Embrace Who You Are and Keep Your Faith & Hope


Take Action on Your Ambition

Alexander Schwartz

On Monday, the CEO class met with Alex Schwartz. Alex talked with the class about how he went from googling about his legs to being on a TV show. He told the students about how he was raised in a 9-5 family and that he wanted a change. He met with a fellow amputee YouTuber, Christina Stevens and from her connection he ended up going across the country to be in a TV show, Mercy Street.

After being in a TV show, Alex came home and joined a car club. Alex told the students about how he was passionate about modding cars and thought it would be really cool. The car club hired a videographer Darin Streibig, and with this connection he met another videographer.

He filmed a video about how even though he doesn’t have legs that he doesn’t let that restrict him, and submitted it to a prosthetic company called Ossur. He won the grand prize of traveling to Iceland. He told about testing new leg technologies and riding a snowmobile for the first time, and how amazing the experience was. He told the students to embrace who they are and keep their faith and hope. The biggest take-away Alex told the students was his life motto, "NO EXCUSES."

CEO appreciates you, Alex, for sharing your amazing story and morning with us.

written by Scott Schank


CEO Investor Appreciation Breakfast

Granite City CEO Board Chair Marc Voegele

On Wednesday, the CEO class met at Ravanelli's for Granite City CEO’s first Investor Appreciation breakfast. The event was a success and several students spoke about how CEO has had an impact on their lives. CEO alumni also spoke about where they are now and how CEO helped them get there, and how CEO changed them.

Our breakfast was sponsored by TheBANK of Edwardsville, Express Employment Professionals and icon Mechanical and Engineering LLC. On behalf of our CEO Board, the Class of 2018 and our facilitator, Karen Greenwald, thank you for providing this opportunity for our investors and our CEO students.

We thank all our Granite City CEO Investors for their support and committment to our young adults at Granite City High School. They are:

  • 1st MidAmerica Credit Union
  • Altered Grounds
  • America's Central Port
  • Amsted Rail
  • Cequel III
  • Cindy and Mike Gagich
  • Darin Chiropractic
  • Dr. Almeda Lahr-Well and Gail Mueller
  • Express Employment Professionals
  • GCS Credit Union
  • Glik's
  • icon Mechanical & Engineering LLC
  • Illinois Electric Works
  • Law Offices of Thomas E. Schooley
  • Mayco Industries
  • Nicol Financail Services
  • O'Brien Tire & Service Center, Inc.
  • Port Harbor Railroad Corp.
  • Roger Miller
  • Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation
  • SunCoke Energy
  • TheBANK of Edwardsville
  • The Nicol Foundation
  • U.S. Steel

In Every Life There Are Defining Moments

Dr. Almeda Lahr-Well and Gail Mueller

On Thursday, the CEO class met at Nicol with Dr. Almeda Lahr-Well and Gail Mueller. Dr. Almeda and Gail told the class about about their life stories so far and about the company they work for Mannatech. 

The two of them have traveled the world together and know the romantic languages; French, Spanish, etc. They also play instruments, and Gail has a masters in music and used to be a music teacher. She is a vocalist and can play the piano and organ. Dr. Almeda is the owner of the Lahr-Well Academy in Glenn Carbon.

The two of them told the class about the 4 steps to success. 1.) Necessary Training. 2.) Initial Investment 3.) Continuing Income 4.) Avoiding Debt. They also shared information about their company Mannatech, a glyco sugar supplement supplier. Unlike other vitamins, Mannatech is all natural and contains no petroleum.

Thank you, Dr. Almeda and Gail for sharing your story and your morning with CEO. We appreciate you and thank you for investing in CEO. 

written by Scott Schank


Planning for our CEO Class Business Event

On Tuesday, the CEO class met at their host business, the Nicol Financial Services. The students planned on their upcoming event The Best of Granite City and elected committees. The students came together as a group and planned what their roles are going to be for the event.

On Friday, the CEO class had a class day with Mrs. Sturdivant. The students talked more about their upcoming event, The Best of Granite City. The class split into their committees and planned on what they are going to do at the event. Also the students managed to finally come to a consensus on pricing and sponsorship packages. The students accomplished a lot even without their facilitator there, and are showing that they are becoming more of a team and also more self-sufficient.

written by Scott Schank


Student Journal Highlights for this week

The past week in CEO was one I will never forget, so many memorable moments were encountered as well as memorable people. Monday, Alex Schwartz came to visit us. Alex is a double amputee, an actor, and he is into health. I am not sure if he realizes it, but he inspired me. Alex started out by telling us all about him and some of the things he has struggled with in life. The entire time he was speaking to us I never heard a single excuse. What Alex did say over and over is, seek opportunities, work hard, and make connections. He was funny also, maybe it is because he is closer to us in age but I couldn’t stop laughing, as well as be inspired. My favorite thing about Alex is his great deal of travel. Something I aspire to do is travel and that is something Alex does.

Tuesday we were in class discussing our class business, and so much work has to go into this. I wish people would apply themselves a little more. I also wish people realized the harder you work now the easier things will be in the long run. Other than a few people we are doing great. Ideas in the classroom are really sparking.

Wednesday we had our investor breakfast. I think it was a great outcome. It was at one of my favorite places to eat, Ravenelli's. I spoke a few times in front of everyone; the first time was a bit intimidating. As nervous as I and my peers were I am sure the investors were also. I mean they are the ones investing money into us! I really appreciate that there are people who believe in us and have so much trust in a young group of seniors. Sometimes a person believing in you is all you need to blossom and take off. That is why I love CEO so much. It is easy to stop believing in yourself and give up but it is hard when you have a team of people who put so much time and money into you and also offer help and advice.

Thursday my mentor Dr. Almeda Lahr-Well and Gail Mueller came to class. I also met with them last Sunday and sat with them at the mentor breakfast! They are some awesome ladies. Gail and Almeda were both teachers for many, many years and Gail taught in the Granite City School District. After they retired they did not stop there, so they have never really retired. Almeda has her own private school in Glenn Carbon. They talked about network marketing and multimarketing. I loved hearing about their business and marketing for Mannatech. I don’t have a great way to describe the business besides look it up, then contact my mentor Dr. Almeda Lahr-Well!

Autumn Reynolds

Autumn Reynolds
Sunday, November 19, 2017Learn More About Autumn

This week was very fun and we got a lot of work done. On Monday, we were pleased to have Alex Schwartz come to our class to speak about himself and the journey he has been through to be where he is today. Alex is a double amputee and he has been through some amazing journeys just in the past couple years by making connections and taking risks. I was so interested the entire time Alex was speaking to us and he is a very inspiring person. Alex does not let anything get in his way. He does not have any excuses, which inspires me to be a great person like him and not make up excuses. Alex does not usually speak in front of classes, but I think he did a very good job and I think he should do it more often.

On Tuesday, we were in class and we talked about our mission statement, coming up with committees, and we worked on our speeches that some of us had to do on Wednesday. Overall, we got a lot of work done.

On Wednesday, we had our investor breakfast at Ravanelli’s. It was very nice and fun. I liked how we were split up from our classmates and we networked with all the people there. I spoke in front of everyone on how CEO has changed me as a person. I was very nervous, but that is what CEO is about, bringing me out of my comfort zone. Everyone that spoke did a great job and I enjoyed it very much.

On Thursday, Dr. Almeda Lahr-Well and Gail Mueller came to our class and spoke to us about the financial part of starting a business and then they talked about what they do for a living and people they know that are very successful business owners. They told us very important things and I enjoyed having them as speakers. They told us about the vitamins they sell and Gail shared her personal story and it was very sad but the vitamins basically saved her life. Gail and Dr. Almeda are probably one of my favorite people I have met in CEO because they have a lot of experience and they are not afraid to tell you right from wrong, which is very helpful.

On Friday, we were in class and we got a lot of work done. We made our prices for our event and we came up with our packages that we will offer. We also got into our committees and continued plans for our event.

Ashlynn Merz

Ashlynn Merz
Sunday, November 19, 2017Learn More About Ashlynn

This was a good week. I gave a speech and met a pretty awesome guy with no legs. I had never met anybody without legs before and I think it’s awesome that he doesn’t let them not being there hold him back. He’s traveled the world and is a youtuber. Also we made some progress on The Best of Granite City event we’re going to have. I think it's good that we split into committees and all, but I’m going to be busy.

On Monday Alex Schwartz came to our class to talk to us. It was a really cool presentation, because I think he is the youngest person who has come to talk to us and he was a lot more relatable to, despite the fact that he’s missing legs. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have legs but it's amazing what he does even without them. He went to Iceland and got to meet with a huge company that makes running legs and even got to test them out. Also he mods cars and has a bunch of cool videographer friends. All in all Alex was a really cool visit we had, and I was glad he came to talk to us. He also followed me on Instagram so that’s neat.

On Tuesday, we had a class day and discussed more on The Best of Granite City with Mrs. Greenwald. We split into committees and planned ahead on speaking to the chief of police and superintendent to get them to be there. Also we talked about getting the mayor to go. I’m not a fan of not doing a whole lot on days, so this day was kinda boring in my opinion. I wish we had actually done more or had a speaker.

On Wednesday, we had a CEO investor appreciation breakfast and I gave a speech. It’s crazy to imagine myself giving a speech, considering before CEO I was an extremely quiet student. I would never talk or anything. But now because of CEO I gave a speech and enjoyed it. After I gave my speech I had a lot of people ask me if they could get a copy and congratulate me on my speech. It felt pretty nice. I never imagined myself enjoying being the center of attention but I ate that up. Also the eggs and sausage were good and I got coffee, so it was a good morning and the highlight of my week.

On Thursday, Dr. Almeda and Gail came to talk to us. They gave us a little bit of their life stories and told us about the company they worked for. I think it’s really cool how they have been such good friends for so long, I want to have a companionship like that in my life as well. They’ve been around the world and speak almost all the romantic languages and can play the piano and organ. They truly have appreciated the arts and i dream to do so one day as well. I really want to learn to speak French though, because I’ve barely dabbled with it and enjoyed it quite a bit. It really is a beautiful language and is also the language of love, so I feel a need to learn it. Dr. Almeda and Gail also told us about their company Mannatech, and what they do. They make supplements of glyco sugars that your body needs to function well, and unlike other supplements theirs are all natural, and contain no oil.

On Friday to close out the week we had another class day, and talked more about The Best of Granite City. I think we actually did a lot on this day though. We worked a little on committees some more and I revised the letter slightly to better suit the event this year. All though we argued a LOT, we actually managed to come up with some pricing that I wrote on the board. We all argued until I got up and wrote it down, and I think it's because when people actually saw the numbers and packages, they understood better and we was able to come to a consensus.

All in all, this was a really good week. I really enjoyed speaking and I’m happy that we actually made some progress towards The Best of GC.

Scott Schank

Scott Schank
Sunday, November 19, 2017Learn More About Scott


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The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the Granite City CEO program. To participate, a 3-year $1000 per year commitment is required. Business Partner Investors commitments of time and energy are also critical to the program's success. Contributions may be tax deductible, as our organization is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

When we are not touring local businesses, we need a place to host the class. During that time, the 0 CEO students and their Facilitator would meet at your site where they would also have guest speakers and guests from the community attend. Hosting requires a facility with internet access and adequately accommodates up to 5 people.

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