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Deb Gau students from Ortonville High School prepare for the Parliamentary Process Team event at the Regional Minnesota Business Professionals Conference of America in Marshall on Friday.

MARSHALL – Classes were not in session, but students were still arriving Friday morning at Marshall High School in suits and office attire. Once they settled in, many students opened laptops on cafeteria tables, or brought notes for presentations they planned to give.

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

“BPA is all about giving students the opportunity to share what they have learned in the classroom and in their career interest areas,” said Brenda Kellen, Region 8 BPA Chairperson and Head BPA Advisor at MHS. “There are lots of leadership opportunities for students, too.”

On Friday, MHS was hosting a regional conference for the first time.

“I was really excited about it, because I knew we had such great facilities for it,” Kellen offered to host the convention. He said that MHS has a lot of space for the students to prepare and compete. And because there was no school in the Marshall district that day, she knew there would be space available.

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At the Regional Conference, students can participate in a variety of individual and team events on a wide range of professional topics. A total of 170 students attended the conference, Kellen said. The students of MHS achieved high position in various events. A total of 43 MHS students won 100 awards on Friday, Kellen said.

Friday’s list of programs includes everything from parliamentary procedure to job interview skills, finance, information technology and business law. MHS student Logan Conway said he would attend an in-person program on medical coding.

“I am interested in health care,” 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,” he said. Bingen said it was his first year. “it’s exciting,” he said.

Some of the team events in which MHS students participated included video production and computer animation. Tom Hanson, a member of the video production team, said that their job was to create a video to raise awareness about an endangered species. The group chose the axolotl, a rare type of salamander from Mexico.

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

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

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“We had a lot of different ideas about what we wanted to do,” said group member Anna DeGroot.

She said that it was difficult to fit everything into a two-minute animation.

Logan Conway stated that it took about a month for the group to complete the animation to be performed.

“It’s cool that we can do this here at Marshall,” MHS student Josh Bauer spoke on hosting the regional conference.

He said that one of the cool things about the conference is meeting BPA students from other schools.

For students who place high enough on their competitive programs 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 placed high in team and individual events on Friday. Overall, 43 MHS students won a total of 100 awards at the conference. Among the first MHS students to enter their programs are:

• Claire Allen – Advanced Accounting, First in Payroll Accounting

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

• Brady Brandl – First in the fundamentals of web design

• Madeline Brockberg – First in the Computer Animation Team

• Logan Conway – Computer Animation Team, First in Medical Terminology Concepts

• Daylin Crowley – First in health administration procedures, health insurance and medical billing

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• Tiffany Davis – computer programming concepts, first in Python programming

• Anna DeGroot – First in the computer animation team, server administration using Microsoft

• Jana Decker – First in SQL Database Fundamentals

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

• Jordan Dasher – First on the Video Production Team

• Dalton Edens – First in Advanced Word Processing

• Tom Hanson – Digital Media Production, Management/Marketing/HR Concepts, First in Video Production Team

• Say Paw Pa Htoo – First in computer network technology

• Marie Lenoue – 1st in Advanced Interviewing Skills

Jasmine Mortland – Medical Diagnostic Coding, First on the Video Production Team,

• Edward Nubile – First in computer modeling

• Kaitlyn Runia – First in Digital Marketing Concepts

• Keaton Runea – Device Configuration and Troubleshooting, First on Video Production Team

• Ivan Schotzko – a pioneer in meeting and event planning concepts

• Braxton Seifert – a pioneer in personal financial management

• Chloe Stevens – First in Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management

• Augie Sturrock – Financial Mathematics and Analysis Concepts, a first in Java programming

• Brennan Thooft – the first of the original spreadsheet applications

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