WDC students ready to showcase their skills at Business Professionals of America competition
The program offers business skills with a wide range of topics from finance to law, digital design, healthcare and computer programming. High school students compete at the regional, state and national levels based on event tests in the winter.
WADENA — On the road to state, Wadena-Deer Creek Business Professional of America students are prepared to test their skills in the second round of competition.
The program offers business skills with a wide range of topics from finance to law, digital design, healthcare and computer programming. High school students compete at the regional, state and national levels based on event tests in the winter. WDC’s student leaders include president Grace Gallant, vice president Hannah Plautz and treasurer Mikayla Varela.
At the regional contest in Park Rapids, students competed at scheduled times. For many of the students, this served as their first in-person competition with about half the team being new members and the second half with one year of experience. Students competed online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With students competing in 18 different events, all 25 students qualified for state. Around 12 students also placed as regional champions. Most of the events have the top five students advance to state.
“I really did enjoy at the end having those results for the kids, for them to see the efforts of their work that they put in over the last three, four months,” said Shayne Haustveit, BPA advisor and business and marketing teacher.
After technical glitches last year, BPA president and senior Grace Gallant is hoping for a smooth ride at state and nationals. She competes in the ICD-10 (medical coding) and advanced desktop publishing events. There are about 70 events students can choose from based on their interests and skills.
Gallant also has other business practice like senior portraits and designs for the school district and girls basketball team. She said the desktop publishing event has helped her skills “evolve” and expanded her interests to designing posters and logos.
“The Adobe Illustrator has really helped me learn graphic design. I do photography on the side so I’m really pretty fluent in Adobe now,” Gallant said. “They (BPA) have so many programs, and it’s just been really neat to learn that stuff because I can take it with me wherever I go.”
She plans to double major in psychology and communication, media and rhetoric with interest in the public relations field.
WDC has regained their large BPA program with students working hard for the results. Haustveit reviews the content alongside students during lunch or study hall hours, after school and on the weekends. Students in the same event practice together.
When Haustveit started his WDC career six years ago, he made the BPA program a priority. The program has similar career and leadership opportunities like FFA and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
“He has actively recruited kids and helped them understand the real-life applications the BPA program can have as they move on in life,” said Tyler Church, middle/high school principal, in an email to the Pioneer Journal. “To see the recovery and growth of BPA has been fun to watch.”
In previous years, retired teachers Sandy Bain and Nancy Peterson ran the program with 29 students qualifying for state in 2009, 17 in 2010 and seven in 2014. The business and keyboard courses also help interest students.
“I’ve spent this year and last year quite a bit of time just building up the program again from where it was. When I first started it was kind of a learning process for me, and I think we had five, six, seven kids … and gradually increased over the years,” Haustveit explained. “Now this year we had, I think, 27 kids with 25 competing and qualifying for state competition.”
Students usually participate in the events for several years, especially when they advance to the next competition rounds. Haustveit encourages students to join the fun program.
“My primary goal, and I tell the kids too, is just to help give them the positive experience that comes with competing and being with friends,” Haustveit said. “As well as my big selling point to them is, it’s a nice resume builder. You know they’re applying for scholarships and such that they have these opportunities to build on regional awards or state awards and national awards.”
The group also worked on community projects like a toy drive and an Instagram account to share their successes.
“I am also beyond proud of our students for seeing the value BPA brings and wanting to be a part of its success,” Church said.
The state competition is March 10-12 in Minneapolis, and the national competition is May 4-8 in Dallas, Texas.
If you’d like to learn more about BPA, visit their Facebook