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Hey there, Oklahoma BPA! I hope everyone has enjoyed their festivities from this past month! Looking into this next month, we celebrate Thanksgiving. This American holiday helps us all recognize what we are thankful for. What better way to start the month off than to share something I am thankful for within our organization!


There is so much that our organization has to offer for everyone, but I would have to say I’m most thankful for the relationships I’ve built along the way! BPA has been a huge connector for me. This organization welcomed one of my closest friends into my life, Nicole. We both are Entrepreneurship majors, and we decided to work on the BPA Small Business Management Team in competition. We worked for months preparing our business plan.


Critiquing someone else’s business came to both of us almost naturally! The ideas we came up with together were impeccable, we both had so much fun stretching our minds—the trick was coming up with something nobody else would think of!  We spent time in class, and outside of class. We made countless Zoom calls and even met up several times to perfect our presentation in person. This was often difficult to arrange as we were both adult students and working full-time jobs. After all of the hard work, we were excited and nervous to come together and finally present for our state contest! It was virtual, but the tension was just as high as if it were in person.


We were eager to present, and thankfully we had the first time slot! After technical difficulties were resolved, our presentation flow was so smooth. We were confident in ourselves, while also being our biggest critic thinking surely something didn’t go as planned, or we didn’t answer the judges’ questions as well as we could have done. To our pleasant surprise, we were awarded first place! After that, we were happy to advance to the national contest. Obviously, this was a much bigger deal and we were very nervous competing against the best of the best. We worked diligently, made a few adjustments to our work, and went in with all the courage we could muster. With a few technical difficulties before our presentation, we waited patiently before presenting. Not knowing when a judge may pop in, was very nerve-racking.


We were prepared and ready, and after presenting we had to wait for results for four days (which honestly felt like weeks). My class gathered together on Saturday for the National BPA awards ceremony! When they finally announced the results, we all screamed with excitement. Nicole and I were officially first-place National BPA winners! Not only did we receive our medals in the mail, my school (Central Tech) also recognized us as a top-three national winning team on its digital Wall of Fame. It was truly an honor working with her, and we created a lifelong friendship through BPA, and for that, I’m forever thankful! For me, the best thing about BPA is the people we meet along our journey.

-Hallee Schonfield

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