Source: Sherman Publications

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18 BPA students qualify for state competition

January 25, 2012

Front row (left to right): Garrison Sedam, Lauren Ubbing, Rachel Hunter, Erin Jones, Chelsea Mechan, Katelyn Kessler, Erica Marracco, Martin Mlinac and Janice McCoy. Back row (left to right): Everett Wilder, Jon Doslak, Colleen Walters, Ashley Horoszko, Jessica Brasington, Michael Harris, Harrison Moore, Rachel Saigh and Mackenzie Creasey. Photo provided.
"Total shock."

That's how Oxford High School teacher Maria Wolbert described her reaction to the fact that all 18 of the Business Professionals of America (BPA) students who participated in the regional competition qualified for the state competition.

"That is quite impressive," said Wolbert, who serves as one of the high school BPA chapter's advisers. "There were so many students competing against them in regionals. We have over 500 students in our region. It was an absolute shock that everybody (from OHS) was able to go to states."

BPA is the leading Career Technical Student Organization for students pursuing careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related fields. The group has more than 51,000 members in over 2,300 chapters in 23 states.

The following OHS students qualified for states in one or more categories at the Jan. 6 regional competition held at Baker College in Flint Katelyn Kessler, Erica Marracco, Everett Wilder, Jessica Brasington, Rachel Saigh, Martin Mlinac, Ashley Horoszko, Janice McCoy, Mackenzie Creasey, Harrison Moore, Erin Jones, Michael Harris, Jonathan Doslak, Chelsea Mechan, Rachel Hunter, Lauren Ubbing, Garrison Sedam and Colleen Walters.

"I am so extremely proud of each and every individual member," said Brasington, the OHS senior who serves as BPA chapter president. "They've worked extremely hard since the beginning of the school year. They have not stopped. All their hard work really paid off."

Students competed in categories such as interview skills, word processing, banking and finance, desktop publishing, web design, computerized accounting and speaking.

All 18 OHS students will compete at the BPA's state leadership conference in Grand Rapids from March 22-25. "We have some very highly qualified students, so we have high expectations," Wolbert said.

When asked how she thought her students would fare at the state conference, Wolbert was hesitant to speculate because of the stiff level of competition.

"That's really hard to say because everyone always ups their game after regionals," she said. "You never know what your true competition is."

Brasington was brimming with confidence about her chapter's chances for success. "I have no doubt that we are going to do just as well as we did in regionals," she said.

Both Wolbert and Brasington believe participation in the BPA organization is integral to helping students succeed later in life.

"It definitely helps people to cultivate their individual professional talents," Brasington said. "It also helps to bring forth academic, leadership and technological skills that (students) don't even know they have until they start to compete. More than that, it provides a sense of team unity and a sense of belonging."

"The students are really starting to understand what it's like to be a business professional," Wolbert noted. "They have to be very professional in their judged competitions. They have to shake the judges' hands, listen to critical comments, learn from them, then improve their projects. It's very real world. The projects they're doing are actually industry-standard."