BEA BPA students find success at state competition
A program which started at the beginning of the current school year at Blue Earth Area High School is yielding some impressive results.
Business Professionals of America (BPA) is the leading career and technical student organization for high school students pursuing careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related career fields.
Two months ago, at the Region 3 contest, 16 of the 19 BEA students competing qualified for the state competition held March 7-9.
The results from the state are in, with BEA having two individuals and one team finishing in the top 10 in their categories. In fact, Luke Carr’s third place finish in payroll accounting has earned the junior a trip to the national competition in Anaheim, California, which is held in May.
The top five finishers in the individual categories qualify for the national contest.
Carr will compete with 5,500 other students from around the U.S. at the 53rd Annual National Leadership Conference.
Carr narrowly missed qualifying in another section. He came in eighth place out of 37 students competing in fundamental accounting.
Carr became interested in BPA while taking a college accounting class from Holly Christian, a business education teacher at BEA, who is in charge of the local BPA chapter.
It was an hour long test which Carr had to complete at the state competition. It was made up of 20 multiple-choice questions. He also had to fill out time cards and then figure out regular pay and overtime pay.
Next, he had to do payroll for each individual employee in the mock business. He was also tasked with calculating the withholding for social security, Medicare, federal income tax and health insurance.
Carr is the son of Paul and Karla Carr and has three siblings who all attend Blue Earth Area Schools.
He will travel to the national contest with his aunt Sally, who is his mother’s sister. Carr is responsible for all expenses related to being a participant in the competition in Anaheim.
Carr is quick to praise his BPA advisor, “Ms. Christian is at the center of our success, she got the program started and has been behind it all the way.”
Carson Anderson is the other BEA individual who had a top 10 finish at state. He almost had a chance to compete in the nationals when a couple of students who finished above him were unable to continue on to California.
Anderson, a senior, is the son of James and Ann Anderson and has three siblings.
He competed in the business law and ethics portion of the state contest.
Anderson says his test consisted of 20 true or false questions and 30 multiple choice problems.
In order to prepare for the day, Anderson was able to study past tests to gain knowledge of what topics might be covered. However, the business law and ethics category is a fairly recent addition to the competition so there were not many old tests available.
One can use books during the test but Anderson cautioned relying on books too much can slow you down and keep you from answering all of the questions.
“I wish we had this (BPA) when I was a sophomore,” Anderson says.
Anderson has plans to be a lawyer and has taken many classes at Blue Earth Area to help him achieve his goal.
He plans on attending the University of Minnesota to obtain his bachelor’s degree. The next step will be to take his Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
“This has been a lot of fun, Christian has done a real good job of teaching and preparing us,” Anderson comments. “You can tell she cares about the students.”
The other top 10 finish for BEA was by the parliamentary procedure team which garnered an eighth place finish at state.
Team members are Matt Krause, Eric Becker, Alyssa Ripley, Natalie Huse, Olivia Stewart, Jack Frundt and Serina Wirth.
“It was a great accomplishment for the parli pro team,” Christians explains. “They finished five places ahead of the team from Stewartville, who had beaten us at the Region 3 competition.”
While her students are quick to praise their mentor, Christian gives all the credit to the students.
“The whole bus ride up, they were asking questions, still studying and still preparing,” Christian says. “These kids worked real hard and I am pretty excited for how they finished.”