Nearly 230 high school students demonstrated their business skills during the Region 6 High School Business Professionals of America competition on Minnesota State Community and Technical College’s Detroit Lakes campus on Jan. 27.
Participants competing to qualify for the state-level BPA competition represented high schools in Detroit Lakes, East Grand Forks, Henning, Menahga, New York Mills, Park Rapids, Pine River-Backus, Sebeka, Underwood, Wadena-Deer Creek and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
Students competed in more than 30 individual and team categories ranging from Fundamental and Advanced Accounting to Digital Media Production and Computer Security.
The categories focus on real-life business applications, said M State accounting instructor Michele Sumrall-Wilkens, who assisted high school BPA advisors and event coordinators Angie Kuehn of Park Rapids and Amy Knopf of Detroit Lakes.
The financial analyst teams, for example, reviewed data for startup business owners considering two different business locations. After preparing financial statements and computing financial ratios, each team developed a site recommendation and a presentation explaining its decision.
“The college was buzzing with high school students professionally dressed in business apparel, practicing their speeches and presentations in any corner of the campus they could find,” Sumrall-Wilkens said.
M State faculty, staff and business students provided event support and judging, along with business members from the community.
“We had several professional from the community take time out of their work schedules to help judge competitions,” Sumrall-Wilkens said. “This is a wonderful connection between high school students, the college and the community.”
The top five students and teams in each category advance to the state competition, set for March 10-12 in Minneapolis. This is the sixth year that the Detroit Lakes campus has hosted the regional BPA event for high school students.