Amy Dougherty, the Business Professionals of America adviser at Hancock High School, said she frequently gets inquiries from people asking the BPA to help with a fund-raising activity.

Word has gotten around that the BPA does a pretty good job of it, Dougherty said.

Now, the word is even nationwide as the BPA chapter received the top place in the nation for community involvement. The Hancock High School BPA placed first of 38 teams that applied. The team received the award recently at the national competition May 1-5 in California.

The first place is among the other successful performances at the national competition. The chapter received an award for its growth in membership. The Network Design team of Tanner Pahl, Isaiah Flaten, Emmaneul Chavira and Peyton Rohloff placed third in the nation in its category. Team members Pahl, Amber Hausmann, Alexis Staples, Morgan Kisgen and Rylie Morrow each received Torch awards which are national ambassador awards related to community involvement. Team member Parker Schmidgall finished 27th in C Plus Plus computer programming.

"It's a huge accomplishment," Rohloff said of the community involvement award.

Dougherty agreed on the accomplishment as the BPA has an impressive resume of community service work. The BPA completed a five-page paper about its community service activities, she said.

The activities include blood drives, leaf raking, helping to serve and organize benefits for families and volunteering at other community activities.

"Leaf raking is my favorite because it's helping the community," BPA member Alexis Kisgen. BPA members rake leaves for free on local lawns in the fall.

And while the BPA is the host of its own fundraisers such as turkey bingo in November, it donates most of the proceeds from those fundraisers to various charities, Dougherty said. The chapter does keep some money to help pay for expenses at state and national competition, she said.

BPA member Rylie Morrow said she likes the community service aspect of BPA. "It's part of the organization. Not only that, it's a good thing to do," Morrow said.

Community service is a good fit for a business organization, chapter members said.

Real businesses get involved in the community to help promote their business, member Isaiah Flaten said.

Community involvement is also a way to make the local BPA chapter visible, member Emmanuel Chavira said.

Businesses and the BPA organization also want to give back to the community, team members said.

The Hancock BPA received $250 for the top community service award.

"Knowing us we will probably give that away," Dougherty said of the $250.

BPA members are willing to be involved in the community. And there are more members to get involved since the chapter started seven years ago.

The chapter had about 15 members in the first year and has 35 members this year, Dougherty said.

Success is a big reason why membership in the Hancock High School Business Professionals of America has grown by 30 percent this year, Pahl said.

Hausmann said she joined BPA because of its emphasis on community service. Through BPA she can also compete in subject areas such as small business and presentation. Her BPA experiences will help her throughout life, she said.

Hausmann said BPA also allows upperclassmen to work with underclassmen. "It gives you a chance to be with people you are not with everyday," she said.

While success fosters growth so does the small-school environment at Hancock, members said.

Morrow, who moved to the area last year, said "Here it's relatively easy to get involved. Everybody seems to be involved." When others are involved, it encourages more people to get involved, she said.

BPA members said they don't actively recruit other students.

"I don't think recruiting is the right way. If they aren't truly interested in it (they won't be successful)," Morrow said.

Chavira said while BPA is fun, members also know that it takes work to compete and be successful.

For more a BPA third place finish, an individual performance, click the links: https://www.stevenscountytimes.com/news/education/4612085-scmidgall-reac..., https://www.stevenscountytimes.com/news/education/4612087-hancock-bpa-ma...