By Cindy Zomar, Education Coordinator
Marlborough – For two weeks, Business Professionals of America (BPA) student members across the Commonwealth engaged in a competition, albeit virtually due to COVID-19, to determine who would qualify to move on the prestigious National Leadership Conference.
Emerging from that contest, the seven-member contingent from Marlborough High School (MHS) racked up eleven individual event awards. Five of those students will now compete in that national conference.
Students score big at BPD contest
Business Professionals of America is considered one of the foremost organizations for career and technical students with an interest in accounting, business management, finance, information technology and office administration, among other fields.
It organizes a variety of contests including the one Marlborough students just participated in.
Those students now advancing, this month, are Brooke Bishop, Samantha Nie, Meg Carrol, Josh Irons and Rachel DiDonato.
In the “Fundamental Accounting” competition, Bishop earned first place honors while Nie and Carroll earned second and third place, respectively.
Nie also earned second place honors in “Payroll Accounting,” while Irons took third and Carroll placed fourth.
Bishop earned another first-place finish in “Banking and Finance,” while DiDonato took home first place in “Ethics and Professionalism.”
In “Interview Skills,” Nie earned third place.
In “Community Service,” DiDonato and Irons achieved the top two slots, respectively after DiDonato organized a drive for Valentine’s cards for New Horizons Assisted Living in Marlborough and after Irons conducted a food drive for the Marlborough Community Cupboard.
BPA program pushes and adapts amid COVID-19
The BPA group from Marlborough generally has 25-30 students participating in this competition. Though numbers were down because of the pandemic, and though some other schools sat out entirely during remote learning, group advisor Jayne Haley said she didn’t necessarily want to cancel the program for the year.
“The students’ willingness to work after school with me to go over all the subject matter and practice tests is why I went ahead with the State Leadership Conference,” Haley told the Community Advocate in a recent interview. “This is such a good competition for the development of personal growth and empowerment of leadership skills. I am so proud of how hard the students worked at applying their skills outside of the classroom.”
Star BPA senior sets sights on future
A senior, Brooke Bishop entered this year’s event glad the program went forward and with a specific goal in mind – to win the gold medal in Fundamental Accounting.
“Getting second place last year was awesome because I knew nothing about accounting before I took the class, and still ended up with a silver,” she told the Community Advocate. “It was a big thing to me to get the first place finish this year.”
Her mission accomplished, Bishop is leaning towards committing to Worcester State University where she would like to major in Elementary Education.
She’s now reflecting on years spent in the MHS BPA program that now may well end on a high night.
“A lot of my close friends didn’t do BPA,” she said. “So, it was something I did by myself. I had Ms. Haley as a teacher, and it let me get closer with her. She was very helpful to me with my studying and going over my notes.”
She elaborated, saying “I enjoyed BPA, and the things I learned will be with me no matter what career I choose.”