Forty-three students from Lincoln, Richmond and Centerville high schools brought home lifelong memories from Business Professionals of America’s national competition.

Seven of those Wayne County teens placed in the Top 10 in the nation in their categories, ranging from economic and health research to spreadsheet and database applications, word processing and desktop publishing.  

This year’s National Leadership Conference, with a “Seize the Opportunity” theme, took place May 10-14 in Chicago. The Midwest location reduced travel time and expenses for local students, compared to previous locations such as California and Texas. 

Lincoln students again lived up to their school’s longtime reputation of sending students to compete at the national level. That success encourages others to join the organization and add to the legacy. 

Chapters at Richmond and Centerville are also gaining momentum as they consistently send students to state and national conferences. 

Hagerstown’s chapter also has been rebuilding after pandemic interruptions. The Tigers sent five students to state this year, but no one qualified for nationals.

Denise Selm, who advises Richmond’s chapter, said BPA offers a wide range of opportunities for local youth.

“Not only does BPA give students the opportunity to develop their skills by preparing for competitive events in a variety of business careers, BPA encourages students to improve their leadership skills, serve their local community and nonprofit organizations, and network with students within their school, their community, their state and their nation,” Selm said. 

Business Professionals of America describes itself as the nation’s leading career and technical student organization for students pursuing careers in business management, information technology, finance, accounting, office administration, and other business-related career fields.

BPA has 45,000 members in more than 1,800 chapters across 25 states and Puerto Rico, plus a presence in China and Peru. The co-curricular organization supports business and information technology educators by offering co-curricular exercises based on national standards.

Lincoln students who went to nationals include Sophia Losekamp, Payden Robinson, Aleiyia Maraj, Alivia Anderson, Nevaeh Wharton, Chevelle Rose, Samantha Bell, Delilah Rains, Tahlia Rastbichler, Seth Ingalls, Bear Ervin, Madison Cameron, Rebecca Harmer, Owynn Osborne, Hannah Bogue, Gracie Gambill, Jamey Ramsey, Bailey Burgin, Elijah Berry, Joe Davis, Brody Puckett and Luke Cottrell. Most are pictured above, in no particular order. Supplied photo


Lincoln BPA qualified 22 students for nationals. During the conference, they were able to network with people from across the country, compete in their events and take in Chicago’s sights, said Garrett Singer, who advises Cambridge City’s chapter.  

Five Golden Eagles finished in the Top 10 of their respective events.

Brody Puckett won the national championship in the Microsoft Office Excel Expert Certiport competition. That finish qualifies him for the U.S. Microsoft Office Specialist Championships in Orlando, Florida. From there, he could qualify for the World Championships. Puckett received a Microsoft Surface laptop computer for his accomplishment. 

Puckett also came in third in BPA’s Advanced Spreadsheet Applications. 

Jamey Ramsey finished third in Intermediate Word Processing. 

Rebecca Harmer earned fourth in Fundamental Word Processing and Joe Davis took home sixth in Database Applications. 

Chevelle Rose was 10th in Advanced Desktop Publishing.

LHS’ additional national competitors were Sophia Losekamp, Payden Robinson, Aleiyia Maraj, Alivia Anderson, Nevaeh Wharton, Samantha Bell, Delilah Rains, Tahlia Rastbichler, Seth Ingalls, Bear Ervin, Madison Cameron, Owynn Osborne, Hannah Bogue, Gracie Gambill,  Bailey Burgin, Elijah Berry and Luke Cottrell.

Lincoln supporters proudly note its program is one of the top three performing chapters in Indiana. 

Despite its small enrollment, LHS outperformed much larger schools, such as Ben Davis and Zionsville, at this year’s state contest.   

LHS’ organization has a rich history. Golden Eagles have earned national and state titles throughout the years and several members have been state officers. 

Lincoln High School is one of the charter members of the organization. BPA started in Indiana in 1966 as Office Education Association. Lincoln had one of the first OEA chapters in the state.

Centerville Senior High School students competing include, from left, Nate Minton, Alex Goodwin, Reagan Wilmot, Aubrey Alexander, Tizeta Jarvis, Dakota Torbeck, Claire Kaucher, Savannah Davis, Zack Hugo and Logan Smith. Supplied photo


Centerville Senior High School took 10 students to BPA nationals this year. 

“After only three years as a chapter, this is an awesome accomplishment,” said Bonita Klein, adviser. “We are still growing and learning as a chapter and will continue to improve every year.”  Centerville’s chapter was recognized for its work in BPA Cares, including involvement in Special Olympics, community service, marketing and communications, safety and Membership Explosion categories. 

Alex Goodwin received the Ambassador Torch Award. Klein said that’s the highest level of Torch Award, acknowledging her involvement in BPA and extracurricular activities in nine categories (learning, service, cooperation, knowledge, friendship, love, hope and faith, and citizenship).  Although no Bulldogs placed in the Top 10 in their events, Klein is glad the students could experience the conference events, network with members from across the United States, explore Chicago, and develop professionalism and leadership skills. 

“BPA allows you to gain insight into the workforce, meet many diverse students, expand your network, and come out with a plethora of new experiences that you won’t get elsewhere,” said senior Tizeta Jarvis. 

Jarvis and Goodwin were joined by fellow competitors Nate Minton, Reagan Wilmot, Aubrey Alexander, Dakota Torbeck, Claire Kaucher, Savannah Davis, Zack Hugo and Logan Smith at nationals.

RHS students Jacob George, Miles Roberts, Lucy Couch, Avery VanDervort, Chloe Cheng, Ashlee Grieswell, Fred Mendenhall, Lauren Freeman, Owen Peters, Gabriella Demotte and Hannah Stearley. Supplied photo


Two Richmond students placed sixth in the nation in their categories. 

Jacob George finished sixth for economic research as an individual, and Hannah Stearley earned sixth for a health research presentation. 

Selm said many of RHS’ members earned Microsoft Office and IT Specialist industry standard certifications during the conference. 

Additional RHS results: 

  • Fred Mendenhall: Advanced Word Processing — 11th place and SQL Database Fundamentals — 22nd place
  • Miles Roberts: C# Programming — 37th place
  • Lauren Freeman: Advanced Desktop Publishing — 43rd place
  • Ashlee Grieswell: Medical Coding — 32nd place
  • Podcast Production Team was fourth in preliminaries — Chloe Cheng, Lucy Couch, Gabriella Demotte and Avery VanDervort
  • Presentation Management Team was eighth in preliminaries — Lauren Freeman and Hannah Stearley
  • Owen Peters earned his Ambassador Torch Award acknowledging involvement in BPA and extracurricular activities.  
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A version of this article appeared in the May 22 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.