9 kids that will make you feel like a slacker

Posted at 7:00 AM, Dec 29, 2015

CINCINNATI -- I believe that children are our future (so does Whitney Houston). It's always reassuring to see young people in our area doing good and making a difference. 

But some of these kids are putting us adults and semi-adults to shame.

Adulthood is hard: taxes, loans, thank-you notes, pantyhose, electric bills...and many adults never even come close to realizing their dreams. Or accomplishing something huge enough to impact the human race for generations to come.

Well, these local kids did it. They took off running with inventions (don't you have a few of those scribbled somewhere?), wrote and published books (isn't that on your bucket list?), sang and danced on Broadway and embodied perseverance and strength.

Keep envy at bay and check out our top 9 list featuring these incredible kids. Their future is looking pretty bright -- and that means ours is, too.

9. Sydney Keiser, a.k.a. "Mayhem"

Getting to a thousand followers on Instagram would be pretty legit, right? Well, this kindergartner has 494,000 followers on Instagram: All (or mostly, anyway) adoring fans of her chic style. Four-year-old Sydney Keiser -- known to fans and the fashion industry as "Mayhem" -- has debuted dresses at New York Fashion Week and recently worked/played with J. Crew to design a new children's line. She's precious, it's no doubt, and you can read more about her here.

8. Piper Hawkins

Publishing a book has always been on my bucket list. So the fact that 10-year-old Piper Hawkins pitched, wrote and published her own book last year really made me feel sub-par. Piper, of Deerfield Township, published "Visions of Light," a children's Christmas book, simply because she wanted to write a book. You can read about the tenacious 10-year-old and her career goals (she's just getting started, guys) here.

7. Michael Dillingham

We all have excuses. Some people have very legitimate reasons as to why certain activities are physically impossible. Michael Dillingham, for example, was born with Cerebral Palsy, which could easily hinder him from taking part in certain activities, like playing musical instruments. But Michael, 18, didn't give up. With the help of two local nonprofits, he was able to grow his musical passion. You can read more and listen to "Michael's Melody" here.

6. Rileigh McDonald

We've all dreamed fn making it to Broadway -- even just making it to Broadway to watch a show. But Loveland fourth grader Rileigh McDonald made it happen: She was cast as Broadway's Matilda this spring. You can read more about Rileigh and see her Times-ready quotes and anecdotes in our story here.

5. Justin Goodall and Jonathan Boyle

Sometimes it's not just the accomplishment but the strength amidst horrible tragedies that make a young person so extraordinary. In the case of the iWill Awareness Foundation, two high school students were able to channel grief and sadness into a mission and a worthy cause. Justin Goodall and Jonathan Boyle lost their "brother from another mother" William Cox to pediatric brain cancer in 2013. But now, the two teens are raising thousands of dollars for Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in the memory in their late friend. You can read more here.

4. Ryan Brewster

I don't know what your excuse is that prevents you from working out -- but Ryan Brewster at Clark Montessori probably just put them all to shame. Ryan was born without fingers on his left hand, but he doesn't let that stop him on the football field or the weight room. Here you can read more and watch a video about Ryan and a new device designed to help him lift weights.

3. Trontez Mahaffey

After reading 19-year-old Trontez Mahaffey's story, no goal to change your life will seem too out-of-reach. Trontez grew up in Avondale and was homeless for a few years. He made ends meet by working minimum wage jobs and was still able to graduate from high school. After getting in trouble with the law and seeing friends locked up or killed by street violence, Trontez decided to make a change. Today, he's taking classes through the Urban League and saving up the money to go to college. You can read his story here.

2. Ethan Kadish and his friend Jacob Smilg

We've written a lot about Ethan Kadish, the Loveland teenager who was struck by lightning and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result. Ethan and his family have been in recovery mode for two years now, with almost one full year spent in the hospital. Recently, Ethan's made some huge communication breakthroughs and is able to blink to communicate. Now, another update to the story will melt your heart. Ethan's friend Jacob Smilg, an eighth grade student at Sycamore, is working on an electronic device that will, hopefully, help Ethan's communication even more. You can read all about Ethan here, and read and watch Jacob talk about his invention here.

1. Daniel Katz

This guy is really going to make you feel like a worthless adult -- Daniel Katz began his first company when he was only 12. He opened himself up to opportunities in a different market -- car sales -- when he was 15 (no, he couldn't even drive the cars when he was selling them). And, like a true entrepreneurial spirit, he ended up dropping out of college to REALLY give his all to his next business venture, a protein bar company. Katz told us "I'm as driven as you'll ever see." And, after talking to him, we couldn't really argue that one. Read more here.