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The Madison County Chamber of Commerce met Thursday at the Senior Center in Fredericktown.

Fredericktown High School Principal Shannon Henson and School Flex Coordinator Joe Garrity spoke about the School Flex Program.

“We are trying to prepare kids for life after high school,” Garrity said. "It's kids that already have their eyes set on some career pathway or something they are interested in and they are really excited about working."

“We wanted to make sure that you didn’t want to pass on a kid that has applied because you think 'that’s a high school kid I need a kid that’s gonna work 12-6'," Henson said. "We do have ways to make that situation work. We also have the opposite. We can have kids that can come to school in the afternoon. They have to be in school for two hours. That is the requirement."

The program involves students in eleventh and twelfth grades whose pursuit of timely graduation would benefit from enrollment. They must maintain 95 percent attendance, attend school at least 2 hours a day and work at least 15 hours per week.

“We’d like to get to the point where we are building relationships with community members and businesses so that we are aware and we can help the students to make choices of classes that help prepare them for that type of work," Garrity said. "We have kids working in automotive in house services, food services. We have a student at Black River."

“The best way for this program to grow is with a reciprocal relationship with you all and we hope that maybe you can help us to drive it and make it a more meaningful program for our kids," Henson said.

Following the high school speakers, Madison County Chamber President Tessa Rehkop discussed new memberships. Rehkop said their will be a spring membership blitz 11:30 a.m. to noon, March 15.

The purchase of static cling chamber window decals was approved. They will feature the courthouse with the current year on them. Once the order is received the board will distribute them to all the members.

Upcoming bicentennial events include Whitewater Specials March 16-18, Window Decorating Contest the entire month of April, June Concert Series and the July 4th Optimist Club Fireworks.

Plans for the bicentennial banners and coins are currently being designed and Rehkop said she plans to attend the next Fredericktown City Council meeting to request the city split the cost of the banners with the chamber. 

The chamber will hold a Perk Before Work event from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., April 24 at the Battle of Fredericktown Civil War Museum (156 S. Main St.) A sponsor is still needed.

The next regular meeting of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce will be at 11:30 a.m., April 5. The location has not been determined.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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