High school students enter the state BPA competition

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February 25—A total of 35 high school students from Odessa and Perm will attend the State Business Professional Association March 2-5 in Fort Worth.

OHS will have 16 students and PHS 19. You will join more than 3,400 conference delegates from across the state to participate in statewide business skills competitions, general sessions and the campaigns and elections for state officials.

They can also go sightseeing while they’re there.

Students at the Texas Association’s Regional Leadership Conference in San Angelo have qualified to attend the state-level conference, according to a press release. The conference emphasizes the education and training of business professionals received by members of the Permian local chapter of Business Professionals of America, the press release said.

Brittany Molinar, OHS careers and technical education teacher, said students were prepared with interview skills, presentations, business leadership, PowerPoint and more.

Alicia Dominguez and Michael Horton are also CTE teachers and consultants.

“We are really looking forward to the children. You’ve worked really hard. We started preparations in November, December. We competed in regional competitions in San Angelo on January 21st. ‘ Molinar said.

She added that she doesn’t know the secret, but the students worked really hard.

“They learned. They prepared before school and after school. They even came during their lunch,” Molinar said.

The competition was virtual last year due to COVID and OHS did not participate.

“I think they’ve just been eager this year,” said Molinar.

McKenzie Harris, a 16-year-old junior, is in her freshman year with BPA. She said she was excited and kind of nervous to say it, “but mostly excited.”

Brittany Galindo, a 17-year-old senior in her freshman year at BPA, said Molinar used to coach her in dance and coached her straight into organization.

“I was very proud of myself, but still shocked. I think it’s really cool to see that I made it with all my friends,” Galindo said.

She added that making it as a senior is very special.

Kenya Olvera, a 17-year-old junior, also in her first year with BPA, said she wants to go into the medical field.

“It’s exciting,” Olvera said, for the record.

She said she felt business professionals would help provide experience for the world outside of school — and she has.

Ann Kennedy, Director of CTE/Business Education Instructor, brings 19 students to Fort Worth. They usually take 40 or 50 but COVID has changed that.

“Last year they did everything remotely and so we ended up with only five students. This year we feel like we’ve come back quite a bit,” Kennedy said.

Although they travel to Fort Worth with fewer students than they typically have in the past, Kennedy said the organization always attracts “really good kids who are willing to go beyond what you do in the classroom. …”

To qualify, Kennedy said, there are 55 different competitions, from finance and accounting to payroll. There are also computer competitions in Microsoft Word, Excel, Advanced Excel, Java and many others.

From the San Angelo regional competition, the top two goes to the state in a judged event and the top four in a tested subject goes to the state.

State will be in Fort Worth and from there the top five in a tested event will go to the Nationals May 4-8 in Dallas and in a tested topic it’s the top two.

Along with the competitions, Kennedy said students will be able to attend sessions for information about the college and will likely go to the Fort Worth Zoo and Mall.

“… There are six counselors and we have to oversee the tests and grade the tests. We all have to do the same when we leave. A lot of times we have kids who are presenting, so we watch them do their presentations and practice and prepare for their individual competition,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy added that the skills students learn in BPA will be useful as they enter the workforce.

Kyler Fife, a 17-year-old senior at PHS, said he’s been in BPA for three years. He wasn’t there last year.

“I think it’s a very exciting experience and also a bit overwhelming because you want to be prepared. You want to perform great, but you’re also just grateful to be there and have the opportunity to compete with others who made it there too,” Fife said of the condition.

Fife competes in personal finance management so he’s going to do a financial test. He’s also on the economic research team, where they’ll be talking about inflation and the problems the federal government is having with it.

“I really enjoy the professional environment. You put on professional attire. You go and talk to judges and take a test. It’s almost like it provides a real-world experience of what life will be like after high school… It just gives you a new sense of professionalism that you might not get in high school,” Fife said.

Swetha Kesavan, a 17-year-old senior, joined BPA as a junior. Her sister was in BPA and her sister and Kesavan’s friends also wanted her to join because they thought it would be a good organization.

“BPA has helped me a lot with things I wouldn’t normally learn outside of school, like finance and accounting,” Kesavan said.

Kesavan will compete with Fife on the economic research team.

“Basically, what this event is about is that we had to give a speech and write a six-page paper about inflation due to COVID,” Kesavan said.

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