STEP was brought to a close on Friday, July 27th, with a luncheon featuring two entrepreneur guest speakers, Eddie Deen and Hiawatha Williams. Deen, founder of Eddie Deen & Company, began his barbecue empire in 1980; now, 38 years later, Deen has multiple restaurants and a very sought after catering company which has provided services for presidential and gubernatorial inaugurations, the Olympics and the Dallas Cowboys. Williams, founder of Williams Chicken, launched his first location in 1987; now, 31 years later, Williams maintains over 40 restaurants with over 500 employees throughout the state of Texas. While these two possess an obvious entrepreneurial spirit, they also possess a passion for community building and education; both have selflessly contributed to countless causes throughout communities and schools.
The STEP closing luncheon began with Deen giving a motivational talk before lunch was served, emphasizing the importance of a free thinking mind. Following the meal, Williams also gave an inspiring speech to the STEP cohort, stressing education and hard work as keys to success. In addition, President Dwight J. Fennell, along with other staff members, made remarks congratulating the students on their accomplishment of completing the program and gaining 15.5 credit hours before their freshman year began. Students were also given the chance to speak throughout the program, with many coming forward to give thanks for the opportunity STEP provided to get a head start on their college career.