Eureka High School student James Fields recently competed, along with a group of students representing the St. Louis Chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates, at the 2012 National BDPA conference held in Baltimore, MD.
The St. Louis team earned second place in the BDPA's High School Computer competition, a national contest of students who are challenged with solving a business problem using web-based technology. Fields and the other St. Louis students each received $1,000 scholarships as a result of their achievement.
"Students coming together from different economic, geographical, educational, and ethnic backgrounds is diversity at its best," said Toni Love, BDPA’s coordinator and application development specialist for Ameren.
Students representing the St. Louis Chapter were:
- James Fields - Eureka High School
- Samuel Mahone - Clyde C. Miller
- Della Anjeh – Visitation Academy
- Christine Miller - Visitation Academy
- Jacqueline Nobbe – Visitation Academy
- Darian Granderson – Hazelwood Central, who was the alternate.
"It was remarkable to see how driven the students were to succeed, and as a result, they achieved St. Louis' highest placement to date in the competition," said Oseyi G Ikuenobe, of Monsanto.
The top five teams in the contest received the highest team scores in the three phases of the HSCC competition: oral, written and programming competitions, said Love.
Throughout the year, Love told Patch BDPA conducts training programs designed to expose St. Louis students to the concepts of computers and give them the expertise to develop web applications. This year, the St. Louis Chapter had several sites for training, including Computer Village, Clyde C. Miller and Visitation Academy. Students from the various sites participated in a local competition, after which 14 students were selected to receive extensive training at Monsanto, Love said. Of these, five students, and one alternate, were selected to participate in the national competition.
"BDPA volunteers encouraged these young people to seek higher levels of education, and groomed them to become our next generation of IT professionals," said Love.
The trainers and coordinators were: Tiffany Jones, Al Ware, John Cooper, Raymond Elangovan, and Oseyi Ikuenobe—all Monsanto employees; Tom Bast of Clyde C. Miller; Beverly Byrd and John Cooper of Visitation Academy; and Don Holt of Computer Village. Love served as the overall competition coordinator of the St. Louis BDPA Chapter.
“To see the joy and sense of pride on the students' faces when they won was priceless. They were, and should be, proud of the return on many hours they invested over the past year,” said Vince Shorter, senior director at Monsanto.
In addition, the St. Louis students won first place in the national T-shirt contest.
Their trip to Maryland was sponsored by Monsanto Corporation.
Love said BDPA now is recruiting new students as well as volunteers to help with training. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BDPA is a non-profit organization with a diverse representation of information technology professionals including programmers, analysts, engineers, managers, instructors and entrepreneurs. Currently, there are more than 40 active chapters across the United States.