Five BCPS students to be honored in inaugural “18 Under 18” awards program for outstanding youth
Towson, Md. – Five BCPS students are among the “18 Under 18” students to be honored by Junior
Achievement of Central Maryland, in partnership with Baltimore magazine. The inaugural award
program is designed to highlight youth, ages 5 to 18, from Anne Arundel, Carroll, Baltimore, and
Harford counties and Baltimore City, who are future leaders, change makers, and innovators.
The BCPS students being recognized are:
• Maja Durkovic, Grade 12, Eastern Technical High School
• Beloved Joshua Simons, Grade 9, Lansdowne High School
• Halee Simons, Grade 12, Chesapeake High School
• Kasey Tarburton, Grade 8, Stemmers Run Middle School
• Emma Wilson, Grade 12, George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology
The honorees will be featured in the May 2023 edition of Baltimore magazine, profiled on the Junior
Achievement of Central Maryland website, have opportunities to network with executives and leaders in
the greater Baltimore area, and be recognized for their accomplishments at a formal awards ceremony.
The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 10, at 7 p.m. at the JA Youth and Workforce
and Innovation Center.
Brief biographies of the BCPS honorees follow:
Maja Durkovic, age 17, is president of the Maryland Association of Student Councils, a student page for
the Maryland General Assembly’s 2023 legislative session, a member of the Maryland Youth Advisory
Council, co-founder of the Eastern Tech chapter of Maryland High School Democrats, legislative affairs
coordinator of Baltimore County Student Councils, an intern at the Baltimore County Bar Association,
and a participant in the 61st annual United States Senate Youth Program. For the past two years, she
chaired the Eastern Tech chapter of Maryland High School Democrats, an organization she co-founded
as a sophomore. She tutors through the math and social studies honor societies.
Beloved Joshua Simons, age 14, founded Beloved J Public Speaking Firm, LLC, which is now a member of
the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce and Maryland State Chamber of Commerce. His business
offers speaking, audio/visual editing, transitioning, graphic design, and voiceover services, and he has
launched a Beloved J. Business Academy to help aspiring and novice business owners launch and elevate
their business. Enrolled in both BCPS and the Community College of Baltimore County, he plans to major
in engineering with a minor in business. In addition, Simons is active with the NAACP and The
International Association of Black Triathletes and is a contributing writer for Urban Market Magazine.
Halee Simons, age 16, founded Halz S. Enterprises, LLC, which provides photography services. She is an
active member of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce and Maryland State Chamber of
Commerce. She also operates a business academy to help aspiring and novice business owners. Simons
is taking business courses at CCBC. In the community, she is involved with the NAACP and The
International Association of Black Triathletes. A speaker, podcast host, and writer, Simons also is a
College Board – Big Future Ambassador and takes part in community programs through DTD Sports
Kasey Tarburton, age 13, has volunteered many hours at the White Marsh Volunteer Fire Department
and is now a cadet there. She hopes ultimately to become an emergency medical technician or a nurse.
At the fire department, Tarburton has assisted with food truck Tuesdays, trunk or treat, Christmas tree
sales, the train garden, breakfast with Santa, and parades. So far, with her fellow cadets, she has learned
about the different areas of fire trucks and ambulances, search and rescue, pulled lines, rolled lines,
charged lines, forced entry, mass casualties, and how to assemble and disassemble air tanks.
Emma Wilson, age 18, represents her school in the Outstanding Young Women Leaders Program at
Towson University. She initiated a music theory tutoring program at Carver Center and is president of
the Tri-M Music Honor Society and Science National Honor Society. She has increased member
engagement in both organizations and helped coordinate the Tri-M Winter Concerts and Singer
Songwriter Concerts. She helped create a mental health resource that will be distributed to every BCPS
high school student. She also has an Instagram account devoted to mental health advocacy and literacy.
An active volunteer, she has logged more than 380 volunteer hours, often organizing food drives.