3 Hayes students headed to BPA nationals


Three students from Hayes High School will travel to Chicago in May to compete in the Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference.

Seniors Brock Berlin and Eric Gitson, along with junior Sidney Smith, were three of more than a dozen students from Hayes who took part in the BPA State Leadership Conference over the weekend in Columbus. In order to qualify for the state competition, students need to take first place at their regional competitions, and students from all 18 of Ohio’s regions participated in the state competition.

Delaware Area Career Center satellite business management teacher and BPA advisor Martin Huedepohl said Wednesday that Berlin participated in a test related to his skill in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

“(Berlin) spent a lot of time practicing previous years’ tests,” Huedepohl said. “There was a large pool of contestants. It was very competitive.”

Berlin took third place at the state competition, qualifying him for the National Leadership Conference in May in Chicago.

Gitson said his competition was a test about Business Law and Ethics. Gitson competed at the state competition last year in the prepared speech category and said he wanted to try a test this year.

”I’ve checked out a lot of law books,” Gitson laughed, adding the law books came from libraries all over the state. He said the test covered “concepts from promissory estoppel to trademark and trade secret law.”

Gitson said he enjoyed the experience of being lined up with the top 10 finalists just before the awards were given out.

“It was already pretty thrilling,” Gitson said Wednesday. “We’re all comparing what law books we studied (and questions on the test)… Stepping up on stage, hearing my name called, and getting the 3-foot trophy, it was completely exhilarating.”

Gitson took second place in the competition and said he’s excited to visit Chicago again.

“I really love the city,” Gitson said. “I can’t wait to have more of that famous deep dish pizza. It’s going to be a really fun time… (But first I have to) call the library again to extend my time borrowing these books.”

Gitson said he’s thankful to the “teachers, staff, and administrators at Hayes who make BPA possible.”

At the state competition, Smith did a administrative support and research project, which involved constructing an essay about administrative support research professionals and their jobs along with the technology they use. Though the essay was completed beforehand, Smith had to do a presentation and answer questions from a BPA judge at the state competition.

“I was a little bit nervous, but as soon as I started talking and presenting I felt pretty confident,” she said.

Smith said she didn’t expect to do as well as she did and was surprised to be selected for first place in the state.

“Hearing I got first place was complete shock, but I was super excited about it,” Smith said.

Smith, who said she’s never been to Chicago, is looking forward to the national competition in May.

“I’m super excited for the opportunity and experience, and being able to compete and hear feedback from the judges,” Smith said.

Huedepohl said Hayes sent a “great group” to the state competition and said three students making it to nationals is the best Hayes has done in recent years.

“(They succeed because of) their passion, their interest … they work really well together,” Huedepohl said. “The energy from the participants was the highest we’ve seen in 10 years. I think that’s demonstrated in that we scored top 10 in eight of the nine events we participated in. It’s the strongest showing we’ve ever had.”

Ann Kanning, Delaware Area Career Center satellite business teacher at Hayes, said Wednesday the students worked “diligently” to prepare for the regional and state competitions.

“They showed up the morning of state competitions dressed for success with confident attitudes,” Kanning said. “I was so humbled by their dedication to the BPA program. Their desire for greatness placed each one of them into the top 10 in the entire state for each of their competitions.”

Kanning said she enjoyed seeing the students at Hayes earn recognition for their work.

“To see Rutherford B. Hayes showing up on the huge projection screens over and over, as our students walked up on that stage to represent themselves, and our school, was a euphoric experience,” Kanning said. “I believe that the audience were all sitting there wondering where in the world Rutherford B. Hayes High School was from and impressed with the professionalism of our students that walked up on that stage. Our students deserved every single ounce of recognition, and I couldn’t be more proud of them for how they represented themselves and their school.”

The trio at Hayes will join 35 students from the DACC at the BPA National Leadership Conference set to take place May 10-14 in Chicago.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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