A team of Delaware Area Career Center students recently returned victorious from the Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference after becoming national champions in the web application development competition.
The team of students spanned three programs at the DACC and consisted of Sarah Church, a Buckeye Valley senior studying digital design at the DACC; Jane Spelman, an Olentangy Berlin student studying digital design; Afton Turner, an Olentangy Berlin senior studying cybersecurity; and Lainey Wright, an Olentangy Berlin student studying app development.
Team members explained that for their project they had to create a web application, and they created an app called “ApiaryHives,” which functions as a social media/worksite hybrid where employees can communicate and make posts as well as file IT tickets and human resource forms.
“An apiary is a collection of bee boxes on a farm, and we wanted to have that idea of a hive mind and how companies and all their employees work together for the greater goal of the company,” Wright said.
Unlike many students heading to the BPA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, Wright said at the end of April, the DACC team presented to the judges virtually beforehand, and the only presentation they had to give was to fellow BPA students at a convention-style showcase event.
Turner said she enjoyed the competition more than last year’s one because it was more detail-oriented.
“It was way more technical (detail) heavy, whereas last year it was all about the presentation,” Turner said, adding she was pleased that her work on the app was noticed and recognized.
The team was brought onstage during the awards ceremony and informed it was in the Top 1o teams in the competition. The team also won “Best in Show” for its presentation at the showcase.
Wright and Spelman could not believe it when they were announced as the first-place team.
“All I remember is them calling the Delaware Area Career Center and looking around like, ‘Did we have other DACC students in this competition or is that us?’” Wright said with a laugh last week.
Spelman said she “didn’t know how to feel” after their name was called.
“It was such a blur,” she said. “I don’t know whose hand or arm I grabbed, but I clutched onto one of these guys. I was so scared.”
Turner said the awards were “nerve-wracking,” but Church said she wasn’t surprised by the recognition, even if it took a moment to register with her.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” Church said. “It took awhile to settle in. Once you get to the podium, they are already ushering you off.”
Turner said she was thrilled by the results.
“It was a pretty big competition,” she said. “It wasn’t just the 50 states, but Puerto Rico and China were there. … It’s crazy to think about. This is something we can put on our resume and carry into the future. It’s not just some tiny high school competition. It’s pretty huge.”
Wright said her favorite part was leaving the stage and being congratulated by her teachers.
“That was really fun,” Wright said. “Our teachers normally stand at the bottom and you run up and see your teachers and all these amazing people that have helped you along the way and that was the most relieving.”
Spelman said she felt validated after the event.
“After our all our hard work and everything we’d thrown into this … It was blood sweat and tears. It was all that we had thrown into this project,” Spelman said. “We very much gave it our all. We gave everything until we had nothing left to go. I think that shows how we won first place. We worked so hard to get where each of us are individually now and as a team where we are now. It was not a shock, but it was so gratifying to see how our work had paid off and how we were being rewarded and recognized for it.”
The team thanked DACC alum Shane Talbert for his mentorship during the project.
Church plans to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art to study illustration, while Spelman plans to attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, to major in emerging technology in business and design. Turner plans to attend Davenport University to study cyber defense, and Wright plans to attend Marist College to study media studies and production, as well as computer science.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.