BPA gets down to business, sets sight on nationals


Illustration by Rhanda Halawah

Sofia Oyarzún and Sydney O'Hara

For the first time since 2019, seven students from Business Professionals of America (BPA) have qualified for Nationals in Dallas, Texas, and will spend the first week of May putting their business-minded talents up against students from across the country.

South’s chapter of BPA gives students the opportunity to compete in business-related events. These events vary, taking the form of tests, presentations, and projects that encompass many aspects of business, junior member Ashi Chikani said. Competing in BPA events give students the opportunity to navigate their own interests while learning about other topics, Chikani explained. 

“[There are different events at the competitions for] human resource events, banking, accounting, payroll, and so many [other] things,” Chikani said. “[BPA is] independently driven in the sense that you choose your events, and you have to prepare for them. But everybody in the club is there to help out regardless.”

BPA competitions happen in three stages, each stage more competitive than the last, Caitlin Korienek, BPA Co-Advisor and Business Teacher,  said. 

“There’s a potential of three competitions,” Korienek said. “[We] start [with] regional, and we compete against schools in the surrounding area, and then the top qualifiers for a region can make it to state. Then, if you qualify at state, you can make it to nationals.”

For these competitions, much preparation is necessary. For different areas of competition, different steps are taken. Chikani participates in the prepared speech event, a competition requiring students to write and perform a speech in front of judges. She explained that different events can involve different processes.

“For [a] prepared speech, each of the competitors pick a topic at the beginning of the school year, and you write a speech for that prompt, following their guidelines,” Chikani said. “With some [events] you just sit down and take a test, or you write a research paper about a topic where you could present on your own entrepreneurial idea.”

Although only seven students qualified for nationals, those who did not qualify can still compete in open tests at Nationals, junior member Andrew Vadakkumchery said.

“Open tests are tests that everyone can take as much as [they] want.” Vadakkumchery said. “They can be all sorts of areas of business, [including] human resources, marketing, and management.”

Working together on business events strengthened the bond of the team, Vadakkumchery explained. He appreciates the time he has had with others in the club.

“I decided to join BPA because I was very interested in  business,” Vadakkumchery said. “It has been very fun. [BPA can be] competitive, but we all hang out and have fun. It’s been quite the experience.”