Five high schools and career centers gathered at Willis Education Center in Delaware Friday to honor their Business Professionals of America (BPA) students who recently competed in regional competitions.
Students in BPA from the Delaware Area Career Center, Delaware Hayes High School, Knox County Career Center, Highland High School and Tri-Rivers Career Center received awards and well-wishes during the ceremony as some of them prepare to head to the state BPA competition next month.
Martin Huedepohl, a business teacher at Hayes and BPA advisor, said the BPA students at Hayes are in one of three yearlong business courses at Hayes. Last week, the students competed at the regional competition, in which they have to place first in most competitions in order to move onto the state competition, he added.
Huedepohl said 15 students from Hayes will head to the Columbus Convention Center on March 9 and 10 to participate in 10 different competitions. Huedepohl added he’s proud of all the students in the program, especially the ones who were recognized Friday.
“There was so much effort that went into this,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of everyone who participated today.”
Huedepohl said he’s looking forward to the state competition and hopes his students are able to win at the state level and advance to the national competition being held later this year in Anaheim, California.
“I’m extremely excited,” Huedepohl said. “I’m extremely excited to serve as an advisor for all who are going out to the state competition. I enjoy giving them an opportunity to participate in something they normally wouldn’t have a chance at doing. Creating a professional presentation and being judged by industry professionals in their events is huge for them.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Keyara Murphy, regional director for BPA, said she’s “so proud” of the students and wished them luck at the state competition.
“You do a great job,” Murphy said. “I look forward to seeing you at state. Get out there and get ready for your state competitions.”
DACC Digital Design Instructor Josh Gallagan said he’s also proud of his students and jokingly told them they have to succeed at state so he can go with them to California and eat at In-N-Out Burger.
One of the Hayes teams headed to the state competition is the Economic Research Team, which is made up of seniors Isaac Wheeler, Tyler Johnson and Devin Halliday, as well as junior Connor Dutton.
Team members said they are looking forward to the state competition, especially Wheeler, who was sick during the regional competition, where the team took first place.
“I’m looking forward to actually competing,” Wheeler joked. “I’m happy we’re moving up to states.”
The team said it was interesting to reconfigure the presentation at the last minute and now have to reconfigure it again to give Wheeler his section back.
“I like the team aspect,” Dutton said. “I enjoyed the competition. It put me out of my comfort zone.”
Dutton said the team will spend the next month working on its slide show and the timing of each member’s speech.
“It’s nerve-wracking but fun to do,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of time to prepare. I’m more excited about states than regionals.
Junior Eric Gitson, who is headed to states in the prepared speech competition, said he was “shocked and excited” when he got first place at the regional competition.
“I was surprised,” Gitson said. “I was hoping, but I really had no idea how it was going to go.”
Gitson said he knows many people who are afraid of public speaking, but he enjoys it.
“I’ve had a lot of experience with public speaking,” Gitson said. “I think it’s something a lot of people are afraid of. If you can build up confidence with it, it can be exciting. It’s challenging, but it’s also rewarding.”
Gitson said he’ll be practicing his speech and making edits before the competition next month.
“I’d be crazy not to be nervous,” he said. “I’m confident that I can do very well. I’m really glad we got this opportunity. I’m really excited.”