Posted by Eric Jones on Jan 12, 2022
Our speaker today was Bruce Griffith and some of the Sycamore High School students currently enrolled in the KEC’s Senior Business Leadership Academy. The Academy is a program open to students of DeKalb, Genoa, Hiawatha and Sycamore who want to start preparing for their future careers while still in high school. Because of this forward looking vision, they often refer to it as the “Business of Life” class. The curriculum emphasizes participation and engagement, taking leadership roles, challenging the students’ comfort zones, time management, financial management, and learning to network.
During the year, students have the opportunity to hear from and interview the “fingerprint makers” of their community, to better understand how those individuals arrived at their current careers through the choices they made or the circumstances they encountered along the way. Many students go on to take internships or build lasting networking relationships with these same individuals or their contacts. While COVID-19 has altered their ability to be out in public in the ways that the students used to, with monthly visits to area businesses, they have found workarounds by bringing the community to them via monthly meetings at Faranda’s in DeKalb.
Through generous donations, the program was able to build a student boardroom at Sycamore High School. With its executive conference table and the inspirational quote “If you can dream it, and you believe it, you can achieve it” stenciled across the wall, students are given the opportunity to build and grow their network as they bring the community into the school to build those vital two-way connections. Many of the high school students present at Wednesday’s meeting shared that they look forward to returning to Sycamore in the future to start their own families and businesses, but would like to spend the next few years exploring what the country, or perhaps the world, has to offer.
The Senior Business Leadership Academy is a program sponsored by the Kishwaukee Education Consortium and currently has 21 enrolled members from Sycamore and about 60 members overall. The application process includes an application and essay, and they are now mentoring younger groups as well. The program is advertised through the KEC website and by word of mouth with a preference of selecting students who find value in the program.