Senior Natalie Alden is one of the eight students who will be making the trip. In addition to qualifying in four competitions at the state level, Alden was selected to sing the National Anthem at the opening ceremony. Alden, who just wrapped up her role as Princess Fiona in the TKHS performances of "Shrek the Musical," auditioned for the honor of singing the National Anthem at the state convention and was selected as the top choice by the state director and officers.
TKHS has a history of strong showings at the regional, state and even national Business Professionals of America events and this year is no exception. Six seniors, one junior and one freshman will represent TK at the state convention and competitions this year March 9-12 in Grand Rapids.
Keith Hamming is the advisor for the group marking his 25th trip this year to the state convention. “There are a lot of different categories. It’s not just business or for kids wanting to go into business,” he said.
Alden qualified for state competition in four different categories. “For me, I know I want to go into business as a career so I figured BPA would be a good place to start building some skills I would need and prepare more for college,” said Alden.
She’s quick to point out that BPA is open to all students no matter what they want to do in the future. “BPA is more than just giving a speech, taking a computer test, or demonstrating your abilities in accounting. It's about networking, building relationships, gaining confidence and experiencing independence,” said Alden.
Audrey Guikema said she thinks the name “BPA” is a little misleading. “It’s a club where you get to show your professional capacities by taking various tests and doing things on the computer or presentations. You get to meet so many people and if you go to state, you get to spend a weekend at the state contest at the Amway Grand Hotel,” she said.
Guikema qualified for the state in Health Administration Procedures and Basic Office Systems. “I’m not sure what field I’m going into, but I know it’s going to be something medical. I just wanted to expand my knowledge and knew this was a good way to gain some more experience,” she said.
Senior Thea Zellmer also likes the idea of gaining experience she hopes will be useful in college. “I think BPA is a good way to hone in on skills you don’t necessarily get in class, and you can communicate with new people and just enjoy meeting new people.”
Andy Liu says he wanted to try something different and was looking at different clubs to join. “BPA sounded interesting and I like the networking and different skills you can build,” he said. He qualified for state in Computer Programming concepts, Python Programming and Java Programming.
Cameron Phillips will compete in fundamental word processing and fundamental accounting at the state contest and said she’s especially looking forward to meeting other students from around the state.
Although only a junior, Kaden Hamming is the most experienced of the competitors from TK. This is his third trip to the state contest, and he’s also been to the national convention a year ago in Texas. This year he is competing at the state level in Digital Media Production and Database Applications.
“I just like the friendships you make and different people you meet. It’s a lot of fun,” said Kaden.
All of the students are looking forward to their weekend at the Amway Grand Hotel and the chance to meet other students from across the state.
Parker Stewart and Emalyn Cartwright will also be joining the BPA students at the state contest. Cartwright will compete in fundamental word processing and Stewart in graphic design and digital media production.
Kaden offered some advice to others who will be experiencing their first state BPA competition this year. “Just enjoy the time you have there. Be in the moment and go with the flow. Do as much as you can all weekend.”
Guikema added, “Be exhausted by the end of the day.”