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Daviess County CEO program shapes students

ODON — The Daviess County Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities or CEO program held its annual dinner at WestGate Academy Monday night.

CEO is a nationwide program geared toward developing entrepreneurs in local communities. “An Evening with Young Entrepreneurs” featured a dinner, silent auction and entertainment.

The CEO course is designed to help high school juniors and seniors to learn about business development in their area.

Lily Durnil, a senior from Washington High School, had an interest in business and wanted to learn more.

“I had previously thought about opening up a business and I thought this would be a good way to get background knowledge,” Durnil said. “It is good exposure for us to network with the local businessmen and women.”

Sara Lewis, also senior for Washington High School, didn’t know about business but wanted to expand her knowledge and experiences.

“I haven’t had much experience with the business world and I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn more,” Lewis said.

Bill Turner serves as CEO for the program now in its fifth year in Daviess County.

Turner is set to retire so Joe Fitzgerald, Loogootee postmaster, handed him letters from previous students thanking him for being in their lives.

“Mr. Turner has taken young minds and turned them into confident, young professionals and entrepreneurs,” Fitzgerald said. “Thank you for being a huge part in so many lives.”

The dinner featured comfort foods catered by the Gasthof.

“In the times we live in, you learn early you need to network,” Darby McCarty, with Smithville Communications, said. “In this program, I believe you can learn a little bit about life and a little bit about business.”

After dinner mentalist Daniel Cullen provided entertainment.

All proceeds from the dinner go to help cover costs associated with the CEO program including business visits, transportation, scholarships and the annual student trade show that will be held in the spring. Students are currently creating business plans to market and sell their products or services during the trade show.

“This give me a good opportunity to learn to engage with people I’m unfamiliar with and create relationships,” Lewis said.

Students in the current CEO class include: Washington High School students Lauren Andis, Michael Deaves, Lily Durnil, Jacob Graber, Erin Kramer, Sara Lewis, Sonja Mattingly, Reid Memering, Luis Perez, Elizabeth Stallman and Alexis Williams; Washington Catholic students Erwins Anilus, Hannah Ashby, Blake Hunter and Clayton Underhill; Barr-Reeve students Molly Holsopple and Lance Swartzentruber and North Daviess students Evan Klingle and Trey Smith.

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