Metro-East News

Belleville CEO program helps students learn the ins-and-outs of business


Belleville CEO is a year-long entrepreneurial program that the Belleville schools (Belleville East, Belleville West and Althoff Catholic) started four years ago. This program is an honors course designed to utilize partnerships that provide an overview of business development and processes.

The class meets for 1½ hours each school day from 7:30-9 a.m. in a variety of businesses. The class is completely supported financially by our CEO business investors.

The local business community partners with us to create project-based experiences for students by providing funding, expertise, meeting space, business tours and one-on-one mentoring. Students visit 70-80 area businesses, learn from guest speakers, participate in a class business, write business plans, and by the end of their senior year will start their own business.

Business concepts learned through the experiential CEO class are critical; the 21st century skills of problem solving, teamwork, self-motivation, responsibility, higher order thinking, communication and inquiry are at the heart of student development throughout the course.

CEO students feel more confident about themselves and are treated with a higher expectation that gives them the goal to excel. Overall, CEO helps students immerse themselves in real life learning experiences with the opportunity to take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes. Teamwork is a very substantial part of how we operate at CEO. Our group works as a team every day to meet our goals, which have varied over the months.

David Osthoff Neal Eilers Provided

Briana Pearce Neal Eilers Provided

One of our goals is to form a class business, and this year it is called “Belleville’s Got Talent.” This talent show, with people from the local area of all ages, will be a great opportunity for us to shine. In preparation for this, we do things such as seek out sponsors, rent a venue, advertise for contestants to audition, assemble decorations, and much more. We are only a few days away and we are all learning what it takes to run a business. It takes dedication, good communication, and much more, but above all, it takes teamwork.

Come enjoy a night of entertainment on Feb. 2 at the 4204 Banquet Center, located at 6435 W. Main St. in Belleville. “Belleville’s Got Talent” is a talent show with local performers that includes dinner, a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and a cash bar. To purchase tickets, visit

If you would like an opportunity to showcase and auction off your art pieces, contact Belleville CEO thanks you for your support!

David Osthoff attends Althoff Catholic High School and plans to attend a four-year university to possibly pursue a career in business or law. He is a participant in the Belleville CEO program.
Briana Pearce is a senior at Belleville West High School and plans to attend Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal. She is undecided in her major. She is a participant in the Belleville CEO program.