CALUMET - As soon as school begins in the fall, Calumet High School students participating in Business Professionals of America get right to work.
That work recently began to pay off, as CHS brought 43 students to the regional leadership conference Jan. 4 at Bay College in Escanaba, a competition that included more than 300 students and 11 schools. Of those 43, 30 placed in the top 10 in their various categories, and 21 qualified to move on to state competition.
"We typically do fairly well," BPA advisor Elsa Green said. "Half of our students qualified to go on to state."
To qualify for state competition, students must place in the top four of their category or a team must place in the top two. Events come in a wide range of categories, with everything from computer programming to accounting to advanced spreadsheet applications. The competition in those categories helps the students in various ways, according to Green.
"Kids are learning how to make a presentation just like if they worked in a company," Green said. "It also teaches them how to do public speaking, gain confidence and work together as a team."
BPA students work on their categories in after-school work sessions three to four days a week, which are actually led by the upperclassmen officers.
"They're there to teach the younger kids and encourage them, which is nice to see," Green said. "Even when we get to state, the upperclassmen are really encouraging to the underclassmen."
The state competition will take place March 21 through 24 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, and those advancing from there will head to nationals in Orlando, Fla.
"Typically we have at least one student that qualifies for nationals," Green said.
Business Professionals of America is a national youth organization that teaches students business and leadership skills with chapters across the United States. Students really enjoy being a part of BPA, Green said.
"We have a lot of students that start as freshmen and go right through their senior year," she said. "A lot of kids also join senior year and wish they had joined sooner."