BPA students reach top 10 in nation


Senior Eli Redington and junior Ann Pomeroy competed at the national level competition and finished in the top 10 of their event.

Lucy Buller, Reporter

On Apr. 26, seven NHS students participated in a national-level Business Professionals of America (BPA) competition hosted virtually. After just shy of two weeks, the students gathered again in order to see their results and two students placed in the top 10 nationally of the entire event. 

BPA is a student organization in which students from across the nation, and most recently internationally, compete in a variety of events to further their knowledge in any given interest. There are speaking events, tests and other more creative events such as broadcasting and graphic design. Junior Ann Pomeroy and senior Eli Redington were the two national finalists from NHS and both ended up placing in the top 10. Redington reached the national competition finals with his extemporaneous speaking event. 

“I have never experienced a real national convention, so this was a whole new ballpark for me. The competition included me and a judge in a room, coincidentally for all of my events, the judge was the Executive Director of BPA which was a surprise for me,” Redington said. “The contest I was able to take to nationals was extemporaneous speaking. I placed first at regionals and also took first at state. You are given a topic and 10 minutes to think up a speech based on the topic and the speech needs to be between two and four minutes. At the local and state level, you get to choose from three options and at nationals, everyone answers the same prompt. I qualified for finals at nationals meaning I was in the top 12 competitors in the nation.”

Other NHS students that attended the national competition include senior Alfie Montano, junior Joel Franz, senior Anthony Wedel, freshman Anahi Sanchez and freshman Natalie Sanchez. To make it to nationals, students must either qualify from the state competition, which they can do by placing in the top three, be a state officer or qualify off of Ambassador Torch award points. Reaching the Ambassador Torch takes 70 points in seven categories such as leadership, friendship and service. One student, Pomeroy, received the Ambassador Torch award this year, however, in typical years upwards of 10 NHS students qualify for the award. Wedel went to nationals competing in the fundamental accounting event. 

“Fundamental accounting is a basic accounting test that has multiple parts to it. There are multiple choice questions, true or false questions and application questions where you apply the accounting concepts to answer the questions,” Wedel said. “Freshman year when I was competing, I would not have believed that I would qualify for nationals. I feel like I have since then set a standard for myself and I wanted to make sure I competed at nationals every year, which I did.”

According to BPA sponsor Jessica Crabtree, having regularly scheduled BPA meetings and still doing some activities has been an accomplishment in itself. In school years not affected by COVID-19, the BPA students do fun activities outside of school like volunteering at Botanica around the holidays. In a normal year, the students would leave for nationals on a Tuesday and get back on a Sunday. This year, since it was virtual, the events and workshops were spread out over almost two weeks. Crabtree adds that getting to nationals is an accomplishment in a normal school year, and is even more impressive this year. 

“Having seven students qualify for nationals and then just competing at that national level is a big accomplishment,” Crabtree said. “Ann Pomeroy and Eli Redington making it to finals with their events is hard face to face and adding a virtual aspect is even harder so that has been a huge accomplishment.”