U.P. high schoolers attend BPA event

ESCANABA – High school students from across the Upper Peninsula were at Bay College Friday for the Business Professionals of America regional leadership conference.

The BPA is a national career and technical student organization with 54,000 members in 23 state associations. Students in the organization compete against other students using the business skills they learn in the classroom.

“It’s a competitive club and there’s somewhere around 50 different competitions and they range from accounting to spread sheets … graphic design and video (and) everything in between that has anything to do with business,” said Lee Rometti, regional adviser from West Iron County High School.

The BPA has 10 regions in Michigan, with each region having its own regional conference. Region 5 is comprised of the entire U.P.

Eleven schools from across the U.P. competed in the regional competition at Bay. While not all schools have classes in every business skill that can be tested at the conference, the competitions are designed to offer something for everyone.

“There’s desktop publishing, there’s marketing and entrepreneurship, and anything that you can think of,” Rometti said. “Not all schools have all those programs, but they have some of the programs that the kids compete in, so there’s something for every school.”

Students chose the two areas they wanted to compete in during November but were also given the opportunity to test their skills in special “walk-in” contests.

“We have also open competitions that anyone can take, and that will also qualify them for state” competition, said Cindy Zain, coordinator for facilities, activities and awards.

The state competition will be held in Grand Rapids March 21-24. Winners from that competition will advance to the national leadership conference, which will be held in Orlando, Fla., in May.

U.P. students have been well represented on the national level in the past, including the Stephenson High School Parliamentary Procedure team, which placed first at last year’s national conference in Chicago.