Team 16 on Banker Day: In the first row are, from left, Mackenzie Conway, Meghan Smith, Samantha Smith and Kaitlin McWhorter. In the second row are Logan Jerolds, Austin Besomcslki, Adam Jung and Austin Klasner. Photo provided.Team 17 in Effingham at the CEO Experience: From left are Jessica Glasco, Julian Smith, Shad Turner, Aaron Lence, Jessa Bond and Erin Dillow. Photo provided.Team 18 at Coad Chevrolet: Sitting, from left, are Bryce Osman, Alex Rogers, Alejandra Lopez, Grace Schroeder, Zoe Fuhrhop, Megan Rhine, Cheyenne Thorn; standing are John Russell, Grace Pitts and Connor Allen. Photo provided.Team 19: In the first row are, from left, Amanda Smith, Zachary O’Neal and Katie Charles. In the second row are Gabe Thompson, Zach Griffin, Maddie Bundren, Elle Mason, Olivia Schroeder, Conner Jerolds and Jackson Laster. Photo provided.Team 20, Anna-Jonesboro National Bank, first week of class: In the first row are, from left, Addison Osman, Julia Lasley, Laura Brown, Drake Roach, Reese Barrow, Jayclynn  Presutti and Lauren Lyerla. In the second row are Alex Remsey, Sally Sims, Joseph Brumleve, Noah McFarland, Braden Benns and Michelle Wolford.

CEO program accepting applications for 2021 class

The CEO program of Union County is accepting online applications for 2020-2021 high school juniors and seniors of Union County who are interested in participating in next year’s CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program.

The CEO program is a two-credit hour high school class that meets daily in local businesses. Not just for future business majors, the class could be called Adulting 101.  This will be the sixth school year for the class in Union County.

The new digital application is accessed through  

A click on “Student Recruitment” sends potential candidates a link to more student-centered information, and then, instructions on how to begin the process.  

The applications can be completed on a phone or computer and are due Jan. 31.  

Applicants then will have until Feb. 7 to have three references completed, also online. 

While in the application program, the students may stop and resume or edit.   Submitted applications will have all personal and school information redacted so that selection is a blind process.

Students can contact any Union County high school counselor for more information.  

Home-schooled or private school students are welcomed to apply as well and can contact UCCEO Board secretary Evelyn Bailey by phone at 618-867-4038 for more information.

Union County CEO alumni recently were asked to share some of their thoughts about the program after completing high school.

Jackson Laster, a member of the CEO class of 2019, now at St. Louis University, said: “CEO taught me so many skills that have proven to be invaluable since I have been at college. 

“The transition was seamless because I used some of the communication skills that CEO taught me, and I was able to meet so many new people and make plenty of new connections right away! 

“Things have been great! I have joined the entrepreneurship club here at SLU and have met a few other CEO alumni!”

Bryce Osman, a sophomore at Milliken University in Decatur and a member of the CEO class of 2018, said: “The college experience has been amazing, and the ability to create new friendships and continue my baseball career has truly been a blessing. 

“Having the opportunity to represent the Anna-Jonesboro community has become an amazing opportunity. 

“I appreciate that CEO gave us the ability to put yourself out there and build new relationships.”

Erin Dillow, a member of the CEO class of 2017, graduate of Shawnee Community College and junior at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, plans to complete her degree in nursing. 

“CEO has helped me so much as my professional life has progressed,” she said.

“The values I learned in this course have helped me become a determined student, an employee that exceeds expectations, and a lifelong learner. 

“The priceless connections with others in my community will last a lifetime, and I cannot thank this amazing program enough for all it has gifted me.”

Samantha Smith, a member of the CEO class of 2016 and a recent graduate of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., said: “CEO inspired me to major in marketing and has opened so many doors for me. 

“It has easily been the most impactful course I have taken (including college). I feel that a lot of the skills I learned will be especially helpful as I enter this next phase of job applications and interviews. 

“I would encourage any incoming junior or senior to take advantage of the opportunity: it provided me with a great network, helped build my confidence, and discover my passions. Union County is lucky to have CEO.”

CEO exposes students to business practices, connects them with leaders in their community, and allows them to practice communication, problem solving, and networking in a variety of settings. 

Ultimately, CEO guides each team member through starting and running their own functioning small business, all while cultivating essential skills and an expansive, long-lasting network of community members and business owners. 

These skills and experiences also assist with scholarship applications, internships, pageants, employment and related interviews. 

Members of the class of 2018 received over $200,000 in scholarships, and those in other classes have received similar recognition of excellence.

Union County CEO is entirely supported by local businesses and organizations as well as individual investors.   

The local program is a chapter of the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship, which supports over 50 excellent CEO (Creating Entrepreneurship Opportunities) programs that are long term economic development programs for nationwide forward-thinking communities.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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