Prairie provides unique opportunities to prepare students for the real world that other schools don’t offer. Business Professionals of America is one of them. At Prairie High School, sophomores through seniors taking business courses can join the Prairie BPA Chapter.
Business Professionals of America is a Career and Technical Student Organization that’s goal is to prepare students for our world-class workforce. With over 45,000 students from all over the country. Not only does it pertain to the business world, it focuses on service and character. Through Torch Awards and the programs philanthropy Special Olympics, it allows members to develop business skills and develop lifelong passions for helping others.
Something that students don’t realize is that BPA is not only strictly business related. There is something for everyone. When seeing all of the competitions there are some that relate to the medical field, IT field and even interview skills which can apply to anything. Whether you’re looking to find what you’re interested in or just looking to learn more about business and yourself, this is a perfect organization.
As for me, I started BPA my sophomore year because I wanted to be involved in multiple different clubs to meet new people and build up my resume and skills for my future. At first, I was skeptical about how I would fit into BPA.
I started talking with other members from previous years to get a taste of what I could do. Eventually, I found myself on a team with a senior and two juniors. We were working on Website Design based on the criteria given which was to create a DIY themed website. We had a lot of fun working on it and put together a great presentation. We went to state with confidence but not enough to think we were to qualify for Nationals yet we did. We placed 1st in the state and had a ticket to Orlando.
Nationals in Orlando was like nothing I had ever seen before. We were housed on the Disney grounds so that meant a lot of excitement. We had the chance to meet people from all over, as well as getting to try all the things that BPA had to offer tours or internships and workshops to further our learning. By the end of Nationals, I had walked away with a medal placing in the top 10 for Website Design Team.
Junior year I stepped out of my comfort zone. I had found myself looking to do something different so I found a different event and team. Although I had put a lot of work into that project, my main focus was my campaign for BPA State Office at our state conference. I was up against 8 other people for 6 spots. The process included a test over BPA knowledge, a speech in front of the Iowa Association and caucusing. I went through the process and was elected to office to change Iowa BPA for the better. The amount of opportunities that being elected brings with it, was worth all the work. I will be serving my term from June 2018 to May 2019.
After state in 2018, the qualifiers were headed to Dallas. We only had 15 people go so that meant a lot of bonding and by the end, our group was a small family. In Dallas, we got to experience typical” Texas. We all soaked up the heat while participating in line dancing, cattle, armadillo races, mechanical bulls and good food. Along with that, we toured the Dallas Cowboys stadium. In no way, shape or form am I a cowboys fan but, the facility was unlike any other. Again, we met plenty of new people. Especially me since I was stuck in an elevator with no one I knew.
I know that next year for Iowa BPA is going to be big and I can’t wait to see what happens until nationals in California with a new group of students. I encourage anyone to try BPA because it has so many different things and opportunities that no other organization at the high school offers.