Forty-five students at Culver Community High School are getting ready for this year’s Business Professionals of America district competition, and according to BPA Advisor Gene Baker, this year’s membership is the highest he’s seen in the three years he’s spent as the school’s BPA advisor. With nine more kids signed up for the organization than last year, Baker said it’s the best turnout the school has seen in a number of years.
Baker explained BPA is a national organization that aims to equip students with the workplace skills they need to succeed through a variety of different events and competitions.
“It is a co-curricular organization; it’s national in scope, so there are chapters throughout the country, and basically what it is is a way for kids to compete and gain workplace skills. So it’s an organization that allows kids to kind of step out of the typical classroom activities and apply their skills in a variety of different events,” Baker explained.
Last year, two members made it to the national competitions: Justin Croy and Janele VanDePutte. With the increased enrollment this year, Baker said he’s hopeful that the school can increase their presenec at nationals.
BPA, according to Baker, gives students the chance to gain and display some skills they might not otherwise have the chance to familiarize themselves with in a typical classroom setting.
“The main hope would be that we are actually giving them some skills that they don’t necessarily get in a classroom, something like creating a business plan, where they’re going to gain skills that they can use out in the world when they graduate from high school. Another one that I think is very important is one that’s called interview skills, and really it’s just a matter of going through a mock interview and answering some of those questions that we all know are tough to answer when it comes to an interview. So they really gain a lot of life skills as well as workplace skills,” Baker explained.
This year’s enrollment boasts 26 returning members from last year, on top of 12 freshmen newcomers who enrolled in the organization as soon as possible. Baker said there are plenty of different events for students to choose from – from accounting and keyboarding to entrepreneurship or a variety of computer-related events.
“It could be as simple as typing, creating documents, those kind of things – but also as detailed as computer programming, computer networking. They also have a chance to compete on events such as entrepreneurship, where they actually come up with a business plan,” Baker said.
The BPA students are now gearing up for their first fundraisers of the year, including a bake sale at Mystic Hills Golf Course’s Holiday Bazaar. On Saturday, Nov. 9, the students will sell their baked goods at the bazaar from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, and from Nov. 4 through Nov. 24, the students will be selling jumbo jellybeans and Gold Canyon candles.
For more information, contact Culver Community High School at (574) 842-3391.