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Lyon and Murray County CEO students deliver report on inaugural class

MARSHALL — Being part of a new entrepreneurship program in Lyon and Murray County has meant getting up early every morning. But Marshall High School students said the things they’ve learned from being part of Lyon and Murray County CEO have been worth it.

“What I like about the class is we have a lot of guest speakers who come in and talk to us about what they do day to day, and we get to learn from them,” said MHS student Tate Condezo.

“You do learn a lot about business,” said Paige Duthoy. “But how I really enjoy it is the amount of life lessons they’ve learned, and motivation.”

This fall, an inaugural class of high school juniors and seniors from Lyon and Murray County began the CEO education program. CEO is short for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities.

MHS students Condezo, Duthoy and Braxton Seifert gave school board members an update on the CEO program on Monday.

“As many of you know, this program has been like two years in progress,” said Beth Ritter. (Director of teaching and learning at Marshall Public Schools.) “It’s super exciting this year to see it come into fruition.”

The CEO program was funded through investments from businesses in Lyon and Murray counties, said facilitator Shanda Walker. High school juniors and seniors who apply and are accepted to the program meet for class every day at 7:15 a.m. They tour area businesses and hear guest speakers.

A total of 18 students from MHS and Murray County Central have been introduced to a variety of business skills this year.

“One of the first weeks of class we learned proper handshakes. We learned how to address an envelope. We’ve had multiple speakers come and talk about business ledgers, and keeping track of your expenses, and what a budget is,” Walker said. “Some of those skills that are maybe taught in the classroom, but they do get the opportunity to use them in real time.”

In addition to learning entrepreneurship skills, CEO students meet with a business mentor, work together on a class business, and plan their own businesses. This year, students started their own apparel business, called “Minnesotafied.”

Seifert said the class created and sold a range of about eight to 10 different products with Minnesota-themed designs.

“Figuring out all those items, as a class we had to decide what products are going to sell the best in the region, and what products are we going to make the most money on,” Seifert said. “We turned an idea into about $20,000 in profit in about three to four months.”

Walker said CEO students will each start their own individual business this spring. This is with the help of seed money from the CEO board of directors. Students’ businesses will be spotlighted during a trade show event in May.

CEO students said they’ve learned a lot about topics like business finance and marketing from businesspeople and mentors.

“You learn best from the people that do it every day,” Seifert said.

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