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County seniors become CEOs for trade show

By Kayleigh Rahn
Tuscola Community High School senior Zach Pankau has been raising worms under his family’s kitchen table throughout the winter.

Yes, worms. Mealworms to be more precise.

However, what seems to be an odd science experiment is actually the beginning stages of his first business venture. Mealworm sales, along with 12 more of Douglas County’s newest businesses, are the capstone of the inaugural Douglas County CEO Program, and the 13 Douglas County seniors will launch their new ventures at a trade show 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 at Yoder’s Kitchen in Arthur.

“I went to buy a pet, and my mom wasn’t going to let me get a dog or anything like that,” Pankau said, “so I was going to buy a gecko. They eat mealworms, and people grow their own to feed their pets. The only complication I’ve ever had with it is that you have to keep them warm, so they live under the kitchen table. Mom is not too happy about that; Dad doesn’t care.”

He said he hopes to continue the business plan through the summer, though he believes moving forward it would become a seasonal project.

“I guess that means I’ve found a niche,” he said.

And that is part of the goal of Douglas County CEO, putting county students in position to sink or swim on their own terms. Douglas County CEO Facilitator Stepheny McMahon said following the show the students will have the option to continue their business or not.

“It is a little different in that the class project is starting a business, but they’ve had cost involved, they raised money, and they get to keep the money they’ve earned from their product sales, so in that way it is a little different that a pretend class project,” McMahon said.

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, April 18 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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