The week before Spring Break, eight students from Northeast Technology Center’s Pryor Campus attended the Business Professionals of America State Competition in Tulsa, and five of those students are advancing to the national competition.
“I’m going to Disney World! I felt like the quarterback who just won the Super bowl,” said Inola student Trent Gideon of hearing his name called as a first place winner. “I was extremely nervous on stage – we just wanted to take home that trophy.”
Business Professionals of America (BPA) is one of the Career and Technical Student Organizations available to students pursuing careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related career fields. With more than 45,000 members across the nation, BPA is a co-curricular organization that supports business and information technology educators by offering co-curricular exercises based on national standards.
Under the advisement of instructor April Blackwell, the eight students from NTC Pryor competed in numerous competition categories, each of which had its own unique requirements.
“They compete in so many different categories – advanced interview skills, office systems and procedures, graphic design promotion – as the instructor it’s a challenge to guide them in all that they’re doing,” Blackwell said. “So much depends on their dedication to the project, but that makes the victory even sweeter for them.”
Of the eight students who participated in the BPA State Competition, five students placed high enough to advance to the BPA National Competition. Those students moving on to nationals are: Kayla Johnson of Locust Grove, Kalyn Lane of Claremore, Trent Gideon of Inola, Gavin Wallace of Claremore, and Brock Beattie of Pryor.
Wallace was the most decorated of his classmates making it to the winner’s circle on two different occasions. He and his teammates placed first in Presentation Management, and he placed second in the Graphic Design Promotion.
“The most challenging part of the team event, was definitely the presentation and making sure all three of us meshed well together,” said Wallace. “Everyone had to practice their part and needed to feel confident in answering the judge’s questions. We practiced all night before the competition, so that we were on our game.”
Wallace and his four other winning classmates will travel to Orlando, Florida, on May 10-14 to compete in the BPA National Competition.
“Between now and May, we are going to be working on our presentation and making sure we are polished and professional,” Beattie said. “We hope to add some additional advanced multimedia features, which seemed to impress our state judges – some interview footage, special effects and additional props with our logo.”
As was true of the state competition, BPA Nationals will also offer participants plenty of opportunities for learning via workshops, networking and one-of-a-kind lecture sessions from industry experts. At the BPA State Competition, for example, students were able to meet the woman behind the voice of Siri. The BPA National Competition will offer many similar professional development opportunities for students, as well as plenty of fun activities to celebrate their accomplishment.
“I’m looking forward to sunny skies, my first airplane ride and spending a week in Florida with my fellow classmates and several thousand other teens before graduation,” Gideon said. “It’s an honor to represent NTC and Oklahoma, especially in this event at a national competition. This is a bright spot for Oklahoma students, like me, who have experienced so many budget cuts in the past few years.”