C.E.O. Program Teaches High School Seniors to Become Entrepreneurs

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 22, 2020 at 6:37pm

A West Central Illinois program is teaching area high school students how to become entrepreneurs by learning from area business leaders.

The Morgan-Scott Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities or (CEO) program teaches high school seniors how entrepreneurs and businesses operate as well as how to run their own business.

The program is designed to help high school students become self-reliant, enterprising individuals who will start successful businesses and contribute to the ongoing economic development of their communities.

The current CEO class toured the WLDS/WEAI studios this morning to learn about how broadcasting, news, and advertising works in radio media.

Cole Howard from Winchester, and Drew Evans from Bluffs, spoke with Gary Scott this morning about the program during the A.M. Conversation.

It’s a program of kids from seven area high schools, and we come together and do stuff that is kind of out of the ordinary for school. Not the usual stuff we learn in school, we learn more communication skills and how to communicate in the business world.” – Cole Howard

We visit a lot of businesses and it really helps us get stuff that is not there at school, and taught in school. We get to learn outside of school and learn real business stuff.” -Drew Evans

The class consists of students from Bluffs, Franklin, Jacksonville, Meredosia-Chambersburg, Routt Catholic, Triopia, and Winchester High Schools and meet for 90 minutes on weekday mornings during the school year.

Jennifer Cherry-Sellars is the program instructor, who works with area businesses to facilitate on-site learning opportunities, and help students start individual businesses.

Howard says the class-wide project requires a real team effort to accomplish, and that it is a very rewarding part of the program.

We are both on the advertising committee, we all have different committees we are working on, so we are all sort of split up. But we all come back together at the end of the day and let everyone know what we accomplished. There is definitely a lot to go through which is what is so amazing about this class. We are not just letting someone else do our work for us, we are actually doing it ourselves.”

Evans says that starting an individual business can be a little daunting.

It’s a lot of brainstorming and a lot of different ideas, you come up with a lot of stuff, and you have to eliminate stuff due to time and what is going on in your life, but you have to find something that you love and that is probably the hardest thing to do, is find one thing out of all the things that you love, to really focus on and make a business out of.”

The Morgan-Scott County CEO Program funds the individual business projects with the Battle of the Paddles Quarter Auction event, which will be held Sunday March 1st, at 3:00 pm at Bogart’s Banquet Hall in Jacksonville. The event is open to anyone to attend, and the students say the better the auction goes, the better their project businesses can start out.