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Paige Loew elected National BPA Historian

In her campaign to become a national officer with the Business Professionals of America, Morris Area senior Paige Loew encouraged students to “Turn a Paige” and help write their own BPA stories. Loew was elected historian for the upcoming year. She is the first Morris Area student elected to a national office with BPA. (Submitted photo)

MORRIS – Paige Loew’s election to a national office with the Business Professionals of America is the peak of a four-year experience with the organization that started with the bribe of free donuts.

During her election campaign at BPA’s National Leadership Conference, Loew joked with delegates that she joined BPA as a ninth grader after her teacher, Jenny Maras, offered Loew and two close friends free donuts to join the group.

Four years later, Loew, Carly Gullickson and Sydney Engebretson will be the first four-year members of the organization to graduate. This year, Loew served as the historian for Minnesota BPA.

She decided to run for national office because “I want to give back to my members now … I really want to inspire other people to run for region or office or run for state or national because it’s an amazing experience.”

Each state is allowed to nominate two students to run for a national office – typically students who have served as a state officer. Loew said she was the only Minnesota student to express interest in running, but still went through an initial interview process with Minnesota BPA representatives to make sure she would be an effective candidate.

As a national officer candidate, Loew participated in a series of interviews and tests when she arrived in Indianapolis, Ind., for the national conference.

The first was the BPA Merit Scholar test, a 100 question test on the history, structure and traditions of BPA. Loew earned the highest test score of all the candidates, thanks to studying with fellow senior Jason Rinkenberger on the way to the conference. Rinkenberger was also a National Merit Scholar recipient.

After the test, candidates participated in an interview with BPA officials, board members and other students, and gave a speech to about 500 students at the conference.

After speeches, candidates moved into their campaign rallies where they had a chance to talk with students ahead of a preliminary round of voting to bring the slate of candidates down from 15 to 10.

Following the preliminary round, the final 10 candidates attended state caucuses to answer questions from voting delegates – the number of voting delegates from each state is based on the size of the BPA program, Loew explained.

In her campaign, Loew encouraged students to “Turn a Paige” and work to write their own BPA story.

The six national officer winners were announced at the end of the awards program the following day.

At that time, Loew was named the Historian for the 2014 – 2015 school year.

Like other programs, students don’t get to choose what office they take, but Loew said she was hoping to be the historian.

“I’ve learned from running the state that your title is just your title, but overall we work as a team and we’re the face of the organization,” said Loew. “I didn’t really care what office I got because I think it’s all an honor either way.”

As a national officer, Loew will attend three major events – one training in July, a planning meeting for the national conference in December, and the national conference in May.

The officer team includes students from six different states, so they’ll keep in touch and work on setting goals online while also attending school. Loew will be attending St. Catherine University in St. Paul to study nursing.

“I’m looking forward to representing BPA and getting to meet more people,” said Loew. “Our team is already getting together well. ... I think it’ll be a really good experience.”