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LaPlante earns trip to BPA nationals, but choses to stay in Farmington -- this year

Sadie LaPlante was the only FHS student to qualify for the BPA nationals this year.

Farmington High School junior Sadie LaPlante could be spending her weekend in Chicago, but instead, she'll be on stage at Boeckman Middle School.

That's a choice she had to make when she took second place in the Minnesota Business Professionals of America competition in March, and qualified for the national competition, which is going to be held this weekend in Chicago. But LaPlante also has a role in the chorus of Fiddler on the Roof.

LaPlante has only been at Farmington High School for just over a year. She and her family moved to Farmington from Proctor midway through her sophomore year.

Business Professionals of America is a career technical student organization for students who are interested in careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related career fields. Farmington's program is under the direction of teacher Bobbi Stewart.

It was Stewart who approached LaPlante about joining BPA. LaPlante seemed to excel in Stewart's business classes, so she joined the organization. LaPlante soon learned there was more to BPA than just crunching numbers. The organization has done several charitable projects, including raising money for Toys for Town, and, more recently, holding a drive for Feed My Starving Children.

"It's really helped me get to know different sorts of people, and for them to get to know me," LaPlante said.

LaPlante participated in the banking and personal finance category of BPA. She took fifth place at the regional competition, which advanced her to state. At state, she took second place, which qualified her for nationals.

Of all the weekends, it had to be the same as Fiddler on the Roof. While she doesn't have a big role in the production, LaPlante has a couple of lines. It was enough that, when she figured out the dates for nationals, she knew she would have to make a choice.

"I kind of thought that subconsciously (the conflict) would affect the way I would do and I wouldn't advance," she said. "And then it affected me the other way."

But that's okay. Next year's BPA nationals are in Florida, so she's planning to participate in the accounting category and hopes to make that trip, instead.

Even though she won't make the trip to Chicago this year, LaPlante is glad she joined BPA. It's not so much about qualifying for nationals, either.

"People don't know what BPA is, and I really wish they would give it a chance," LaPlante said. "When we do things like Feed My Starving Children, you get to know other people, but you also get to know things about yourself. It's really cool."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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