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Photos by Deb Gau
Students from Ortonville High School prepare for the parliamentary procedure team event at the regional Minnesota Business Professionals of America Conference in Marshall on Friday.

MARSHALL — Classes weren’t in session, but students were still arriving at Marshall High School dressed in suits and office attire on Friday morning. Once they got inside, many students opened up laptops at the cafeteria tables, or brought out notes for the presentations they planned to give.

It was all par for the course at the regional Minnesota Business Professionals of America conference. Students from eight southwest and west central Minnesota high schools, including Marshall High School and Tracy Area High School, competed in events that showcased their skills in areas ranging from business to communications and technology.

“BPA is all about giving students the opportunity to share what they’ve learned in the classroom and in their career interest areas,” said Brenda Kellen, the Region 8 BPA chairperson and head BPA advisor at MHS. “There’s a lot of leadership opportunities for students, too.”

Friday was MHS’s first time hosting the regional conference.

“I was really excited about it, because I knew we had such nice facilities for it,” Kellen said of hosting the conference. MHS had plenty of prep and competition space for students, she said. And because the Marshall district didn’t have school that day, she knew the space would be available.

At the regional conference, students could take part in a variety of individual and team events on a wide range of professional topics. A total of 170 students competed at the conference, Kellen said. MHS students ranked high in a variety of events. Kellen said a total of 43 MHS students won 100 awards on Friday.

The list of Friday’s events touched on everything from parliamentary procedure to job interview skills, finance, information technology and business law. MHS student Loghan Conway said he would be competing in an individual event on medical coding.

“I’m interested in the health care fields,” Conway said.

Mal Bingen said she was competing in the Ethics and Professionalism event.

“We have 10 minutes to prepare a speech about a hypothetical business situation,” she said. Bingen said it was her first year competing. “It’s exciting,” she said.

Some of the team events that MHS students competed in included video production and computer animation. Tom Hanson, a member of the video production team, said their assignment was to create a video raising awareness of an endangered species. The group picked the axolotl, a rare type of salamander from Mexico.

“We wanted to pick something cool,” group members said.

Another group of MHS students was competing in the computer animation event. They were provided a theme and tasked with creating animation telling a story around the theme.

“We had so many different ideas of what we wanted to do,” said group member Anna DeGroot.

She said it was hard to fit everything into two minutes of animation.

Loghan Conway said it took about a month to complete the animation the group would present.

“It’s nice that we can do this here in Marshall,” MHS student Josh Bauer said of hosting the regional conference.

One of the good things about the conference was getting to meet BPA students from other schools, he said.

For students who ranked high enough in their competitive events on Friday, the next stop will be competition at the Minnesota BPA state leadership conference in March.

Marshall High School students were among the BPA members who ranked high in team and individual events on Friday. Overall, 43 MHS students won a total of 100 awards at the conference. MHS students who came in first in their events included:

• Claire Allen – 1st in Advanced Accounting, Payroll Accounting

• Joshua Bauer – 1st in Computer Animation Team, Computer Security, Information Technology Concepts

• Brady Brandl – 1st in Fundamentals of Web Design

• Madelyn Brockberg – 1st in Computer Animation Team

• Loghan Conway – 1st in Computer Animation Team, Medical Terminology Concepts

• Daylin Crowley – 1st in Health Administration Procedures, Health Insurance and Medical Billing

• Tiffany Davis – 1st in Computer Programming Concepts, Python Programming

• Anna DeGroot – 1st in Computer Animation Team, Server Administration Using Microsoft

• Jaina Dekker – 1st in SQL Database Fundamentals

• Kennedy Drake – 1st in Basic Office Systems and Procedures, Intermediate Word Processing

• Jordan Duscher – 1st in Video Production Team

• Dalton Edens – 1st in Advanced Word Processing

• Tom Hanson – 1st in Digital Media Production, Management/Marketing/Human Resources Concepts, Video Production Team

• Say Paw Pa Htoo – 1st in Computer Network Technology

• Mary Lanoue – 1st in Advanced Interview Skills

• Jasmine Mortland – 1st in Medical Diagnostic Coding, Video Production Team,

• Edward Nubile – 1st in Computer Modeling

• Kaitlyn Runia – 1st in Digital Marketing Concepts

• Keaton Runia – 1st in Device Configuration and Troubleshooting, Video Production Team

• Evan Schotzko – 1st in Meeting and Event Planning Concepts

• Braxton Seifert – 1st in Personal Financial Management

• Cloie Stevens – 1st in Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management

• Augie Sturrock – 1st in Financial Math and Analysis Concepts, JAVA Programming

• Brennen Thooft – 1st in Fundamental Spreadsheet Applications



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