Mower County CEO Program drive-in fundraiser to be held this weekend

Published 1:12 pm Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The CEO program in Austin has been an important part of bringing businesses and education together as it opens the door for students from Austin High School and Pacelli High School to mentor with business owners.

The process takes them all the way through to creating their own business through this connection; however, COVID-19 has once again played its hand and an event that acts as a fundraiser at about this time every year has unfortunately had to be cancelled.

However, that hasn’t stopped the students in the program from going forward and finding something to make up for that loss while at the same time still finding a way to learn about the business world.

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The Mower County CEO Program will be showing four movies this weekend during its drive-in fundraiser event Friday and Saturday at the Riverland Community College parking lot.

Movies to be featured this weekend are “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and “The Sandlot” on Friday and “The Greatest Showman” and “Hidden Figures” on Saturday. Showtimes for the first movie on both nights begin at 6:15 p.m. both nights and the second movies will begin at 8:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. respectively.

Movies will be shown on a large screen and sound will be connected to a local radio station for attendees to listen from their vehicles.

Pre-packaged snacks will be sold at the event and porta potties will be available. Jumper cables will be available in the event anyone has trouble with their vehicle.

Organizing the event was a challenge nobody saw coming, but CEO advisor Emily Hovland said that it turned out to be a perfect example of how the kids have rallied during a difficult time.

“There are 21 kids in the class,” Hovland said. “It’s easy to say ‘we can’t do this, we can’t do that,’ but then they start getting into the brainstorming and things start to flow.”

However, it wasn’t as easy as setting up a screen and ushering cars into the lot. For this, Hovland and the students involved had to worry about movie rights and whether or not they were violating those rights. They also had to worry about the COVID-19 restrictions handed down by the state.

But Hovland said the students began planning for the event early on in order to meet the challenge. At the same time, the students had a unique opportunity to learn an interesting aspect to business.

“When we look at what everybody is experiencing, the kids have continued to step up,” Hovland said. “It’s such a unique experience provided them with the CEO program. They could say, ‘I’m done with this stuff.’ But they know they want to be successful and to push for that success.”

“While they are trying to navigate all of this, so are the businesses right along with them,” Hovland added. “I think the kids in the program see you’re going to have to push and persevere.”

All proceeds from this event will allow Mower County CEO Program participants to invest in developing their own business. Skills gained through this program give young people the tools they need to become business leaders in their community.

Tickets for the event will be sold only through the day Thursday; however, any tickets that may be left over will be sold at the event. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

An online auction will be coming soon; watch Facebook for more details.

— Michael Stoll contributed to this story