Marshall BPA qualifies 20 for national competition

Photo courtesy of Brenda Kellen The five Marshall High School students competing in the Computer Animation Team competition at the Minnesota Business Professionals of America State Leadership conference recently were among 15 other Marshall BPA members to advance to nationals, which will be held in May in Dallas, Texas. Pictured (from right to left) are: first-place finishers Jett Skrien and Kyle Murphy, along with Izach Harris, Simon Zahrbock and Parker Terfehr, who took second place in the event.

MARSHALL — A record-high number of Marshall High School students received recognition, undoubtedly leaving a positive and inspirational mark at the 2018 Minnesota Business Professional of America (BPA) State Leadership Conference this past weekend in Minneapolis.

Of the 42 MHS students participating, 20 qualified for nationals — the most ever in school history. Jake Hess led the way, taking first place in both Fundamental Accounting and Small Business Management Team. Both Marshall Computer Animation teams also had a phenomenal showing, sweeping the category by taking first and second place and advancing all of the members to nationals. Daniel VanKeulen added a pair of national-qualifying events (Prepared Speech and Global Marketing Team) as well.

“This was by far the best results for a BPA chapter that I’ve coached since starting to be an adviser 24 years ago,” Brenda Kellen said. “Twenty students qualified to compete at nationals, though because of other obligations, only 12 of them will actually be attending the competition.”

Joining VanKeulen on the top-finishing Global Marketing Team were Ashtyn Eben and Ignacio Lario.

Rounding out the first-place Small Business Management Team with Hess are Jerad Nielsen, Bryce Paulsen and Ana Schwarz.

In the Computer Animation Team competition, Kyle Murphy and Jett Skrien took first place, while the team of Parker Terfehr, Izach Harris and Simon Zahrbock finished second. Darian Ross and Adrienne Simpson also excelled, picking up a first-place finish in the Economic Research Project Team competition.

Six other MHS individuals also performed well and qualified for nationals. They include: Tyler Persons with a first-place finish in Computer Security, Daniel Bauer, who took second-place in Database Applications, Katelyn Elton with a third-place result in JAVA Programming, Alex Gergen, who finished third in Computer Modeling, Dawson Kellen with a fourth-place finish in Network Administration Using Microsoft and Olivia Peterson, who earned fourth-place honors in Advanced Word Processing.

“In BPA, the top two teams, as well as the top three individuals from the judged events and the top five individuals from the written events, can all advance to nationals,” Brenda Kellen said.

The 52nd annual National Leadership Conference — the pinnacle of BPA competition — will be held during the month of May in Dallas, Texas. The MHS students will compete amongst approximately 5,500 top students from across the United States.

Kellen said that MHS also had numerous students “who made the stage in the top 10 who are not able to advance but did a great job.” Those individuals include: Cole Remme (computer Network Technology), Dakota Edens (Fundamental Spreadsheet), Louis Lozinski (C++ programming and JAVA), Allie Kock (Advanced Word Processing and Basic Office Concepts), Alexandra Bladholm (Medical Office) and Owen Holmberg (Computer Modeling).

Noah Dunn and Skrien were also among the top competitors in Digital Multi-media (team), as was the Presentation Management team of Alexandra and Jackson Bladholm and individuals Persons (IT Concepts) and Eben (Graphic Design).

Throughout the school year, approximately 1,800 Minnesota BPA student members take part in the organization’s competitive events — nearly 60 categories in all — in the focused areas of finance, business administration, management information systems, digital communication and design, as well as management, marketing and communication.

Kellen said Jan Timmerman and Marcia Ivers are a vital part of the BPA team.

“Jan and Marcia also help coach and advise the Marshall students and are a huge asset to the Marshall chapter as the bring their expertise to helping the students prepare for contest as well as many other teachers at Marshall High School,” Kellen said.

Kellen was recognized with an award at the 2018 State Conference.

“I have served as the chair of the state board for the last five years and was given a plaque and recognized during the awards ceremony as well,” she said. “It’s an honor to be part of this organization as it provides so many opportunities for future business professionals.”

While at the state competition, Kellen said she was thrilled to see Melissa Tholen, a former MHS BPA member, serving as an event judge.

“It’s so great to see former members be successful in their careers and give back to the organization that they loved while in high school,” Kellen said.

BPA is the leading Career and Technical Student Organization for high school students pursuing careers in business manage, office administration, information technology and other related career fields. The organization’s mission is to contribute to the preparation of a world-class workforce through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic and technological skills.