FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Union County CEO Program Hosts Informational Meeting At The Brick House Grill
ANNA—On the evening of November 10, 2014 the Union County CEO Program hosted its “Dine With a Purpose” event at The Brick House Grill. After light appetizers and drinks, the crowd was addressed by advisory board chairman Rollie Hawk and four students participating in the program.
CEO—short for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities—is a high school education program that takes twenty students out of county schools for two hours a day to learn about business, entrepreneurship and life.
“Much of school at this point is about memorization and regurgitation. We have educators here tonight and I don’t think they are any happier about that than the rest of us,” Hawk pointed out early in his presentation. “One of the central ideas in CEO is let’s teach students how to think instead of what to think.”
Hawk sees the CEO Program as a way to take young people’s natural desire for freedom and independence and to channel it into entrepreneurship.
“I’ve met very few people in my life who never dreamed of starting their own businesses, of experience that sort of freedom and control of their own destinies. So why don’t we have more people starting businesses? It’s partly because every time one of us has a business idea, we have ten people around us telling us why it will never work,” explained Hawk. “With CEO, we want to take young people—people who haven’t yet learned to be scared to dream—and teach them that you can do this and you can do it here and now!”
“Most of you in this room have probably had the experience of succeeding at something that other people said you couldn’t do. Maybe you weren’t even sure you could do it. Once you succeed like that, that’s a feeling that very little in this life can match,” continued Hawk. “That’s something that CEO can provide to students.”
Towards the end of the presentation, students in attendance addressed the crowd. Samantha Smith and Kaitlin McWhorter of Cobden High School, Mason DeLashmutt of Anna-Jonesboro High School and Hunter Levan of Shawnee High School each took turns introducing themselves to the business owners and community leaders in attendance. Each described their CEO experience so far and the need for this program in the community.
“I’m more impressed every time I see these kids in action,” bragged Hawk. “They give me a lot of hope.”
“When we weren’t able to find a teacher in time to have the full class this year, a lot of us were ready to curl up and cry. But then something happened that gave us hope,” said Hawk. “These students had reached out to the staff at the Midland Institute and Midland ended up offering to provide a modified program with monthly student meetings led by their own staff. These students took control of their own lives and destinies. Those are the beginning signs of the kinds of self-actualizers that this community needs.”