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Annually every March, the Indiana Association of Business Professionals (BPA) of America holds its State Leadership Conference at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott. Hebron High School (HHS) sent 26 members with Chapter Advisor Laura King-Licht to participate in this leadership and professional development opportunity.
BPA is a career and technical student organization that focuses on business and information technology as well as fostering professional and leadership skills in students across the country. Through BPA, students are able to reach goals of self-improvement, leadership development, professionalism, community service, career development, public relations, student cooperation, safety, and health. There are also opportunities for community service and personal growth through the BPA Cares and the Torch Awards Programs.
HHS brought home plenty of success and prestige from the State Leadership Conference, with four students placing in the top 10 of their competitive event, two receiving recognition for their leadership, one serving on the State Officer Leadership Team, and the chapter receiving a recognition award.
The Quality Chapter Distinction Award is a recognition given to chapters for meeting the requirements of being actively involved in BPA. HHS was recognized as one of 10 chapters in Indiana that received this award.
Senior Gabby Wagoner was nominated for the Indiana BPA Chapter All-Star award, which recognizes students who go above and beyond for the overall success and well-being of their chapter. Wagoner, who is a four-year BPA member, was nominated for this award for her leadership in helping newer members and her dedication to keeping the chapter fundraiser, the Hawks Nest, in good health.
BPA’s Torch Awards Program is designed to promote professionalism and leadership in both career development and personal growth for its members. The categories that sustain the Torch Program–Leadership, Service, Cooperation, Knowledge, Friendship, Love, Hope, Faith, and Patriotism–are pillars that sustain a well-rounded individual and citizen. Senior Kylie Cole was recognized for earning her Statesman Torch Award at the State Leadership Conference.
The Workplace Skills Assessment Program (WSAP) is BPA’s program for its competitive events. With many categories–finance, business administration, management information systems, digital communication & design, management, marketing & communication, and health administration–there is plenty of variety for members to compete in.
HHS is proud to have four individuals from its BPA that placed in their WSAP competitive event: Junior Megan Kellner, ninth place in Health Administration Procedures; Senior Song Galvin, sixth in Basic Office Systems and Procedures; Junior Caitlyn Rhoades, fifth in Advanced Office Systems and Procedures; and Sophomore LJ Summerville, 3rd in Legal Office Procedures.
The Indiana BPA State Officer Leadership Team is a group of students from all across Indiana who represent their fellow BPA members on the State Level as well as plan and lead the Fall Leadership Conference and the State Leadership Conference.
King-Licht will be taking Cole, Galvin, Wagoner, Walsh, Kellner, Rhoades, and Summerville to BPA’s National Leadership Conference, which will be held in Anaheim, Calif., at the end of April. If anyone is interested in helping sponsor their upcoming trip, please contact King-Licht at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s coming up?
March 24 marks the last day of school before spring break at HHS, and many students have a variety of plans for this week of academic break in the second semester.
Senior Grace Poradzisz can relate to many high school students as sleeping and going to work are her spring break plans.
Another variety of HHS students are also spending their spring break away from school, like Shelby Bryant, whose spring break plans include going to Florida and Tennessee.
As spring sports are swinging into action, Athlete Skylar Martin will spend his spring break training for baseball alongside other spring athletes.
When HHS returns from break on April 3, they can all expect to have four long days of school before another four-day weekend for Easter Sunday.
King-Licht is a business and finance teacher at HHS as well as the advisor of HHS’s BPA chapter. King-Licht has been teaching for 19 years, with 13 of those years being at HHS.
King-Licht has always had a love for business going back to her high school years and business classes. Before King-Licht was a teacher, she had a variety of positions in other business and finance-related fields. From working as a bank teller to a technical recruiter, King-Licht has been on a journey in her career. It wasn’t until King-Licht was an admissions representative and would visit classrooms to tell students about what her company offered that she fell in love with being in the classroom and around kids.
King-Licht got her undergraduate degree at Indiana University Northwest and then went back for her teaching credentials at St. Joseph Calumet College. King-Licht enjoys being in the classroom because of the interaction with the kids, especially when the students tell her that what she teaches is very practical and will help them in the future.
Out of all of the different business topics available to teach, King-Licht’s favorite classes to teach are Principles of Business Management because it directly connects to the Hawks Nest; Accounting because she enjoys seeing the lightbulb go off for students when they understand the concepts; and Personal Financial Management because it is a strong personal interest of hers.
From her teaching career, King-Licht’s favorite memories are of when her first BPA students qualified for the National Leadership Conference, Jason Licht and Steven Miskus, or when her BPA chapter at HHS grew from eight members to 50 members in one year. Increasing the chapter size by 42 members is what she considers one of her biggest achievements, alongside the success of the Hawks Nest.
King-Licht chose to start a BPA chapter over career and technical student organizations because BPA has the most diverse kinds of contests. She also enjoys BPA because it gives students the chance to compete at a higher level, as well as meet other BPA members across the region, state, and nation, as well as giving them the chance to travel.
In the years King-Licht attends Nationals, her favorite part is planning the Nationals trip and the fun that will come in their time away. She especially enjoys when Nationals are held in California, like they are in 2023.
Outside of school and BPA, King-Licht enjoys reading, playing word games, traveling, as well as cooking.
Kylie Cole is a senior at HHS and has been a member of HHS’s BPA chapter for three years. Cole serves as one of the chapter’s co-presidents, alongside Gabby Wagoner.
“Several of my friends were in the organization, and they said how much fun it was, so my sophomore year, I decided to join,” said Cole. “Later, I ended up figuring out that my dad was in BPA when he was in high school.”
Cole competed in the photography virtual event and participated in the Video Production team, Fundamental Desktop Publishing, Banking & Finance, ICD-10-CM Medical Diagnostic Coding in her BPA career.
“Once I fell in love with BPA, I knew I wanted to be a part of my chapter's officers,” said Cole. “I was never expecting to be co-president. My advisor actually was the one who mentioned it to me, and I was totally on board with it. I love being able to be there for everyone and being a person that, if other members had questions, I could answer them.“
Cole said her biggest accomplishment was earning her Statesman recognition in BPA’s Torch Awards program. Cole also hopes to earn recognition for her Ambassador Torch Award at the upcoming National Leadership Conference.
Cole described her favorite high school memory as attending the BPA State Leadership Conference in Indianapolis her junior and senior years, while her favorite BPA memory is being able to room with Wagoner and Olivia Pastrick, two of her closest friends, and her sister where she specifically enjoyed running to get ice with the group.
Beyond BPA, Cole is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, Thespian Club, and German Club, and is an athlete in track and field, cross country, and girls basketball.
Cole’s favorite class is her vocational, Graphic Design and Digital Imaging, which she goes to Portage High School to take. She is unable to pick a favorite teacher.
Outside of school, Cole enjoys collecting vinyl records and roller skating around her neighborhood.
After high school, Cole plans to attend Ball State University and major in photography, with the intention of learning more about photography and using her skills to take awesome photos of people and places.