With Business Club revived, DUHS competes at regionalsPublished 10:16am Thursday, January 14, 2010
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
Seniors Ryan Daly and Emily Means, who both have been accepted to study business at the University of Michigan, represented Dowagiac Union High School at the Business Professionals of America regionals at Southwestern Michigan College.
In fact, Ryan finished first in desktop publishing.
Emily, already an entrepreneur and a contestant in the 71st Miss Dowagiac pageant Feb. 27, polished her interview skills.
Karen Vaickus, in her fourth year at DUHS, not only revived the Business Club which dissolved when Van Johnson retired, her students have started a store, selling school supplies, including Jonas Brothers folders, gum and mints.
Like National Honor Society, each school can have its own BPA chapter.
“We have one here, Edwardsburg has one,” Vaickus said Wednesday. “We competed against Portage.”
“Sturgis brought two big buses,” added Emily, Dowagiac’s October 2009 Citizen of the Month.
The school store in her classroom in 101 actually was re-established in the 2008-2009 academic year, but they got a late start.
“The only thing we could do was a community project called Green Locker,” she said. “That collects discarded school supplies at the end of each year when the kids clean out their lockers. Those are given to people who don’t have school supplies.”
It’s called Green Locker “because you recycle it instead of throwing it away,” Ryan said.
Vaickus said 10 students signed up for BPA regionals, but Ryan and Emily were the only participants because the competition coincided with a snow day and “there was a lot of confusion. It was kind of a decision you had to make that you were going to get up and go or not.”
Another consideration in Dowagiac’s showing is that at a lot of schools, such as Edwardsburg, BPA is a class, not a club.
Ryan said in desktop publishing he was required to create three items on the computer beforehand – a schedule of events, a program sign-up sheet and a poster – “then while I was there I took a test about how to use publishing software, such as Microsoft Word.”
Interview skills “was one of the most popular ones,” Emily said.
“There were about 30 people.” It consisted of creating a resume and cover letter ahead of time and filling out a job application while at SMC.
“The kids were really into it,” Emily noticed. “Especially if it’s a class. They’re well-prepared.”
As a junior, Emily was recognized as the region’s top volunteer.
She knows a bit about being well-prepared from founding her own non-profit purse line at 13 which she markets online and at local businesses.
She received a $1,000 scholarship from Chemical Bank and $1,000 to donate to the charity of her choice from Michigan Gateway Foundation.
Like all profits from her purse line, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) received her $1,000.
With his first-place finish, Ryan qualified for state competition, which leads to national competition in Texas in 2009 and in California in 2010, but it requires a four-day commitment in Grand Rapids, so he is still mulling whether to continue.
“For them to do one event, we were there for the whole day,” Vaickus said, “although it probably took only a half hour of their time each. Unless you’re in a lot of events, it seemed like a lot of down time.”