BPA has solid showing at state conference

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

It may have been a tight competition, but the students were still concerned about being professional.

“Everyone was really friendly [during the state tournament],” senior Dylan Higgins. “Everyone was there to, you know, win, but we’re business professionals, it says it in the name, we kind of have to be nice and interact. It was a pretty lively environment.”

Higgins, along with 13 other members of the Manhattan High Business Professionals of America, attended the state BPA conference in Wichita last week. As a whole, MHS performed well, placing second as a team.

“For us to place second when it’s based on the amount of points that you get based on the number entries was amazing because we did better than some schools that had 30 kids there,” senior Lily Colburn said, “and we had half as many, so it means that we were really prepared and our students are really great at preparing for their events and competitive in competition.”

To get to that point, students practiced their events and volunteered their time all semester long.

“We have to take a lot of practice tests,” senior Luann Jung said. “BPA has a system set up where you have to volunteer a certain amount of times and do certain things to help out with fundraisers and practice in order to go, and so it’s just a lot of practice.”

MHS had students place in many events across the board. Out of 13 events with Manhattan students, seven were won by MHS BPA. Though some students had placed before, there were some newcomers to the placing ranks.

“I’ve been grinding for the last three years,” Higgins said, “and I haven’t made it, but this year, you know, being called second place was a pretty good feeling.”

Higgins took second place in the individual event Advanced Interview Skills.

“You make a portfolio,” Higgins said, “and you have to interview, like normal interview stuff. You get judged on how you act, questions you answer correctly, portfolio, resume, stuff like that.”

Colburn was a member of the Financial Analyst Team, taking first with fellow seniors Andrew Bai, Luke Benfer and Zac Bergeron.

“There’s a long legacy of financial analysis teams at MHS and this is the fifth year in a row we’ve won state,” Colburn said. “It’s always nerve wracking to kind of have to live up to that and I was worried that we weren’t going to be able to do it. We should’ve practiced more, but it’s a big sigh of relief that we were able to do so well.”

To prepare for the National Leadership Conference in Dallas in early May, the BPA students will be refining their events, putting in even more practice time.

“Since I only qualified in one event,” Higgins said, “I will definitely be working on that a lot, getting my resume together, more packed down, portfolio a little bit better, getting ready for that.”