Business Professionals of America Club Excels on National Stage

The Business Professionals of America have, for the first time in two years, been able to compete in the National Leadership Conference.


Cynthia Fontaine

The Bromfield BPA chapter poses in front of the conference center.

Part of the Harvard Public Schools vision statement espouses the virtues of communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. While students receive more than what is included in these values, there are students that uphold them in their extracurricular activities. To that end, the Business Professionals of America, a nationally recognized organization promoting student leadership, goodwill, and professionalism, was given a place at Bromfield to encourage the development of these standards.

Bromfield’s BPA chapter was created in 2015, according to club advisor Kristin McManus. It is a national and worldwide organization, with “chapters in states throughout the nation and Puerto Rico and most recently in other countries such as China, Peru, and Haiti.” Its goal, according to Ms. McManus, is to prepare high school students to become business professionals. Its main focus is on leadership, community service, and other scholarship opportunities. Members “learn about various aspects of business, such as investing in the stock market, presentation and interview skills, [and talk to] guest speakers from various business fields to talk to students about their experiences,” she explains. They prepare for competitions in entrepreneurship, technology, marketing, economics, and other fields, culminating in the yearly State Leadership Conference. A number of Bromfield students have done incredibly well at this conference and qualified to compete in the National Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Bromfield students Camille Bradley and Isabel Jackson placed highly in the podcast production event, seen 6th from the bottom in this image.

The conference this year was the first time that the club both qualified and traveled, as the conference last year was held virtually, explained Cynthia Fontaine, the other advisor to the club. The club worked for months in order to prepare for their events. “After states, [the students] get feedback from the judges,” she clarified, in order to improve at whatever events they participated in. Each student participated in one individual event, as well as a group event, from a pool of over 50 to choose from. The events took a few different formats, ranging from simple tests to more rigorous presentations of the specialized events. For instance, one of the marketing events this year at the national conference involved a food truck and how one could make it more profitable. After the events, “both the work they did and the presentation are judged,” Ms. Fontaine says. “Then, they have the chance to tweak it a bit and make it better” once the pool of participants thins out. A number of Bromfield students placed very highly at the national conference, with four different student groups placing in the top 10 in their events, two placing sixth, and one placing second in the country in their event.

As for the future of the club at Bromfield, Ms. Fontaine has a few ideas, which include introducing a community service component to the club and helping out Special Olympics, a BPA sponsor. Ms. Fontaine believes that constant change and adaptations ultimately helps the BPA in the long term. She adds,  “Every year, we look at the year past, and we say, ‘How could we make it better?’” Just like in the real world, improvement is continuous.