Business Professionals of America Hillsdale Chapters
Attended National Leadership Conference
May 10-14, fourteen Hornets attended the 2017 Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference. The theme was “Spread Your Wings” and was held at the Disney Dolphin & Swan Resort. Thousands of students from across the country gathered to compete, showcase their business skills and develop their leadership acumen in Orlando, Florida. The National Leadership Conference is the culmination of the BPA year filled with hard work and dedication put into competitions, Torch Awards, leadership development, service and more!
The 2017 National Leadership Conference offered four exciting days of competitions, leadership development, workshops, service, fun tours and much more. Hornet students had the opportunity to participate in educational seminars and workshops, hear nationally prominent speakers, and participate in leadership programs.
Business Professionals of America is a dynamic youth organization which provides leadership and business opportunities for high school students to prepare them in their selection as they make decisions on their future careers. The skills that students learn through participating in a variety of business experiences are beneficial and will help prepare them for careers in the workforce.
One of the highlights of the weekend was when eighth grader, John Maier, was crowned national champion in Financial Literacy. Maier says he learned a lot of valuable skills and his interest in business greatly increased as a result of being involved in BPA. “It was a great experience for me. I am really grateful to Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Eggleston for doing so much to make the trip possible. I am also extremely grateful to the local business owners who donated for our cause and anyone who came to our fundraisers. This was really a community effort.” In fact, thirteen students finished in the top fifteen in the nation in their competitions. Maier placed 4th in Entrepreneurship Exploration and Hailey Granata ’21, placed 6th. The Introduction to Video Production Team of: Rylie Dietz ’22, Olivia Gendron ’22, MaryEllen Petersen ’22, and Kenzie Randolph placed 6th with their safety video. Grace Shreffler ’21 placed 7th in Keyboarding Production and Grace Vondra ’21 placed 8th in Graphic Design Promotion. Senior Alexis Higgins ’17, placed 9th in Digital Media Production, and the Web Site Design Team of Brylee Boyd ’21, Melanie Foust ’21, Shreffler, and Vondra placed 13th in the nation. Blake Schaffner ’21 placed 22nd in Financial Literacy and Jack Granata placed 24th in Spreadsheet Applications.
During the conference, there were 6,000 conference attendees representing 18 states and Puerto Rico. Michigan had 616 participants in attendance (471 students, 82 advisors, 3 alumni, and 60 chaperones/guests). There were 98 delegates from our Postsecondary Division, 481 from our Secondary Division, 3 from our Alumni Division, and 37 from our Middle Level Division making our delegation one of the largest at the conference. The students in Michigan kept our tradition alive by rising to the top of the pack by continuing to win the most awards than any other state during the 2017 Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference. Michigan also continued its tradition of sweeping at least one event. We continued this tradition by sweeping the 1 st, 2nd, and 3rd place slots in three competitions. Michigan’s Postsecondary Division put on a stellar performance in the competitions. During their awards session, Michigan dominated all the events. Our Postsecondary Division won 122 in the top 10, with 38 of those in the top 3. Of those 38, 22 were 1st place finishes. Michigan’s Secondary Division won 126 awards (the same number as 2016) in the top 10, 39 of which were in the top 3. Of the 39 in the top 3, 15 were 1st place finishes. In its second year of existence, Michigan’s Middle Level Division increased its number of award recipients and had its first 1st place winners. Our Middle Level Division won 17 awards in the top 10, 4 of which were in the top 3, with 2 of those being 1st place winners. The middle school BPA Club is coached by Laura Wilson and Mindy Eggleston and the high school BPA Club is coached by Jenny Duff and Mindy Eggleston.
Business Professionals of America's Torch Awards Program is designed to promote professionalism and leadership in both career development and personal growth. Students complete activities in the seven Torch categories--Leadership; Service; Cooperation; Knowledge; Friendship; Love, Hope, Faith; and Patriotism--then log their activities in an online Torch Résumé. The Ambassador Torch Award, given at the national level, requires 70 points in each Torch Category. An Ambassador is defined as "a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative of the organization." Three hornets were able to achieve this highest award. Seniors Alexis Higgins and Emma Shreffler, and eighth grader Brylee Boyd.
The Hornets and their chaperones also participated in the BPA Day of Service. The “Service Palooza” included writing letters to our troops (A Million Thanks), learning about youth safety with NOYS (National Organization for Youth Safety), folding pocket flags for service men and women, and completing many random Acts of Conservation.
Senior Emma Shreffler participated in the two-day Leadership Academy. She participated in interactive leadership team-building challenges, investigated leadership values including self-awareness, ethical congruence and commitment to completion. She had this to say about the academy, “I thought the Leadership Academy was incredibly beneficial. I learned so much in regards to career-specific leadership, but more importantly, leadership in life itself. I learned that the more you put into something, the more you'll get out of it. I also found the significance in not only being a leader, but a follower as well. In order grow, improve, and to be an effective leader, you have to be a follower at times. I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to attend the National Leadership Conference and the Leadership Academy. It was a great experience and I'm looking forward to applying these new leadership skills/ideas in everything I do.”
The twelve middle school students and their teachers, Laura Wilson and Mindy Eggleston, attended the middle level leadership training. They learned how to enhance personal leadership skills, pay attention, respond appropriately, model effective communication, encourage cooperation and collaboration. All designed to help them make things happen within BPA and in life so they could KICK IT IN and TAKE THE LEAD!
“It takes a lot of dedication to make it to nationals but it is definitely worth it,” stated senior Alexis Higgins. Higgins is a four-year member of BPA and currently serves as club president and manager of the Study Cup business. Throughout her career, she has been a two-time regional champion, a four-time state qualifier, and a two-time national qualifier. She placed in the top ten of the nation two years in a row.
Business Professionals of America is full of bright, young people wishing to enter a business professional career. This beneficial organization is helping our youth to have a brighter future.
The Hornets would especially like to thank their sponsors for helping to make it possible for these fourteen students to participate in the national leadership conference. Gold Sponsors: Martinrea, Dr. Colin Mayers, and Kiwanis Club of Hillsdale, Silver Sponsors: County National Bank, Moore Insurance Services, Nash Drugs, Tom & Connie Condon, Bronze Sponsors: Dr. Jon Herbener, Hillsdale Dental Associates, and Sara Lisznyai.