CEO students were excited to attend the Rotary Club of Granite City 28th Annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday. This opportunity was provided by Mr. Kevin Nicol and Nicol Financial Services and CEO students are forever grateful. Students listened to many presenters and the vocalist. They were inspired by the words of Judi Knapp, owner of The August Garden/Revival and keynote speaker Robert Steward, President and CEO of Integra Advanced Technology Services.

Reflection by Jade Heuer:

I picked up Joey in the brisk morning and we went to the Armenian Hall. The parking lot was already full with people. We walked in and the whole place was already packed. From front to back there were tables. Each table represented either a business, a club, a church, or simply people who just wanted to attend the breakfast. Right on the dot at 6:45 am, breakfast was served. We all got a nice sized looking plate and enjoyed connecting with Mrs. Gagich and Mr. Garland. Mrs. Greenwald was down with the flu and strep throat so she could not attend. After breakfast slowed down, we all were welcomed by the Rotary Club President Dr. Laura Shipley. We had to recite the pledge. A prayer was also given before we ate. Keith Burton welcomed us into the breakfast to get things going. Mr. Greenwald came up next to talk about the Rotary students of the month. After that, Sara Shepard came up and sang an inspirational song.

Judi Knapp came up to talk to us about her testimony. Judi owns the business “Revival”. In the past, her husband became ill with cancer and her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She has had a very tough road of addiction. She struggled with drugs and can now say she is clean and living in the path of Faith. Her husband did die, but soon she created her store. Judi explained how she is able to witness to people who come into her business. She is able to give God the glory of what has happened through her life. I think this is amazing! She had an amazing testimony and I was really inspired by it.

Next we did a responsive reading lead by Kevin Nicol. Sara sang one more song and then we went into the keynote speaker. Robert Steward spoke to us as the keynote speaker. His main point was that we need to B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap. We need to build. Build our community, build up lives, build up those around us. Next, reduce stereotypes. So many people create stereotypes on the smallest things, when there she be no stereotypes at all. Infusing. We need to continue infusing our lives with new people, new adventures, and new information. Diversity of thought. We have to keep an open mind because we have no idea of what the future looks like. Giving voice. This goes along with the diversity. We had to give the mic to those who would not usually get to have a voice. We must let others have opinions and be able to express them. Enabling communication. Everything that he spoke on tied together and was very inspiring. I am very thankful for being able to attend the breakfast and show my gratitude towards Mr. Nicol and all those who helped us to be there.

Reflection by Brooke Meyer:

Tuesday morning was a very important morning for all of us. Mr. Nicol invited us to the 28th annual mayor's breakfast. At first I was nervous because I have never been to a mayor's breakfast before but I was so grateful that Mr. Nicol paid our way. When I walked into the Armenian Hall, I was surprised to see so many people there. I was expecting a small room with the most of 50 people, kind of like a Rotary breakfast morning. It was much bigger than that. There were so many people that I knew and even a couple of customers that would come into Hallmark. Seeing this community come together brings me joy because a lot of people talk down on Granite City, but being apart of CEO proves everyone wrong. When I sat down at the table along with the other CEO students I felt important, like I was suppose to be there and that was a great feeling. We grabbed our breakfast and within minutes we heard the classic Rotary bell ring and the morning started. The morning started with a nice prayer, blessing all of us and it extended with some music. I have to say my favorite part of the whole morning was shaking all of the mayor’s hands and taking a picture with them.

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