WHS students earn regional honors, may compete at state BPA contest
“They’re totally new. They’re sophomores, they’ve never competed in BPA.”
WORTHINGTON — Two Worthington High School students qualified to compete at state in March by achieving high marks at the Minnesota Business Professionals of America Spring Leadership Conference in Marshall last week.
Reading resident Edgar Mendez Ochoa earned first place in the extemporaneous speech event, and Alondra Leon Flores, of Worthington, earned third place in prepared speech.
“They’re totally new. They’re sophomores, they’ve never competed in BPA,” said Penny Troe, business education teacher and BPA adviser at WHS, noting that during the COVID-19 pandemic no one joined the extracurricular, leaving the group’s ranks a bit thin.
Mendez Ochoa and Leon Flores both turned out to be public speaking powerhouses. Leon Flores also participates in speech, and Mendez Ochoa in e-sports, so both have experience with school activities.
“I was looking forward to the competitive side of it,” Leon Flores said. Her speech had to be between five and seven minutes, and she also had to submit a speech outline with a properly formatted list of works cited.
The topic of her speech was how to build successful habits, breaking bad habits and building up successful actions. She practiced her speech one or two times a week, she said.
“I think I just wanted to try something new,” Mendez Ochoa added.
If he did, he chose the right event. In the extemporaneous speech event, students draw two different business topics at random and must select one. Then they get 10 minutes to develop the topic, and exactly three note cards on which to place their notes. Then they speak in front of a judging panel for 2 to 4 minutes.
Mendez Ochoa was surprised when he learned he’d gotten first place.
“I wasn’t trying to win, but it just kind of happened,” he said, noting that his preparation had taken a different form — watching a TED talk about giving speeches.
He said he’d advise anyone looking for something to do to give BPA a try.
“It’s definitely worth trying out, because there’s so many categories,” Leon Flores agreed. “You’re bound to find something you’re interested in.”
“I would definitely suggest other people try it,” Mendez Ochoa added.