GRHS business students

The GRHS BPA team attended the 2017 National Leadership Conference, “Spread Your Wings,” in Orlando, Fla., May 10-14. Pictured, front row from left, are team members Reed Kottke, Heather Mostoller, Marit Tverberg and Kayli Salmela; back row is Griffin Mayo.

Five business students from Grand Rapids High School (GRHS) attended the Business Professionals of America (BPA) 2017 National Leadership Conference, “Spread Your Wings,” in Orlando, Fla., May 10-14. Grand Rapids High School chapter members Reed Kottke, Griffin Mayo, Heather Mostoller, Kayli Salmela and Marit Tverberg joined more than 6,000 other conference delegates from across the nation to participate in national-level business skills competitions, service learning projects, and national officer candidate campaigns and elections.

Business Professionals of America is a national organization for students in middle school through college, helping them prepare for careers in business, finance and management information systems. It is an experience which, according to GRHS club advisor Carol Sigfrinius, “contributes to each student’s personal and professional growth.”

“By participating at a national conference and competing along with other business students from around the country, this helps a student be better prepared for the workplace, for higher education, and for life,” said Sigfrinius.

On the Grand Rapids team, participants competed in a number of different contest categories, as well as served as voting delegates.

Salmela, a senior, competed in advanced word processing and also served as a Minnesota voting delegate. Seniors Mostoller and Tverberg competed in payroll accounting. Kottke, a junior, received the Ambassador Torch Award, a national award that promotes professionalism and leadership in both career development and personal growth in seven different categories. Mayo, a junior, competed in business law and ethics.

GRHS participants also competed in other concept contests including accounting math, management, marketing and human resource, administrative support, financial math and analysis, business meeting management and several others.

“BPA has been an incredible journey,” said Salmela, who was involved in the program throughout her high school years.

Salmela has attended three national conferences throughout her time on the Grand Rapids BPA team, and has served as chapter president twice as well as region president once.

“I've had all sorts of experiences over the years that have allowed me to grow as a leader and as a person,” said Salmela. “Through leadership opportunities and attending conferences, I've become more confident in myself and my abilities to help others succeed and I've learned how to be a professional.”

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