Bake sale for business

BPA sells treats in hopes of lowering next year’s fees


BPA members senior Asha McElroy and junior Katelynn Smith greet buyers with a smile. (Photo credit: Brooklyn Rue)

Two Mercy freshmen approach the table covered in appealing sugar cookies, brownies, cupcakes, Rice Krispies treats, and more. One girl hands a few dollars to English teacher and Business Professionals of America (BPA) moderator Mrs. Hallie Smith with an inquisitive look in her eyes. She questions what the stand is for, and, after hearing this table is a fundraiser for BPA, she wants to know more. She asks what the club actually is, and inquires about the business competitions.

This freshman is not alone in her confusion. Many Mercy girls have heard of BPA and may know the club just held a bake sale, but most students do not know much about the club itself.

“[Business Professionals of America] is a national organization,” said Mrs. Smith. “The organization’s tagline is ‘today’s students, tomorrow’s business professionals.’”

Members of BPA attend regional and state competitions, and two of the team’s representatives – juniors Michigan BPA Council President Saveri Nandigama and BPA member Bridget Eusebi – will even be attending nationals along with Mrs. Smith in Boston in May. This bake sale, along with some of the club’s past fundraisers, aims to raise money to allow BPA members to attend these costly competitions.

“Because [Bridget, Mrs. Smith, and I] are going to nationals this year, a portion of the money will go to that,” said Nandigama. “But, mostly, the money is going to go towards next year’s finances. We have to pay dues to make sure we are a registered club at the national level, so the money goes towards that, too. We’re looking to leave a substantial amount of money for next year so that the cost of membership dues and the fees for [competitions] can be less.”

BPA is considered a Career Technical Education (CTE) program, and many schools that have BPA chapters are granted national funding to help students pay to go to conferences. According to Mrs. Smith, Mercy does not receive any of these funds because there is not a CTE program in place here. This means the club must self-fund, and the costs of state dues, national dues, and other expenses are hundreds of dollars per person.  

“We charge members the state dues, national dues, and a little more than that so that we can go to regionals, which is open to all BPA members,” Smith said. “After that, it is basically [up to the students] in terms of covering the costs for states and nationals. What we charge for the dues doesn’t actually cover everything. It covers the registration costs, but not even the bus cost. As you can imagine, staying at a hotel for three days for a state conference at quality hotels and covering the registration costs can be cost prohibitive.”

According to the BPA club members, these high expenses are both necessary and worthwhile because of the incredible experiences girls who attend the BPA conferences share.

“BPA is very important to me because of the fabulous experiences I have had with it,” said junior BPA member Jill Yassay. “It is a fun and educational organization that is beneficial for any student, no matter what [career] field they plan on pursuing.”