I faced many obstacles along the way, but never let those obstacles force me to quit. As I prepared to open, I also had a goal to be able to give back to the community I was raised in. To support my community and those that serve us so well, I hosted several days where veterans, active military and first responders could come to my food trailer, Pop Pop's Dandy Dog, and eat for free. Additionally, I regularly cooked and delivered meals to our local fire station to feed the on-duty team. I donated time and money to local organizations, gave gift cards to fundraisers for the Lions Club, the local theatre and other non-profits and participated in community events. I have also created jobs for my community, currently employing 7 part-time individuals, both adults and students. Making a positive impact has been more than just donations. It has also been about the level of service my customers received. People that come to my business always comment on the kindness of our employees. I want them to leave our restaurant with a happy heart and full belly. It is our goal to leave kindness in our wake. It has always been my intention to make the things I touch and the places I go better than they were before I arrived. With the operation of my business, I have been able to put this goal into practice. As I look ahead, I plan to continue my entrepreneurial ventures and understand the importance of a quality college education to advance my pursuits. Havings started my career as a business owner at such a young age, I know firsthand the challenges that young entrepreneurs face. I plan to continue to expand my business enterprise by expanding the Pop Pop's brand into a chain of food trailers, with my custom sauces bottled and available for purchase in local stores. As I expand, I would like to pay forward the investment that my mentors made in me by mentoring young entrepreneurs. I believe I can positively impact others who have dreams and goals at a young age by mentoring in the school system. I also want to continue investing in my community by supporting local veterans, active military and first responders by hosting days that they can dine for free, as well as sponsoring events that will feed those who are actively on duty. This is a small gesture, but one that I can grow as my business expands. I have gained a lot of knowledge about business ownership and operations, but am aware that I still have a lot to learn. I am self-funding my college education, but know that the investment will be worth it as I supplement my real-life experience with a quality education and a degree in business. This scholarship will allow me to achieve a healthy balance between work and my education as I continue to pursue my dreams.
    Walking In Authority International Ministry Scholarship
    In June of 2022, at sixteen years old, I opened Pop Pop’s Dandy Dog. A food trailer serving hot dogs, French fries and funnel cakes, it was important to me to be located in my hometown, create jobs and also give back in a philanthropic way. I was raised with a spirit of service. Growing up, I spent many hours volunteering in food banks, shelters and nursing homes. In my heart, I always had a plan to start a business and use it for the betterment of my community. I moved to Montgomery, Texas when I was 9 months old. Having lived in this small town for the last 17 years, I have had the opportunity to see small-town culture in action. Seeing the community come together to support and celebrate has inspired me to stay involved and be a member of the business community who also supports the community. I have already started to scratch the surface of giving back. I have donated food to our local fire stations and hosted multiple days where active military, veterans and first responders can eat free. I have financially sponsored school organizations, tithed faithfully to my church and made donations to clubs. I have created jobs, currently employing seven part-time individuals. I have been a part of our community celebrations, from our downtown quilt walk, to our Christmas festival, to street dances and children's events. My business has become a recognized and loved part of our Montgomery community. As I determine what is next for my business, one thing I know for certain is that I want to be ingrained in my community. I want to be a creator of jobs, offering gainful employment to others. I want to use the knowledge, skills and connections gained at Texas A&M to mentor others and help them make their dreams a reality. My college education will help me be increasingly more successful in my business acumen. This will allow me to expand my support of the community, both through financial and volunteer service. It will also allow me to create programs that will meet the needs of the community I serve. I do not know what my future holds. What I do know is that there will be no shortage of determination, perseverance and commitment on my part. I know that a college education will supplement the real-life experience I am already getting through owning and operating my own business. I am confident that the skills and knowledge I will gain will help me to give back in numerous ways. I know that service is a part of who I am, and I cannot imagine a future for myself where I am not serving my community.
    iMatter Ministry Memorial Scholarship
    In June of 2022, at sixteen years old, I opened Pop Pop’s Dandy Dog. A food trailer serving hot dogs, French fries and funnel cakes, it was important to me to be located in my hometown, create jobs and also give back in a philanthropic way. I was raised with a spirit of service. Growing up, I spent many hours volunteering in food banks, shelters and nursing homes. In my heart, I always had a plan to start a business and use it for the betterment of my community. I have already started to scratch the surface of giving back. I have donated food to our local fire stations and hosted multiple days where active military, veterans and first responders can eat free. I have financially sponsored school organizations, tithed faithfully to my church and made donations to clubs. I have created jobs, currently employing seven part-time individuals. Owning a business at a young age has allowed me to learn many lessons first-hand, yet I still have a lot to learn. A college education will greatly benefit me by rounding out the knowledge I am currently gaining. My goal is to continue to expand my business ventures. In 2022, I was named the Outstanding High School Entrepreneur and inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. Through this honor, I have connected with many wonderful individuals and I am becoming increasingly aware of the importance of mentors, networking and relationships for personal and professional growth. One of the reasons I selected Texas A&M University for furthering my education is due to the strong Aggie network. I plan to embrace every opportunity offered for furthering my knowledge and skills, but also for building my network. As I determine what is next for my business, one thing I know for certain is that I want to be ingrained in my community. I want to be a creator of jobs, offering gainful employment to others. I want to use the knowledge, skills and connections gained at Texas A&M to mentor others and help them make their dreams a reality. My college education will help me be increasingly more successful in my business acumen. This will allow me to expand my support of the community, both through financial and volunteer service. It will also allow me to create programs that will meet the needs of the community I serve. I do not know what my future holds. What I do know is that there will be no shortage of determination, perseverance and commitment on my part. I know that a college education will supplement the real-life experience I am already getting through owning and operating my own business. I am confident that the skills and knowledge I will gain will help me to give back in numerous ways. I know that service is a part of who I am, and I cannot imagine a future for myself where I am not serving my community.
    Beatrice Diaz Memorial Scholarship
    When I was 16 years old, I opened my own food truck. I own and operate Pop Pop’s Dandy Dog, a mobile food trailer located in Montgomery, Texas. Otherwise, my high school experience is probably similar to other applicants. I am in the top 6% of my class and have performed hundreds of volunteer service hours. I have been the lead actor in our high school theatre program, receiving numerous awards at all levels. I have held numerous leadership positions in various organizations and received the National Rural and Small Town Recognition award through the National Merit Recognition program. However, opening and operating a thriving business sets me apart from my peers and is driving me to seek a degree in business. At the age of 14, I decided I wanted to unite my passion for cooking with my entrepreneurial spirit to open my own restaurant. Over the next two years, I worked diligently to learn about the trade and sought mentors to help me gain the required knowledge. I poured myself into building a business plan and identifying how I could open my restaurant in the near term, rather than it being a dream for the distant future. While maintaining my grades, service and extracurricular activities, I began working to save money to achieve my goal. One of my mentors has always been my grandfather, “Pop Pop”. In 1985, “Pop Pop” owned a restaurant called Dandy Dog where he served "gourmet" hot dogs. After they closed, he kept a list of mistakes, lessons learned, recipes and logos, all of which he graciously passed on to me. Inspired by the restaurant that my Pop Pop owned over 20 years ago, I decided to name my business in his honor. After two years of intense effort, at the age of sixteen, I opened Pop Pop’s Dandy Dog in my hometown, enhancing the menu with my own recipes, and creating a unique dining experience. Anyone can search for my restaurant online and find the challenges I faced both before and after its opening. What you will also find is that from speaking to the city council to rising above the petty competition, I conducted myself with the utmost integrity. My character is a large part of why my business has been so successful. My determination to act with integrity garnered me a reputation for being an upstanding citizen and businessman in the community. Now having 7 part-time employees, I also know that my ability to lead the team through honesty, integrity and solid training is critical to our collective success. I have also been able to use my business to serve my community. I have donated to school organizations, provided free meal days for veterans and first responders and donated my time to entrepreneur education in the school district and beyond. One thing that was very important to me when starting my business was doing it in my hometown and being able to give back to my community. I am happy to say I have been able to achieve both. Despite the success I have attained, I have a lot to learn about all facets of business. This is why I have chosen to pursue a degree in business. I have been accepted to Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. Through Mays, I will have the opportunity to explore all aspects of business before finalizing my specialization. My long-term plans are to continue down the path of entrepreneurship, expanding the Pop Pop’s brand into additional locations and menus, selling my sauces and developing food truck parks, while also obtaining an MBA.
    David Michael Lopez Memorial Scholarship
    At the age of 16, I opened my own food truck, Pop Pop's Dandy Dog. Much of the rest of my story is probably similar to many applicants. I am in the top 6% of my class, I have a 3.98 GPA and hundreds of volunteer service hours. I was the lead actor for my high school theatre troupe and an officer in the International Thespian Society, awarded many acting awards at the state and local level and also served as a spirit leader, emceeing the pep rallies my senior year. A member of National Honor Society, I invested time and attention to serving my school and the community. What sets me apart is that while doing all of that, I wrote a business plan and worked nearly full-time to save money to fund my business, which I opened in June of this year and continue to operate while finishing my senior year of high school. This month, I was named the Outstanding High School Entrepreneur by the Texas Business Hall of Fame. As I sat in ceremonies and dinners with some of the best business minds in the state, I was able to talk with them about my goals and plans. My goal is to expand my enterprise to include additional trucks with menu concepts I have already designed and continue to expand my business to real estate and other investments. Additionally, I am researching ghost-kitchens and the option for near term expansion through that forum. In order to achieve this, I plan to pursue higher education to round-out my real life experience with a quality business education and invest the knowledge I gain in making intentional decisions for the future of my business.