Collegiate High School Students Excel at Business Professionals of America
(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) Mustapha Mbengue has long term goals of becoming a software engineer and an entrepreneur.
The Collegiate High School senior credits his experience in Business Professionals of America (BPA) with preparing him for the latter.
“I want to start my own business eventually, so I wanted to hone my speech skills,” said Mbengue, the President of Collegiate’s BPA Chapter. “It will give me an advantage in the business world.”
Mbengue recently qualified for the BPA State Competition in the public speaking category for the third straight year. He qualified for the National Competition the last two years, but last year’s National Competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Mbengue is one of 15 state qualifiers from Collegiate (not including three alternates). The State Competition will be held virtually, while National – set for May in Orlando, Florida – has not been cancelled yet. There will be 3,200 scholars competing in the Texas State Competition.
“The State Conference emphasizes business workforce education and training, which members of the local chapter have received,” Collegiate BPA Chapter Advisor Stephanie Burnam said.
Speech category is a challenging one
Competitors walk into a room and pick a topic out of a hat. They have to speak as if they are an authority on the assigned topic.
“You have to stand up in front of judges that you’ve never met before and speak for seven to 10 minutes,” Mbengue said. “Then, you have to go into another room and make another speech. They’re judging you not just on your speech, but also your word choices and mannerisms.”
Mbengue, who attended High Pointe Elementary and Bessie Coleman Middle School, was inspired by his older siblings to attend Collegiate, and then to join BPA.
“I saw that their speech improved, they became more outgoing and made a lot of friends through BPA,” Mbengue said.
Mbengue was elected Vice President as a junior and rose to President this year.
He plans on going to college at the University of Texas-Austin or the University of Texas-Dallas. He’ll begin college as a junior this fall and is currently part of the University of Texas-Arlington Upward Bound Math & Science Program.
Collegiate BPA Vice President Jeremiah Richardson, a senior, qualified for State, for the second straight year, in Human Resource Management. He also qualified for Nationals as a junior.
“What interested me in that category is that I’m a person who loves to find solutions to any type of problem,” Richardson said.
He is considering a career in Human Resource Management and will attend Texas A&M University this fall where he’ll begin as a junior.
“One of my friends told me about BPA, and he talked about it a lot,” Richardson said. “There are so many different options in the business field.”
Richardson, who attended Permenter Middle School before Collegiate, said it is a challenge to compete virtually, but he makes the most of it.
“I’m a person who loves to see my audience in real life and understand their emotions,” Richardson said.
Burnam expects both Mbengue and Richardson to succeed at the upcoming competition.
“Mustapha and Jeremiah have exceptional communication skills and are very articulate when faced with question and answer business scenarios,” Burnam said. “I know they both have high expectations for themselves to qualify again this year even if it is a Virtual National Competition.”
CHISD Business Professionals of America State Qualifiers
CH Collegiate HS
Paula Gallegos Perez