South Pointe’s BPA Travels to California for National Competition


Hayden Fowler, SPiN Wired Editor-in-Chief

On May 1, South Pointe’s Business Professionals of America organization traveled to Anaheim, Calif. to compete in the 2019 National BPA Competition. Halle Wilson, Katia George, Khynnedi Starnes, and I all placed at the state level in multiple events and qualified for the national level.

My group and I flew out of Charlotte at 6 in the morning to travel to Denver, Colo. for our second flight of the trip. Waking up at 3:00 AM was definitely not an easy or fun part of the trip but in the end, it became worth it. After departing the Denver Airport, we landed at John Wayne at around 11:00 AM.

The time difference from California to South Carolina really affected us and made all of us extremely tired. This made the first day of the trip eventful and equally exhausting.

As soon as we landed, we grabbed our luggage from the baggage claim and made our way to the shuttle that would then take us to our hotel. We were greeted by multiple doormen and made our way up to our rooms which, to our surprise, were quite large and had a nice, modern design.

The majority of our first day was spent exploring the general area of California near our hotel and a lot of rest, as we were still extremely jet-lagged from the flights that felt like they weren’t going to end. We ended up getting a generalization of the competition and opening ceremony areas so we wouldn’t be completely lost when the time came for us to compete.

Flying also made us very hungry so we decided to try “Press Pizza”, a modern Italian restaurant found in a small food strip about a quarter of a mile from the hotel. We also stopped by a local CVS to get snacks where we began to realize Anaheim was a little bit different than Rock Hill. The stores don’t provide customers with plastic bags, similar to that of Aldi, and have a layout quite different to that of a CVS back home.

Another difference, as sad as it was, was the amount of homelessness throughout the Anaheim area. In a major city like Anaheim, it wasn’t a complete surprise to see something like this, but it was a big difference from what generally occurs in Rock Hill.

Once we finished eating, we got ready to go to the opening ceremony where we got to be with all of the competing states, which totaled out to be around 10,000 middle school, high school, and college students from around the nation. Student officers led the ceremony, introducing advisors, states, and heads of the BPA Board. Seeing everyone with a similar passion to your own was honestly pretty inspirational.

The ceremony itself was quite entertaining as we got to see a lot of student leadership. On the other hand, the guest speaker, quite frankly, was pretty dry. We were already very tired and listening to a boring speech with little story did not help our drowsiness.

The next day was a long, but entertaining one. Three out of the four of us had our first competition in three different categories and afterwards we made our way to In-N-Out and Disneyland.

One of the most anticipated parts of the trip was being able to try the famous In-N-Out many westerners always go to. It was just as great as I expected: cheap, quick, and delicious. Afterwards we made our way back to the hotel and then to Disneyland.

The best way to describe Disneyland would be a smaller, yet equally exciting version of Disney World in Orlando. From 3 PM to the park’s closing hour, we walked around to the various lands the park offered. My personal top favorite rides were Space Mountain, the Matterhorn, and Big Thunder Mountain. Again, after a long, eventful day, we were all tired, so as soon as 11 PM came around, we began to head to the shuttle area awaiting a bus to the hotel.

Mine and Halle’s group presentation took place the next morning at 8 AM while Katia and Halle had other individual events later in the day. After our final competitions, we again went to the Disney area and spent the majority of our day at Disney’s California Adventure. This park was the highlight of the trip as it featured many rides and scenic opportunities.

To summarize, California Adventure is Carowinds on a whole other level. All while providing many Disneyesque opportunities, the rides and attractions the park provided easily topped Disneyland. Pixar Pier provided many of the most exciting experiences. The Incredicoaster, Toy Story Mania, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, Soarin’, and the Radiator Springs Racers ride were a few of the many highlights found in California Adventure. To finish our day, we headed over to Downtown Disney to eat at a quick and easy Mexican restaurant. One of the best parts about the Disney area in Anaheim is the accessibility to the parks as they are all in one general location, which made our trip especially stress-free.

Unfortunately, none of our projects made it to the final level. On the brightside, we did get to go to California Adventure one last time. We again stayed for the majority of the day while taking a trip back to the hotel to rest, only then return back to the park, thanks to the unlimited daily access Disneyland and California Adventure provided.

On May 5, we made our way back to John Wayne Airport to fly back to Denver where we then had a seven hour layover. We took advantage of this extra time and took a metro train to Downtown Denver where we tried an American-based diner called “Next Door Dining”. The experience was worth it in the end while we got to kill time before our connecting flight back to Charlotte and got to familiarize ourselves with the Colorado atmosphere and scenery.

By 2:00 AM, we finally made it to Charlotte. The trip as a whole was quite memorable and will forever be one of my favorites. One of my only regrets was not being able to visit other parts of California like Hollywood or Santa Monica. Otherwise, the trip as a whole was one I won’t forget.