BPA in the USA
FLEX high school exchange student from Serbia in front of step and repeat Business Professionals of America backdrop

Business Professionals of America: Anesa represents Indiana at nationals

During my stay in the United States, I have had the chance to grow, learn, share, and love. My favorite part of my exchange year has been embracing the diversity between different cultures and gaining an understanding of U.S. civil society. Between adapting to the new lifestyle and a completely different school system and creating an everlasting relationship with my host family, I found home thousands of miles away from home.

My host community welcomed me, and I felt like I belonged from my first week. I have met so many amazing people and have created so many memories that I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.

From all the places I visited and the exciting new things I experienced, joining the Business Professionals of America at my high school is the highlight of my exchange year.

Business Professionals of America offers different programs and opportunities for its members. One of the programs they are most known for is the Workplace Assessment Skills Program. This program is designed for students to compete in judged or non-judged events at the regional, state, and then national levels.

I remember the excitement I felt in the early morning of our first meeting with all the information about the different competitions. I was asked to choose only two events out of over 90 in six different assessment areas including Finance, Business Administration, Management Information Systems, Digital Communication & Design, Management, Marketing & Communication, and Health Administration.

Choosing between so many interesting and creative events was challenging, but in the Regional Leadership Conference, I competed in Economic Research Individual (Finance) and Administrative Support Project Research Individual (Business Administration).

At the Regional Leadership Conference in December, I placed second in my Economic Research competition and placed first in my Business Administration competition. I was so thrilled and happy to qualify for the State Leadership Conference in Indianapolis and go there with the BPA team.

In March 2022, Shelbyville High School was represented by 13 students, including myself, at the State Leadership Conference. At the state level, I ranked third in my Administrative Support Project Research Individual and qualified as a delegate from the State of Indiana to represent the state at the National Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Thrill. Excitement. Happiness. During the subsequent days, I felt a ton of different happy emotions regarding my qualification and realized that I held the responsibility of representing not only my country but also my state.

The Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference is filled with memories of my favorite teacher, Mrs. Fox, all of my BPA friends, and my Golden Bear Television teammates.

From March to May, time passed quickly. At the National Leadership Conference, I ranked 20th at the national level and was awarded the Leadership Passport Series Award. I was recognized for successfully completing the Student Certification Series Level 1.

In BPA, I competed in a third event as well, the Torch Awards. Torch Awards has four levels: Executive, Diplomat, Statesman, and Ambassador. In this event, the students compete in seven categories: Leadership; Service, Cooperation; Knowledge; Friendship; Love, Hope, Faith; and Patriotism. At the Regional Conference, I received the Executive and Diplomat Award. At the state level, I received the Statesman Award. At the national level, during the National Honor Ceremony, I was awarded the Ambassador Award which is the highest award.

The Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference is filled with memories of my favorite teacher, Mrs. Fox, all of my BPA friends, and my Golden Bear Television teammates.

During my exchange year, I found people with whom I genuinely connected and loved. Now I know that a piece of my heart will forever be on the other side of the world, in a small town in the Midwest. I am very excited for my next stage involving college and joining the FLEX Alumni community.

—Anesa (FLEX, Serbia), hosted by the Bohman family (IN)