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BPA club continues building on its success

By Staff | Mar 15, 2020

The students and their mentor. Dylan Dopp, left, and Luke Carr, right, join their advisor Holly Christian, who sits in the middle.

Luke Carr will be making his second consecutive trip to compete at the National Leadership Conference of the Business Professionals of America (BPA). And this time he will have a fellow Blue Earth Area BPA member to go with him.

Carr and Dylan Dopp will represent the Blue Earth Area BPA in Washington D.C. when they compete with 5,500 other students at the 53rd Annual National Leadership Conference.

Last year, Carr finished fourth in payroll accounting at the national competition held in Anaheim, California.

This year Carr is competing in advanced accounting and Dopp is entered in the fundamental spreadsheet applications category.

Carr advanced to the national competition by virtue of his third place finish at the Minnesota State BPA Conference held in Minneapolis March 5-7. Dopp, a sophomore who is a first-year BPA member, took first place in his category.

There are three different ways to compete in BPA. A student can compete as an individual and be graded on tests taken at the contest. In this category, a person must have a top-five finish to advance in the competition.

Students can also enter in an individually judged event. Those choosing this form of competition will give presentations to judges and must have one of the top-three scores in their category to move on to Nationals.

The other way to compete is by being a member of a team. A first or second place finish is required to advance as a team.

“I am beyond proud,” BPA advisor Holly Christian says. “It is nice to see students getting recognized for the hard work they do academically.”

After last year’s fourth place finish at the national competition, Carr was determined to make a return trip to the National Conference.

“It feels good. It was my goal to have a top-three finish and I did,” the senior shares. “But it felt like it was tougher this year. Last year the topics were more specific. This year the topics came from a broader range of possibilities.”

Carr had a busy couple of days during the State BPA competition held in the Cities.

“I had to be at the BPA contest early on a Thursday and then head to Mankato so I could be at an FFA convention,” Carr explains. “Then it was back up to the BPA convention so I could be there for the award ceremonies on Saturday.”

Carr is the oldest of four children born to Paul and Karla. He has two brothers, Anthony and John, and a sister, Marie.

“Last year gave me the experience to be comfortable around people,” Carr notes. “But what I practiced for was not what they threw at me. I was expecting advanced high school problems but instead had a lot of college-based questions.”

Carr explains he was lucky because he has studied college level accounting through Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) and it helped him get through the tests.

“It is an open-book test,” Carr shares. “But the time factor becomes the issue. You do not have the luxury of being able to go to the book to figure everything out, because you will use too much time.”

For Dopp, a sophomore, it is his second year attending Blue Earth Area and his first as a member of BPA.

“Last year I was still adjusting to the area after moving here from Mankato,” Dopp says. “So I did not join BPA until this year.”

Dopp lives west of Delavan with his parents, Rick and Christine, and his younger sister, Devyn.

“I am enjoying the smaller school,” Dopp comments. “In the larger school you are just another face. Here, the teachers and other students know who you are.”

Dopp was pleasantly surprised by his first place finish in the fundamental spreadsheets applications category.

“I knew some kids from another school who were competing in the same field,” Dopp says. “And they were all getting done before me so I was thinking they had done well.”

Dopps explains his competition is timed but the most important part is to be correct with your answers.

“You are graded first by points for being correct,” Dopp states. “The time it takes you is used as a tie-breaker.”

Dopp says he was given a packet containing three jobs which needed to be completed. First, he had to enter data formulas, then he had to format the spreadsheet, and finally, he had to be able to graph the information from his work.

“I had 90 minutes to finish and there were other kids who were getting done way before me,” he explains. “But I finished in 69 minutes so I still had some time left.”

Both Carr and Dopp were emphatic in wanting to thank Christian for all the effort she puts into the BPA club.

“If it was not for her, my career path would be completely different,” Carr says. “I had planned on being an ag mechanic but am now planning on being an accountant.”

Dopp also had praise for the BPA advisor.

“She is a great teacher and an incredible mentor,” he adds.

And, while Carr and Dopp are for sure headed to the National BPA Conference, Christian says there is a chance for other BPA members to join them.

“These other kids are alternates, so if someone who placed ahead of them is unable to go to the competition in Washington D.C., then these kids would get the chance,” Christian explains.

And then on Thursday, March 12, it happened.

Christian informed the Register Gavin Haase was now eligible to head to Washington D.C. and compete in P.C. service and Troubleshooting.

“The overall performance by the students was wonderful,” Christian remarks. “I want to continue encouraging the kids to keep trying and striving to improve and make it to the national competition.”