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Paynesville Press - May 23, 2001

BPA team places fourth at nationals

By Linda Stelling
BPA winnersThe excitement of their first trip out of Minnesota was heightened for juniors Jacqie Utsch and Mallory Mackedanz as they brought home fourth-place medals from the National Business Professionals of America conference. The conference was held from May 9 to 13 in Anaheim, Calif.

Utsch and Mackedanz competed as an administrative support team against 32 teams from 16 states. Their event involved putting a letter in the proper form, making a flyer and a graph, and showing knowledge of different computer programs - Power Point, Microsoft Word, and Excel.

Jacqie Utsch, Sheri Stang, and Mallory Mackedanz attended the National Business Professionals of America conference.

The top 10 teams were called up front during the awards presentation. The girls were surprised to be called to the stage and surprised even more to win a medal. "We didn't think we would place," Utsch said.

Their fourth-place finish didn't sink in until they saw their advisor, Becky Hoey, jumping out of her seat with excitement, they said. "I felt it was really a big deal for the girls. It was their first trip to nationals and then to place, as well," said Hoey.

Jacqie is the daughter of Ruth and Chuck Utsch and Mallory is the daughter of Bob and Mary Kay Mackedanz.

Sheri Stang, a senior from Paynesville, went as an alternate. The daughter of Duane and Barb Stang, she served on a panel to elect national officers.

Part of the excitement of the conference was to meet new people and to collect pins from different states. The Paynesville girls spent a lot of time riding the elevator at their hotel. They found it a great place to meet people and to trade pins.

Besides the competition and campaigning for officers, the girls attended a seminar by a motivational speaker and did as much sight-seeing as possible.

Instead of taking in a lot of the conference seminars, Hoey felt the cultural experience of California was more important for the girls. Among the sites they took in while in Anaheim were Downtown Disney, Disneyland, and a fashion mall where Utsch couldn't believe the prices (one tank top cost $168).

The three girls described their trip out of Minnesota as awesome and cool. They experienced their first airplane ride, walked on the beach by the ocean, and saw palm trees. Hoey said the girls didn't walk in the ocean as it was rather chilly when they were there.

The local BPA chapter held fund raising activities to finance the trip. Maria Hoppe was the last Paynesville student to attend the national BPA contest in 1999.

Mackedanz and Utsch will have another chance next year to compete at state and to earn a repeat trip to nationals as seniors. This was Stang's third year of BPA competition at the state level and her first time attending nationals.

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