CICEO program highlighted at school board

Students getting first-hand experience, life skills, appreciation for their community


CLINTON — The Central Illinois CEO program was the highlight of Tuesday night’s school board meeting. 

Melanie Brown, facilitator of the Central Illinois CEO (CICEO), said she is pleased will how well the class is progressing since starting last fall. Ten students are involved in the CICEO program which offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship through real life experience. The participating students represent four different school districts in the area. 

Rather than the traditional classroom setting, CICEO students meet Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at different locations around the area. The goal, said Brown, is to meet in a different community each quarter “so I can highlight and represent the community in which we are representing.” 

The students meet with business owners and managers for first-hand experience in the work place.  

One component of the program has been a focus on life skills.  

“We’ve done dinner etiquette training; we’ve done public speaking and talked about non-verbal (ques). We’ve talked about the written word and learned how to write thank you notes, emails and text messages,” said Brown. 

“One of our goals is to help these students navigate through what they want to do with the rest of their lives and at 17 and 18, that’s a big, big, tall order.” 

Brown continued, “We want them to walk away this year with life skills; with a knowledge of their community and its economic and employment opportunities, but also a little bit closer to what they want to do; where their gifts are; what they enjoy doing.” 

“To see the growth from Day One to now has been remarkable,” she added. 

Currently the students are working on their own individual businesses and will host a trade show on May 5.  

Enrollment for next year’s program is currently underway. Interested students can go the program’s website at 

In other business, the board approved the employment of the following people: Megan Creager, CES aide; Melissa Koeppel, CHS administrative assistant; Kyle Patterson, volunteer assistant CHS track coach.