Laker places seventh at national Business Professionals of America competition

Morgan Hausten was one of five Lakers to compete at the national conference in California at the end of April.

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Detroit Lakes High School students Rylie Wendt, Kate Taves, Madison Blahut, Morgan Hausten and Ava Morrison attended the Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference in California this past April.
Contributed / Braeden Hogie

DETROIT LAKES — Five Detroit Lakes High School students were invited to the Business Professionals of America (BPA) 57th Annual National Leadership Conference, and one returned with a top 10 award.

Lakers Rylie Wendt, Kate Taves, Madison Blahut, Morgan Hausten, Ava Morrison all traveled to California for the national conference April 26-30.

Hausten earned special recognition on stage by placing seventh in the nation in the ICD 10 CM Medical Diagnostic Coding event. She received a finalist medal for her performance.

Hausten was considering a career in the medical field. When she saw BPA offered medical diagnostics, she dove into the extracurricular activity by cracking open a thick book of codes.

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Morgan Hausten placed seventh in the nation for ICD 10 CM Medical Diagnostic Coding at the Business Professionals of America competition in California in late April.
Contributed / Braeden Hogie

When it came to the competition, the daughter of Tammy Merkins and Eric Hausten explained there were two parts.


“In the first part I had to answer multiple choice questions, mainly on the concepts of the book,” she said. “In the second part, I was given a diagnosis and I had to find the code for it.”

While she was good enough to make it to nationals, Hausten divulged it was by a slim margin.

“The test was way harder than any of the others that I had taken so I didn’t think I did that well,” she said.

However, Hausten exceeded her own expectations and placed seventh in the nation. While the DLHS junior has that accolade, Hausten is more proud of the journey. She explained BPA allowed her to teach herself how to do medical coding, work through the challenges and implement trial and error until she found an efficient way to complete the task.

“I’m still learning some tricks, but I’ve gotten better throughout my competitions,” she said.

BPA Adviser Braeden Hogie explained a student’s journey to nationals begins with the regional contest. Students taking paper or computer tests must land in the top five at regionals to advance to state. At state, they must again be in the top five to advance to nationals.

“If a student competes in a speaking or judged event, then only the top three go to state, and the top three from state go to nationals,” Hogie said. “If it is a team event, then the top two teams at regions go to state, and the top two at state go to nationals.”

Hogie estimated the state contest had about 2,200 students compete, whereas the national event saw upward of 7,000. He noted at nationals there were 23 different states and five different countries (Canada, China, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Peru) that participated.


Morrison, a junior, competed in Advanced Word Processing. She found the activity with the help of her freshman word processing teacher, who recommended she join.

“I always loved typing so I figured BPA was worth a try,” she said.

The daughter of Ron and Stephanie Sprafka and Mark Leendertsen said being part of BPA has helped her improve her typing skills, and taught her about formatting a variety of documents.

“All those things will benefit me for years to come in so many aspects,” she said.

Taves, also a junior, competed in Payroll Accounting. She said the topic opened up a world of information about paychecks and deductions.

The daughter of Denise and John Taves joined BPA last year, as she saw an untapped opportunity awaited her.

“The things that I am doing in BPA can help me later in life,” she said.

In addition to learning skills, Taves was also given the opportunity to travel to California for the first time.


Blahut, a junior who competed in Fundamental Spreadsheet Applications, was also a first-time visitor to California. While palm trees, long coastlines and sunshine may impress some, Blahut may impress others with her ability to stay calm in stressful situations.

The daughter of Jacque and Justin Berg and Jerry Blahut said BPA taught her how to “take a step back and breathe” when the unexpected rises.

“I learned that you won’t always know how to do everything, or handle everything in life, but what matters most is that you try your best and stay calm,” she said.

Wendt, a junior, competed in Advanced Office Systems and Procedures. The daughter of Mike and Kari Wendt said she was happy to find other students who appreciate BPA as much as she does at the national event. She even traded state pins with new friends.

Hogie said he believes the extracurricular activity started in Detroit Lakes in the 1990s, but the organization dates back to 1966. He said BPA is open to grades 9-12 and offers about 75 contests that students can enter.

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