STATE FALL LEADERHIP CONFERENCE – October 28-29 over 1,000 members of Business Professionals of America (BPA) and DECA attended at the State Fall Leadership Conference held at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. BPA members from Blaine and Champlin Park as well as DECA members from Coon Rapids High School attended this two-day conference. Students came together and participated in teambuilding and leadership activities. They also had the chance to listen to industry professionals as they gave insight into the business and marketing world as well as self-promotion and leadership.
The conference started off with keynote speaker Bryan Skavnak who is the founder of Be the Nice Kid and the happiest golf professional in Minnesota. He is the author of the #1 Best Selling book, Happy Golf Starts Here (which is way more about life lessons than golf lessons). Bryan is a storyteller. Through his blend of humorous, heartfelt, and thoughtful stories, kids start to realize how much they really can do. Because everyone has their thing. And if we start with kindness, compassion, generosity, courage, and positivity, not only will we grow, but we’ll help others grow as well.
Last year Anoka Hennepin students led the way by having three students elected to the BPA State Officer Team. Brooke Newman (attending UMD) and Salma Addow (attending NYU) from Blaine as well as Riley Sumner (UW-Madison) from Anoka came back from college to BPA lead the conference. They spent time at the conference networking with members, leading seminars, and catching up with their friends and advisors.
Once again Anoka Hennepin had students not only campaign for State BPA Officer positions but also State DECA Office. Ellen Leciejewski from Coon Rapids ran an excellent campaign for the DECA Executive Officer team and was a finalist. Tim Mafe and Mike Kombate from Blaine as well as John Zheng from Champlin Park campaigned and were elected as 2018-2019 State BPA Executive Team Officers. John Zheng – Vice President; Tim Mafe – Vice President of Outreach; Mike Kombate – Vice President of Communication.
Coon Rapids DECA received top honors during the Fall Leadership Conference. They were one of only three finalists for the DECA State Video Production Competition. Their advisor, Blake Bodenburg, also received the Outstanding Service Award for his tenure as President of Minnesota DECA. This is the second Outstanding Service Award Bodenburg has received from MN DECA throughout his time as the Coon Rapids Advisor.
Students in both programs will now begin preparation for competitions beginning in January. DECA students are working hard to reach the International Conference held in Orlando, Florida while BPA students are preparing to qualify and compete at the National Conference held in Anaheim, CA.
Blaine Business Internship Coordinator and BPA Advisor: Holly Boisjolie
Champlin Park Business Internship Coordinator and BPA Advisor: Kari Hable
Blaine HS BPA held their 25th community service project along with Pilgrim Cleaners collecting 730 gently used or new coats for The Coats for Children Program, which will provide these to local children. Congratulations Blaine High School for your continued dedication to Community Service! The Chapter Advisor is Holly Boisjolie.
Benson BPA member Olivia Hoffman organized "Socktober," a sock drive for the month of October. We collected over 100 pairs of socks. Donations were distributed to the daycare at our school, our elementary school and our local thrift store.
Kendra Razink, Chapter Advisor
BPA Social Media Week
Spread the word and make plans to join the National Officer Team for this year's BPA Social Media Week scheduled for November 12 - 16. Each day will involve a new social media activity to participate in. Tentative Activities for the week include:
Monday: Member Monday - Chapters spotlight their members, host a member recognition activity etc. and invite members to share what they love about BPA.
Tuesday: Tourist Tuesday - Members are invited to dress up as a tourist for the day and share their best tourist photos with us.
Wednesday: WSAP Wednesday - Chapters are encouraged to promote the WSAP across their school as well as host a chapter practice while members are invited to share their favorite events.
Thursday: Thankful Thursday - Members are encouraged to write letters to donors, host a staff appreciation activity, thank advisors, administrators and others.
Friday: Future Friday - Members are encouraged to dress for their future career and share how BPA has helped them prepare for their future.
Two years ago, I made the decision to run for a position on the national officer team. However, I remember second guessing myself many times on whether or not I wanted to run, or even should run. My advisor gave me some great advice. She asked me, “How do you feel about giving a speech in front of thousands of people?” and I knew right then and there I had to run. I love being on the stage in front of people, so when my advisor asked me how I felt, I knew in my heart that I needed to take full advantage of this situation and give it my all. I dove in head first into preparing my campaign and didn’t waste a moment studying for the Merit Scholar Exam.
The National Leadership Conference finally came, and I was more than ready. The minute campaigning was allowed, I was diligently handing out business cards and doing my best to get to know as many people as possible. I nailed my speech, had a ton of fun at the campaign rally, and thought I did pretty well at caucuses. But, as the 2017-2018 new officers were being announced at the end of Grand Awards, I faced a wall of disappointment and despair. I wasn’t elected. Had all my hard work amounted to nothing? Was any of this worth it? That’s when I realized it was. I realized that through the entire process, my parents and my friends had all been there supporting me every step of the way. Besides, I still had next year. I took home with me a new sense of determination and perseverance like I never had before. I was a burning flame of passion and I was ready to take on next year’s election. So, I did.
There were still nerves and worry going into the campaign process: what if I didn’t get elected this time around? Going home a failure again is almost worse than losing once. But, I buckled my seat belt and flung myself into doing the best that I could. I had passion inside me that was excited to finally be released. I had passion for our organization, passion for being elected to the team, and passion for not letting nerves get the best of me. Just like last time, the campaign procedure flew by quickly, and once again I found myself nervously sitting in the audience at Grand Awards anticipating the announcement of next year’s officer team. As the positions filled, I became more and more apprehensive. Suddenly, the moment I had been waiting on for two years had come true. The current Vice President read my name to take his position. In that moment, I knew that all my hard work and dedication had finally paid off. As I ran through the audience and stepped up on the platform, I knew that it had been worth the wait. The confetti cannons exploded and flung shiny streamers in the air. I had never felt so alive, content, or shocked as I was in that moment.
Business Professionals of America has done many, many great things in my life, but giving me the determination and perseverance to Dream Bigger and campaign twice has to be the best thing our organization has done for me. If someone were to ask me if I’d do it all over again, my answer would be yes. I learned so much during the campaign process, and I wouldn’t trade the knowledge I capture for anything. I am thrilled that I have made the team and hope to represent Minnesota proudly in the coming year. If you are considering running for office—any type—my advice to you is to go for it. What do you have to lose? What’s the worst that could happen? But most importantly what’s the best that can happen? It doesn’t matter how you start; it matters how you end. Get out there and achieve your dreams—even if it’s not being elected to a position. And don’t lie—there’s always something to strive for.
All three teams of the virtual Web Application Teams have advanced from Anoka High School! Two volunteers from Medtronic work with them from September to February developing their technical skills. It has been a great opportunity for the students to rub shoulders with employees that do what they want to do.
In addition to this, five additional students have qualified for the national BPA conference through the software development web application event that Medtronic helps with. It has been a great year with these kids, and we are hoping the new STEAM person will sign on to work with the Medtronic group in future years.
ABOUT MINNESOTA BPA:
Business Professionals of America is the leading Career and Technical Student Organization for high school students pursuing careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related career fields. The mission of Business Professionals of America is to contribute to the preparation of a world-class workforce through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic and technological skills. BPA enhances the preparation for college and careers by providing co-curricular programs that integrate into classroom instruction, apply learning, connect to business and promote competition.
The Minnesota Secondary Association is part of a larger organization comprised of over 34,000 members from 23 United States and Puerto Rico. For more information about Minnesota BPA, please visit www.mnbpa.org.
The Benson Chapter held a food shelf drive on March 19-23 to help their local food shelf. Throughout the week, we collected 305.8 pounds of food as well as $37. Photo at right shows the students with some of their collected items. Keep up the good work Benson!
Following FLC, on Monday afternoon at about 3:45, seven Hancock students were bussed home in a school van when they were struck by a semi near Danvers, Minnesota. The seven students and the driver were all injured. One student walked away from the accident and was able to call 911. The driver and three other students were released within the next week. They suffered multiple injured associated with being thrown from the van, but have been released to recover at home.
The accident was devastating to the small community of Hancock. The entire K-12 population has 350 students with only 82 in the high school. Our BPA chapter decided to throw together a quick fundraiser, and did a One Minute Change Challenge at our pep fest that was sending the boy’s basketball team off to sections. We expected only a few hundred dollars. After the pep fest, we had about eight ice cream pails of coins and guessed we had about $400 or $500. When the bank called me and told us that we had raised $2076.62, we were ecstatic. It was more than we could have possibly dreamed. The money will go directly to the families of the children. It is a proud day to be a Hancock Owl.
I am very proud of my BPA kids for throwing this together in such a short amount of time.
Three years ago, I was a shy sophomore who got so nervous presenting in front of a large audience, could not start conversations with people I’ve never met before, and did not have a plan for my future. But, my adviser took a chance on me and offered me a spot in the club that was only offered to juniors and seniors at my high school.
However, my involvement with Business Professionals of America has strengthened my confidence level, I am not afraid to start conversations with peers, and now have a clear pathway for my future. Furthermore, it has taught me life skills like never give up. For example, after my first year of competing in which I placed 2ndat Regions and 11that State, I was devastated because I didn’t get a lot of sleep those three days but also, I thought my product was incredible. I was at the point of not joining the following year because I was so upset, but I reviewed the judge’s comment on the business plan and crafted a stronger one the following year which rewarded me with 2ndplace at Regions and 5that State. Once again, I didn’t give up and used the two years under my belt to embark on my 3rdand final entrepreneurship event. Long story short through my determination and never giving up, this past year I placed 1stat Regions, became State Champion, and placed 4th at Nationals.
I am truly honored to have been awarded the prestigious Student of the Year for the Secondary Division for 2018. I can recall telling my chapter advisor about the news and watching her jaw drop and then proceed to hug me. This award is very special to me since it signifies that all those late nights working on presentations/business plan, studying for a test, or taking on different leadership roles helped further the advancement of this organization. I am proud to be a part of this elite organization and will cherish all of the memories and friends I have obtained especially this past year. I am sad that the end of my BPA journey is coming to an end but glad to be leaving a profound footprint within the organization at all four levels.