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Paynesville Press - May 15, 2002

Andrie takes third at BPA nationals

By Michael Jacobson

Jen Bruntlett and Melissa Andie Sophomore Melissa Andrie (at right) took third at the National Business Professionals of America conference in Chicago, Ill., over the weekend.

Andrie and senior Jen Bruntlett (left) advanced to compete at nationals after their performances at the state competition. Bruntlett took second at state in fundamental accounting, and Andrie took fourth in verbal communications prepared speech.

Andrie, who advanced to nationals as an alternate, only after someone in the top three could not go, earned the highest placing at nationals in at least seven years.

For her event at nationals, which had around 60 competitors, Andrie gave a five- to seven-minute presentation. Her topic was handling criticism in the workplace and her three main points were: how to handle criticism, how to give it to others, and the benefits of handling criticism effectively.

"I knew I had improved from state," said Andrie, who also recently competed at the state speech meet, "but at the same time I was surprised because I was just an alternate (to nationals)."

Andrie, the daughter of Jim and DuDonne Andrie, said the whole speech experience, being used to getting up in front of people, and having that background helped her at National BPA, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago.

This is the second consecutive year that BPA students from PAHS have brought home medals from nationals. Last year, Jacqie Utsch and Mallory Mackedanz placed fourth at nationals in California.

It is the third time in the last four years that the local BPA chapter has sent a student to nationals.

Andrie and Bruntlett, whose trips, except for $10 apiece, were paid by fundraising, left on Wednesday, May 8, and returned on Sunday, May 12. Because the school district has frozen its staff development funds, which otherwise could have been used to pay for a substitute teacher, advisor Becky Hoey could not accompanying the girls on the trip. Instead they went with another student and advisor from Little Falls.

Bruntlett, the daughter of Brad Bruntlett and Michelle Bruntlett, competed in fundamental accounting, which involves taking a lengthy test, which she said was very hard. Between 80 and 100 students competed in her event. She does not know how she placed yet, only that she did not place in the top ten that made the finals.

Bruntlett plans to attend the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business and major in some business-related field.

Andrie actually gave her presentation twice at nationals, first in the preliminary round and then again when she made the finals.

Since Andrie is only a sophomore and has already experienced state and national conferences, Hoey hopes that she will try to run for a state office next year. If she would win, then she could run for a national office as a senior.

In addition to the conference, the girls did do some sightseeing in Chicago during their trip, including visits to the Sears Tower, Navy Pier, the John Hancock Building, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

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