BPA Nationals breaks records

Ella Schulte , News Writer

Whether surfing some waves or the web, Xavier Saints make a splash.

On April 30, 22 students packed up their bags and boarded a plane in order to attend the BPA National Leadership Conference, an annual event held in different locations across America.

The four-day competition took place at the Anaheim Convention Center located near the Disneyland Resort.

Business teacher and BPA advisor Mr. Tim O’Brien took a selection of sophomores, juniors and seniors to Anaheim who qualified at a state conference held earlier in the year in Des Moines.

According to BPA’s online web page, the mission of Business Professionals of America is to contribute to the preparation of global professionals through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic and technological skills.

While a total of 15 Xavier students were recognized on stage, a variety of top ten awards as well as individual awards were given to participants.

“On Wednesday night we had an opening session and following it I met with the students and challenged them. I said, ‘You know, I’ve been doing this for a long time, and the one thing that no group has ever accomplished is that I’ve never had two first place winners,’” O’Brien said. “And I said, ‘Go for it. Why not you guys? Why can’t it be you?’”

The group took O’Brien’s challenge seriously. Sophomore Rylee Beardsworth and junior Kate Hessman made school history by being named national champions. Beardsworth placed first in Fundamental Word Processing and Hessman in Interview Skills.

“I was very surprised to be named a national champion. I did not know how to react and my hands were shaking,” Beardsworth said. “I was not expecting to even get called up on stage, so when I did I was already very happy, but when they called my name for first I was ecstatic.”

BPA students pose outside of the Anaheim Convention Center prior to the awards ceremony on May 4, 2019. Jen Jordebrek Photo.

In addition, sophomore Britt Bowersox and senior Evan Lemker were honored for possessing the two highest PowerPoint certification test scores.

Bowersox won wireless headphones, while Lemker received a laptop.

O’Brien was also recognized at a separate awards ceremony for his 25 years of service within the organization by receiving a lapel pin and plaque.

When asked how it felt to be recognized for his 25 years of involvement with BPA, O’Brien responded misty-eyed, saying, “Very special, yeah, very special.”

He then went on to say how receiving the award made him think about all of the kids over the years, what they are doing in life and how they are succeeding.

Regardless if students did or did not return on May 5 with a medal around their neck, school history was still made.