EC CEO students

Edwards County CEO students Laney Stevens, Allie Goering, Marcus Stennett and Gus Beadles gave a brief presentation to the EC Board of Education about the CEO program. 

The Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities, or CEO, program that began in Mt. Carmel has been incredibly successful, and the audience members attending the Sept. 19 Board of Education meeting got a glimpse of the program’s impact. 

Four ECHS students were selected to participate in this year’s CEO program: Laney Stevens, Allie Goering, Marcus Stennett and Gus Beadles. Beadles began the presentation to the board.

“I am one of thirteen students in the CEO program this year. I personally joined this class to further my knowledge of the business world, to present and build my own company, and to expand it as well.”

Beadles explained that the program is helping him to better understand the business world.

“The business world is expanding and moving very quickly. In order to keep up with it, you have to learn about it. As students involved in this program, we’re learning and will continue to learn how to keep up and be more involved in the business world.”

Laney Stevens followed up after Beadles, explaining how the program is helping them.

“We’ve also had several speakers come in to our class and tell us about themselves, what they do, about their journey through the business world and give us some advice.”

However, as those who are familiar with the program know, it isn’t just a classroom experience. The CEO students are required to get out into the community, network with local businesses and raise money for their own personal businesses.

“We’ve also started our class businesses. Our first step was our name badges. Because we had no money, we had to find local people to donate money and, in exchange, we would have their business names on the back of our badges,” said Stevens.

The CEO program doesn’t just teach students how to run a business, though. Marcus Stennett told the board how the program has helped him develop as an individual.

“I’d like to discuss how this has changed the way that I talk with adults, greatly. It has helped me with public speaking as well.” 

Stennett told the board that the program has also affected his temperament.

“There are also a lot of responsibilities that come with this. One of those is waking up early in the mornings. I am not a morning person at all. It’s taught me a lot, specifically not to be grouchy early in the day, because you can’t walk in to work with 13 people and be grouchy all the time.”

Alli Goering wrapped up the quartet’s presentation to the board.

 “I’m very lucky to be enrolled in CEO. It’s given me several goals to work toward that I’d love to accomplish through this program. It has helped me network with many businesses. We all have high hopes that this program will excel our social skills and give us confidence when we represent ourselves.”

Board president Dale Woods asked the students to come forward so the board could shake each of their hands, congratulate them on their success and wish them well going forward.