Business Professionals of America to compete in state competitions March 2-5


Courtesy of Ellery Smith

From left to right, seniors Jeevanasai Kunduru, Erin Paul, Mathew Biji, Giya Ginu, Sanjitha Venkata, Jiya Patel, Helen Moon, Aishwarya Aby and Neha Mathew all pose for a group photo.

Nineteen Business Professionals of America (BPA) club members will be competing in the state leadership conference on March 2-5 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. 

No one advanced to nationals last year, but we had maybe six to eight [students] that advanced to state,” BPA club sponsor Ellery Smith said. “Nineteen [students] is a huge increase for us – [it’s] the maximum [number] of students that we’ve ever had [to] qualify for state.” 

The Business Professionals of America (BPA) club competed in the Regional Leadership Conference on Jan. 14 at the Dubiski Career center in Grand Prairie. BPA features 72 competitive events spanning from fundamental accounting to extemporaneous speech, all of which students can compete in. BPA’s website design team and business management team are advancing to state, along with other students in individual or team competitions. State qualifiers who advance to nationals will then compete in the National Leadership Conference on April 26-30 in Anaheim, California. 

Of the 19, [I’m hoping] I can at least get three to four [students to advance to nationals], because the [student that did get to nationals last year] never went to [the competition],” Smith said. “The kid was a junior and chose to [take their] AP exams instead of going to California, so we never had anyone technically advance to nationals. I’m looking to break the streak this year.” 

Of the 19 students that qualified, one is a sophomore, four are juniors and 14 are seniors. BPA President senior Erin Paul qualified for state for the fourth time and is helping members prepare for their competitions. 

“BPA is kind [of] a small club, but over the years, we’ve definitely grown,” Paul said. “BPA has a wide array of events, so every person’s event [is] very different. There’s the Workplace Skills Assessment Program guidelines, which is basically the rulebook for events, [and] I go [over] how each event works with [each] person, [making] sure they have all the materials they need.”

The state leadership conference also has social events where students from different schools can get to know each other and win small prizes such as gift cards and student laptops.  

“The kids have their social hour from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. [and] I’m a firm believer that to be successful, you have to be able to be really good at networking [which the social hour gives a chance for students to do],” Smith said. “[There’s a] bunch of different activities. When kids compete throughout the three days they [are] there, they get ticket coupons, and on that [Saturday] night, they put it in a raffle and can win a bunch of different [prizes].” 

Paul said she is excited to be able to bond with her team and experience the competition since she has gained many life-long friends from BPA state competitions. 

“A lot of the BPA members right now are seniors, [but] we have some juniors, and I’m really hoping to get them engaged so that BPA can continue [after I graduate],” Paul said. “One year, Mr. Smith took us to TopGolf in the middle of the competition. [His] random trips [are something] I’m excited for — I think this year we are going to the [Dallas] Mavericks’ game. BPA is something I will probably never forget from high school, [and] I really encourage more [students] to join because we have a high volume of [members] leaving this year. It’s just a really good experience.”