Union County CEO program students are Shad Turner, Erin Dillow, Aaron Lence, Julian Smith, Dillon Harris and Jessica Glasco. Photo provided.

Union County CEO program opens new year with orientation

The Union County CEO program began its second year with an orientation event hosted by Anna-Jonesboro National Bank at its Anna facility on Leigh Avenue. 

Students Erin Dillow of Shawnee Hills Christian Academy in Anna, Jessica Glasco of Anna-Jonesboro Community High School, Dillon Harris of A-JCHS, Aaron Lence of A-JCHS, Julian Smith of A-JCHS and Shad Turner of A-JCHS, introduced themselves to parents and board members for the first time as new members of the program.

CEO, short for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities, began several years ago in Effingham County and has since spread to a number of counties throughout Illinois, including Union County. 

Students receive two hours of high school credit, but instead of being taught in a traditional classroom by teachers, students learn from local business owners and meet every morning in local businesses.

“We are so pleased to be launching this second year of the program with such eager young people. They know the expectations and are willing to do their very best to get the most out of every opportunity,” explained Evelyn Bailey, facilitator for the program in a news release. 

“We also look forward to calling upon our business community again to help expose the students to the ins and outs of the business world, the government and the community.”

The CEO program board includes chairman and IT consultant Rollie Hawk, vice chairman and Union County Treasurer Darren Bailey, treasurer and owner of Whitney Accounting Mark Chamness and other board members State Farm agent Bill Ecker, Cobden High School principal Crystal Housman, executive director of the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau Cindy Cain, owner of Heartland Gifts Mindy Carter and retired teacher Steve Haldeman.

The board led the event by addressing students and parents on the standards of the CEO program as well as answering questions from those in attendance.

“The standards for this program are higher than probably anything you’ve been involved with. This isn’t a government program paid for with tax dollars. People like those of us in this room choose to invest thousands of dollars every year just to give young people like you the opportunity to learn things you won’t learn anywhere else,” Hawk said. “We know you won’t let us down.”

Stephanie Cox of Anna-Jonesboro National Bank was on hand to present the students with messenger bags featuring the CEO logo as a gift from the bank.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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