BPA explores California, learns about business skills

Katya Tarabrina, Staff Writer

Over a period of four days, nine Business Professionals of America students from Manhattan High School who placed top three at state in February, went to several seminars, competed in events, attended conferences, visited Disneyland and saw sights all over California while at their national competition. Two students from BPA finalized and got into top ten. Sophomore Brandy Sullivan placed 7 out of 43 in entrepreneurship and junior Will Bannister placed 9 out of 50 in extemporaneous speech.

“[It was] really well organized … they just made it their personal goal to like teach us how to be better, do very well in the future,” sophomore Rhys Phipps said.

Business teachers Debra Kidd and BPA club adviser Kristen Hopkins traveled along with the students to accompany them on this trip.

“I think they represented Manhattan High very well. Very professionally,” Hopkins said. “They worked really hard. It’s a lot more than what you just see at the competitions. Months of prep work, months of practice [and] months of doing fundraisers.”

For many of the students, it was their first time traveling to California.

“It’s really fun to go to somewhere else in the country and compete,” junior Hannah Higgins said.

Their trip started with an opening conference to welcome all the students, then for the next two days, everyone competed in their events and attended seminars. At the seminars, they learned different leadership styles and how to do well in a business-type job.

“I really liked the seminars that we went to,” Higgins said. “We learned a lot about business and how to make your own business and how to be smart as a young business professional.”

After the business seminars and competitions, they explored different places around California.

“We did kind of like a private tour of Hollywood in L.A.,” Phipps said.

They went to Disneyland, California Adventures and the Walk of Fame.

“It was a lot of fun,” Phipps said. “We did all the business stuff, which was very educational and then, of course, we all had a lot of fun going to Disney.”

After the trip was over, there was a closing ceremony where students received their prizes.

“[The conference is] really good to get exposure and … competitive studying, especially if you’re doing [a] presentation event,” Higgins said. “[It’s] good to have that experience.”