WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington High School chapter of Business Professionals of America (BPA) had an even better than usual showing at this year's Spring Region BPA Leadership Conference -- 12 of the 14 students who competed Friday in Granite Falls will advance to the state competition in one or more categories.
"We're probably three (students) higher than average; the last couple years we've seen a larger number in BPA, and it's great for the students," said WHS BPA adviser Penny Troe.
In her 12-year tenure, at least one student has advanced to BPA national competition each year.
"We've had a great history," she added. "Students get to get out of Worthington; they get to travel."
This year, students will travel to Minneapolis on March 11-13 for the state competition and will have the chance to see a Timberwolves game, visit the Mall of America and ride the light rail.
Their travel is funded by a federal Carl Perkins Grant and students' work at the high school concession stand. Each member is required to work at the stand six times per year to gain money handling and management experience.
"They have to understand what it's like to have someone talking on a cell phone and have the nerve to tell them 'You can't do that,'" Troe explained. "It's a broad spectrum of skills they learn."
Junior Jeremy Clark said he feels prepared for his second state competition experience. He will compete with the small business management team and in extemporaneous speech.
"Extemp speaking is something that's kind of under pressure and you have 10 minutes to prepare a five minute speech," explained Clark, who earned first place in the category at the regional competition. "Speaking is something that kind of comes naturally to me and that I feel very comfortable with so I just seem to thrive in that kind of environment."
One of two WHS students advancing in graphic design promotion, junior Shane Pedersen placed first regionally with his flyer advertising next year's BPA National Leadership Conference.
"Ahead of time you create your own original piece ... when you're at the competition you present that, tell them how you made it," he explained. "I got into Photoshop about three years and I've just had a lot of fun playing with it."
Senior He Chen hopes to pursue a career in his category of interest. Chen placed first regionally in personal computer troubleshooting and servicing, and will also compete with the computer animation team.
"It's helpful for what I want to go into," he said of PC servicing. "I want to be a computer engineer. It also helped me to get A+ certification. ... It's a license to basically fix computers."
Those advancing to the national competition will battle out their business skills in May in Anaheim, Calif.
Also advancing to state competition in their respective categories are: Alana Ablog in the basic office systems and procedures category; Will Collin, small business management team; Brandon Heidebrink, small business management team; Cheniqua Johnson, prepared speech; Danny Khounthavong, computer animation team and graphic design promotion; Larry Leovan, digital media production; David Sorensen, computer animation team; Boualom Souvankham, personal computer troubleshooting and servicing and small business management team; Ricky Thonglyvong, personal computer troubleshooting and servicing and computer animation team. Also competing regionally were Diana Phrom and Anny Sompamitwong.