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Ronan High students make history

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News from Ronan High School

RONAN — It was an event of firsts for Montana at the 2018 National Business Professionals of America Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas, especially our own school in Ronan. 

Ronan seniors Happy Cheff and Kelea Ilac medaled at the national level, competing against 5,600 individuals from 23 states.

Ilac placed second in the “Extemporaneous Speech” contest and Cheff placed 10th in the “Interview Skills” contest. 

This year was record breaking for Ronan High School competing in BPA. Ronan has never finished top ten in Nationals before, let alone second place. 

Cheff has competed in BPA for three years. This year was the first year he received a medal at Nationals. He is now graduated and will be going to school at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. 

“I want to thank everyone who has helped me get through this. I encourage every student to do BPA. It is an awesome experience and I have met some great connections through the conferences,” Cheff said.

Ilac competed in BPA for the first time this year. She received second overall in her category of Extemporaneous speech. She is now graduated and will be going to school at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. 

“Happy was the one to get me to compete in BPA this year. Looking back on it, I wish I competed all four years of my high school carrier. It was very fun and eye opening,” Ilac explained.

Business teacher Madison Wassam is a first year Business teacher at Ronan High School. She was given the role of the Business Professionals of America when she got hired on the job. 

“I really had no idea what it was about. We never had BPA in my schools growing up. Once I started getting into it, learning from the students, learning from the other advisors, and going to Regionals, State, and Nationals, I fell in love," Wassam said.  "This is such a great opportunity for our students, especially right before they go into the real world.” 

Wassam said she will never forget the experience. "I am very proud of my two students. They were focused and determined to get into the top ten. We were all so nervous when they were announcing the names to receive medals.  At first, the names were called in no particular order, and of course both of their names were called last, so you can only imagine our hearts beating. It was so awesome.” 

Congratulations to Happy Cheff and Kelea Ilac for making history. Please congratulate them and wish good luck to the upcoming students who will be competing next year. 

BPA is the leading Career and Technical Student Organization for student pursuing careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related career fields. 


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