Niles BPA student earns third at national event

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

When Dylan McAllister volunteered to serve as the network administrator at Hope Community Church in Niles, he did not realize the experience would pay off big dividends down the road.

The Niles High School junior said the time he spent working with and upgrading the church’s network system served as the perfect practice for his event at the Business Professionals of America National Conference in Boston May 6-8.

Dylan McAllister

Dylan McAllister

McAllister finished third in the country in Network Administration Using Microsoft — making him one of the few Niles BPA students to return with a plaque from the prestigious national event.

“For the most part I was preparing through practice,” he said. “There were countless topics that came up on the exams that I’d learned while volunteering (as the network administrator).”

McAllister, who qualified for nationals by advancing through regional and state competitions, said hearing his name called in front of thousands of people at nationals was exhilarating.

“Words can’t really describe it. Getting called as a finalist — my heart just dropped out of my chest,” he said.

In addition to taking third, McAllister also passed the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA): Networking Fundamentals certification test.

BPA Advisor Alyse Hoyt said the certification distinguishes him among his colleagues and advances him further toward his professional career goals.

McAllister said he plans on pursuing an education in computer science upon graduating high school. He thanked the BPA, Hoyt, Niles High School and the Niles Young Leaders (which donated money to help pay McAllister’s trip expenses) for making the experience possible.

“My goal for this weekend was to become certified as a Microsoft Technology Associate and I have not only met this goal, but I have surpassed it and had the honor of placing third overall in my event,” he said.

BPA is a national organization for middle school, high school and college students preparing for careers in business and office occupations. The organization’s activities and programs complement classroom instruction by giving students practical experience through application of the skills learned at school. There are thousands of chapters in states across the country.