Student Spotlight: KaTara Burks

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KaTara Burks’ father, Christopher Dante Burks, passed away on August 2, 2012 in Cheongju, Korea from an accident. He was a Sergeant First Class in the Army and was 40-years-old when he passed. KaTara will be attending Clark Atlanta University where she will study fashion design and marketing.

KaTara is a remarkable scholar, as well as athlete. She excels in track, cross country and volleyball while also having a thriving model career. KaTara went undefeated in the 800m race her entire high school career and ranked 8th in the state in 2015. She also broke school records in volleyball this season with 167 kills and 86 blocks.

During high school, she received Academic Athletic awards for maintaining over a 90% GPA for the entire year.  Her admirable success shows how far she’s come, and how much she will accomplish as she embarks on the next chapter of her life.

The Burks children started Nkmand Inc., a community outreach organization that partners with under-resourced schools and mentors and offers scholarships to children of these communities.  KaTara serves as the President of Public Relations and spokesperson for the organization.

Dear Daddy,

I have so many things to tell you! I know you're up there proud of me because of all the things I've accomplished. I've worked so hard and you're my motivation. I remember you were overseas and you sent me a video cheering me on for my track meet. You have no idea how much that video meant to me. The light in your eyes and the smile on your face replays in my head all the time.

I miss you Daddy and I really wish you could've been here to see me grow into the woman I am today. I know you're watching from above, but it would be great to get one of your bear hugs, after I come off the court. I appreciate how much of a teddy bear you were.  I remember all of our clown moments together, how scratchy your beard was when we hugged, and how warm you felt while we hugged and it was freezing outside. I will cherish those moments forever.  I’m like the female version of you in so many ways and mom reminds me of it all the time. Every time I go out, I remember, whom I represent and for whom I'm living.

The years go by, but the pain doesn't seem to go away with time. Knowing that you're in a better place is what calms me down when I stress over the fact that you're really gone. I can't wait to see you again and I know you'll be there waiting with that cheesy smile on your face. I love you more than anything dad. Relax in Paradise.

As Father’s Day approaches, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is reminded of the inner strength of surviving children. This is an important time for our entire nation to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that so many soldiers and their families have made.