BPA students travel to New York City

Danielle Kent, daughter of Brett and Brenda Kent, participated in the National Leadership Conference of Business Professionals of America (BPA) in New York City May 9-13.

Danielle Kent, daughter of Brett and Brenda Kent, participated in the National Leadership Conference of Business Professionals of America (BPA) in New York City May 9-13.

She earned 18th place in the category of banking and finance.

Approximately 3,500 high school, 180 middle school and 800 college students from throughout the United States participated in the BPA's 41st National Leadership Conference. Activities included general sessions with keynote speakers, business meetings, leadership workshops, contests, election of national officers and tours of New York City sights.

A highlight of the conference was the presentation of awards to national contest winners.

Students and teachers also met with industry representatives from a variety of business areas at the conference Expo and Career Fair.


Danielle served as the Park Rapids Area BPA chapter president for the 2006-07 school year. To qualify for the national competition, she first had to place in the top four at the regional and state competitions. With a 4th place finish in both, she made the cut.

At each competition, contestants in the banking and finance category are given 60 minutes to take a test that includes multiple choice questions along with presenting real-world banking situations, which they must provide a response to. These situations can be as simple as writing out a check or as hard as calculating interest over a number of years.

Angie Kuehn, Park Rapids BPA advisor, said she was "really proud of Danielle for getting there" because preparing for these tests is difficult. "You don't know what will be on them."

Danielle was able to study from past tests, but she thinks her work experience at Citizens National Bank was a big help.

Danielle also mentioned her instructor's assistance, saying, "She's the best advisor ever."

With the competition taking place for a short time early on a Friday morning, Danielle, her mother, Brenda, and Angie had plenty of time to go sightseeing and learn about the cultural side New York has to offer.

Not a scary place

Angie said before you see it, "you have an impression of New York City being a scary place."


Danielle agreed, saying she "felt totally safe" but she "thought New York would have been cleaner."

Between a museum, Central Park, "The Lion King," bus tours, Times Square and a Yankees game, their time prior to the competition was easily spoken for.

Danielle said being in New York made her feel like she was "right in the middle of the action of everything."

After the competition, the trio checked out the remaining sights, such as the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park, the Empire State building, Ground Zero and China Town.

Being at Ground Zero was "really emotional," said Angie. She noted the visitor center there was lined with twisted metal, a fireman's suit and other memorabilia.

China Town was Danielle's favorite stop. While there, they learned the art of bartering and got a sniff of the fish markets, which Danielle said "smelled awful."

It was a "really great experience for all of us," said Angie, "getting that cultural education was really good."

Danielle said, overall, "BPA is definitely a rewarding experience, and New York City's culture is full of different people, and that's cool."


Four Menahga BPA students, senior Adam Meech and juniors Dan Towers, Rachael Bruer and Megan Cleveland, also earned the right to compete at nationals.

Adam competed in the category of Novell Network Administration, a computer program used by professional businesses. Competitors are given 60 minutes to complete a multiple-choice test on this program.

"Microsoft Network Administration," Dan said is what he competed in. He, too, had a multiple-choice test to take in 60 minutes for his competition.

Megan and Rachael competed in keyboarding productions.

Keyboarding productions included typing, formatting and proofreading "letters, memos, agendas and tables," said Megan.

Rachael said, they were judged on "speed and accuracy."

4 from Menahga compete

The students traveled to New York City with Menahga BPA advisor Kali Mitteness. While there, the students said they had the opportunity to see many things.


"There is so much to see," Megan said.

The students stayed at the Hilton, which was within walking distance from Times Square.

"So we walked to Times Square almost everyday," said Rachael. "It's really cool at night."

The students said they felt relatively safe in the Big Apple while they were sight-seeing.

At Ground Zero, the students saw a memorial in a nearby church, which had not been damaged.

"Ground Zero is closed off so you can't see the inside. There's fence and tarps on the inside and they are still clearing stuff out," said Rachael. "We saw the buildings across the street and the front of them were all black."

"It was really sad," added Cleveland.

The students said among famous sights they also went to the Museum of Natural History, Trump Towers, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, the Broadway musical "Rent" and the FAO Schwartz toy store.


"We got to play on the big piano," said Rachael, referring to the piano at FAO Schwartz, appearing in the 1988 film "Big."

Overall, Adam described the trip as "awesome."

Rachael added, "thank you to all the businesses who donated and our advisor."

What To Read Next
Get Local