BPA excels during remote regional competition

Katya Tarabrina, Blue M Editor-in-Chief

Despite a different format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Manhattan’s chapter of Business Professionals of America maintained their usual standard of excellence in qualifying several individuals for nationals during last week’s state competition. 

“It was different,” BPA advisor Kristen Hopkins said. “Typically we do go down to Wichita to compete face to face, but due to the COVID-19 restrictions we did do it virtual.” 

Instead of presenting to a panel of judges in person, students presented using a program called Webex that was monitored in order to make sure the students weren’t getting any outside help.

“It was a little awkward because we couldn’t see them face-to-face,” senior Sean Anderson said. 

During the competition, students could compete in three different categories of competitions: presentations, testing and open events. A lot of students studied for these events and brought notes that they could use during them. 

“It was basically just you talking to the judges, [which] didn’t really overlap with any of the other schools,” Anderson said.

Since everything was virtual, for multiple events students were able to work on their part of the competition weeks in advance. This really paid off for Anderson, as he earned his second state championship in the Entrepreneurship event.

“It was a big accomplishment,” Anderson said. “I worked on my presentation for about a month so it was very rewarding getting that feedback and I’m really looking forward to taking it to nationals and just seeing how I can do there.” 

Anderson also ended up with first in Management/Marketing/HR and eighth place in Business Meeting Management.

For many students, it was easier to present in front of the judges in an online format due to the fact that they didn’t have to see their faces. However it was also more difficult because they couldn’t see the reactions of the judges and in turn be able to know if they were doing well or not.

“Personally, I would have liked to see them in person because you’d be standing and have the PowerPoint behind you and more accurately see their facial expressions and sort of judge how they’re taking your information,” Anderson said.

Overall, the students were able to do the same events they would usually, despite the COVID-19 circumstances, and came out with new skills and experiences that they will use in their futures.

“I think it’s a good idea for people to check it out,” junior Carly Yi said. “It has a lot of events where you can learn how to do basic workplace skills that everyone will have to know regardless of what field you go into.”