Business Professionals of America Competes at State


Leah Mock, Author

To compete at the State Leadership Conference, Business Professionals of America students traveled to the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The group of 16 students and two advisers left after their send out on Wed., Mar. 6 and returned Sat., Mar. 9, bringing home one qualifier and two alternates to the National Leadership Conference.

“I was absolutely intimidated by the competition,” junior Dakota Schmid said. “A lot of people looked really smart and professional, but it turned out that everyone was just a high schooler at heart.”

On Wednesday evening, senior Miranda Irvine, junior Jonathan Rouse, senior Kamryn Foster, and junior Garrett Austin attended the Torch Awards Ceremony. Each student invited received a certificate and a torch statesman pin. The recipients also qualified for Nationals in the BPA Merit Scholar Competition.

“Torch Awards is for recognizing students who go above and beyond,” Foster said. “We participate in activities to promote our chapter, and therefore promote professionalism. It’s about being involved in our community.”

On Thursday, students competed in their individual events. Junior Tiger Campbell competed in Computer Network Technology.

“There were many others competing against me, including the winners at Region,” junior Tiger Campbell said. “Some of them had made it to Nationals in their event before.”

On Friday, the team prelims were held. The Network Design Team advanced to finals. They competed in the final round on Saturday morning before leaving the hotel. They finished in ninth place out of 22 other teams.

“It was an amazing feeling finding out that my team, the Network Design Team, advanced to the Final Round,” Foster said. “I was extremely surprised, but I am so happy that we are now able to say that we were Finalists!”

Students also had the opportunity to participate in open contests during their downtime on Friday. These events were open to all competitors in attendance, but the results could not qualify a student for Nationals.

“I just sat at an empty spot and took two open tests,” sophomore Julie Nguyen said. “Since it was my first time competing in open events, I had no idea what I was actually doing, but it went smoothly.”

Some also attended the special event on Friday night. Students could choose to attend and collect raffle tickets for prizes.

“Huy and I had the results on our phones, and we were checking the winning numbers,” Campbell said. “We would have sprinted to the booth if we won. The last winning ticket was one number away from one of our tickets.”

The students came home to start their Spring Break. They watched the livestream of the awards ceremony to find out if they were moving on to Nationals.

“I felt at peace waiting for my results,” junior Tracy Tse said. “I had already done my best, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel nervous and excited at the same time.”

Junior Zachary Blaha and senior Adam Bienek-Parrish placed sixth in their events, System Administration Using Cisco and Computer Security. Sixth place puts them as alternates to Nationals. Blaha qualified for Nationals as a Cyber Security Virtual Event Finalist.

“I did better than I expected in my individual competition,” Blaha said. “I had gotten last at regionals and was bumped up only to get sixth at state.”

Senior Huy Nguyen was second place out of 33 competitors in Network Administration Using Microsoft. He is also a Cyber Security Virtual Event Finalist.

“While waiting for my results, I was taking a nap,” Huy said said. “My sister Julie called me and told me I was going to Nationals.”

Nguyen will be traveling to Anaheim, California on May 1 to compete at the National Leadership Conference. Those students who are alternates or who won an Ambassador Torch Award were also invited to Nationals.

“ I am still pretty shocked,” Huy said. “Mrs. Holliday gave me an online course so I can prepare. I am looking forward to making the most of my senior year.”