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Becoming Positively Entrepreneurial… As a High School Student

By: Alan Clara-Moguel, Decatur High School Senior, Founder of Conversate Me!

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My name is Alan Clara-Moguel, and I am a participant of the Decatur Morgan CEO program. This is a program that seeks to prepare people, especially youth, to be responsible, enterprising individuals who become entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers at the end of the year.

Students are immersed in real life learning experiences with the opportunity to take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes.

This year we have 7 student entrepreneurs that are in the process of opening their own business soon. In the fall of 2021, we decided to create Decatur Together Tees, a business that helped us raise the seed money for our individual projects. We felt the need to unite our city due to the range of apparel between Decatur High, Austin High, and Decatur Heritage. How did we do that? By making t-shirts with historical, fun, and notable landmarks in Decatur. This was created locally, from design to vendor.

Source: Decatur Morgan CEO

We reached our goal and learned a lot, we also had tons of help from our mentors, the city, board members of the program, and of course our customers.

It was one of the best experiences of our lives. Seeing how the community cares about the future of the upcoming generations helped us understand the impact that can be produced to others. But like everything has a start, it also has its end.

Source: Decatur Morgan CEO

We wrapped up at the beginning of 2022 to move onto the next challenge and next level – starting our own companies.

There are a lot of important people in this program that bring their help and time to help us out. Our biggest win is to work hand by hand with our Facilitator, Maegan Schwindling. Mrs. Maegan gives us support, cheers us up, teaches us something new everyday and not only professionally but personally to become better citizens. I have the pleasure to learn from Jeff Parker, my mentor provided by the CEO Program. Mr. Parker has provided me with his unconditional support and uncountable help with my individual project and he was also very helpful during the Decatur Together Tees era.

From my point of view and my learning from this program I can say that this opportunity has helped me find my true passion, break my comfort zone, and grow professionally and as a human.

We all have a lot of potential and bring new services for our community. Each of us came up with an idea related to our skills and passions. The doors that are opened by this program are uncountable and hard to reach for a teen who does not have the network that CEO provides to the young teens.

Alan Clara-Moguel, Decatur High School Senior,

Decatur Morgan CEO Entrepreneur and Founder of Conversate Me!

Alan Clara Moguel is a senior at Decatur High School and one of the student entrepreneurs in Decatur Morgan CEO. During his senior year, and while working two jobs, Alan started his business, Conversate Me!, which focuses on bridging the cultural and language barrier between the English and Spanish speaking communities in Decatur by teaching conversational Spanish and providing translation services. Alan will be attending Berea College in the fall of 2022.

The CEO program was started in 2009 by the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship in Illinois and has grown to hundreds of high schools in several states. The Decatur Morgan County program was the first to be established in Alabama. Every junior or senior high school student in Morgan County is eligible to apply to the program. The students meet every day for 1.5 hours to plan their businesses, visit Morgan County businesses, and listen to dozens of business leaders who come to the class to speak on business and entrepreneurship related topics. They start two class businesses that raise funding for individual businesses they start in the spring semester. Learn more about Decatur Morgan CEO.

More Ways to Learn About Decatur Morgan CEO

In 2021, seven students, including Alan Clara-Moguel, became social entrepreneurs when they started a company that was focused on embracing diversity and uniting the community. 

Their company, Decatur Together Tees, designed a tshirt that showcased several Decatur landmarks. They sold their tshirt and promoted a Decatur Together day where everyone would wear the tshirt to promote unity within the community. This business was featured in a great story produced by WHNT News 19.

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