GREAT FALLS — Students from school districts across Montana were at CMR High School in Great Falls on Monday for the regional Business Professionals of America competition.
Every year, students compete and show their skills in more than 60 business-related disciplines. Some of they events include Economic Research, Prepared Speech, Human Resource Management, and Management Information Systems.
But walking through the halls, students were few and far between - that's because there were only around 100 instead of the usual 300 or so. Because of the pandemic, only students in judged events were able to go to the school.
"I'm so grateful we get to have some of the (in-person) aspects of it. It makes it so much easier to connect with the judges,” said CMR junior Emma McCarthy.
"We are social distancing, we are wearing masks, and we're being safe about it,” CMR junior Chloe Clark said.
"I'd say being in-person is much easier and much more comfortable,” said Sterling Chargois, a junior at Great Falls High School.
"I like it in-person, it's so much easier. You get to communicate with other people,” said GFHS sophomore Natasia Vanspyk said.
"I really enjoy having it in-person because it helps me meet new people that can help me better myself in our event,” explained Hannah Wyman, GFHS sophomore.
Organizers considered having a virtual event, but decided having the event in person was important for the students so they worked with the health department to come up with a plan.
"With the judged events, it's so much easier face-to-face to give them that experience,” said CMR business teacher Jessica Gooseman.