Diego Barahona, LHS junior, won first place in Database Applications at the Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Leadership Conference in Dallas. This is Diego’s third time to participate in BPA competitions and his second time at nationals. He says his reaction to winning said it all as he pulled out a video of himself shocked at hearing his name called for first place.

“The first clue I did well was when I noticed I was the only person from Texas that made the top 10 on the stage,” said Diego.

As the top 10 students were lined up, there were only three names to be called and recognized. Diego said that there were some challenges on the test this year. On one part of the test he received an error message.

“That just does not happen,” said Diego who quickly adjusted and figured out the error.

There was also a certification portion of the test that he had never been able to practice because the two times he was working through it, he had computer complications.

“I was holding my breath, and then it said ‘I passed’. I knew that would get me 100 points,” he said.

Sonja Stephens, Diego’s freshman Business Information Management (BIM) teacher, said this was the first time for him to get to go in person. She explained that there are many categories to compete in and even a club at Lufkin High School for BPA. Mrs. Stephens has been with Lufkin ISD for 10 years and this is the first time one of her students has won first in nationals at BPA.

The competition was held during a leadership conference which included workshops that students could attend.

“It was a much better experience in person. We were able to connect with each other, attend workshops, make friends,” said Diego.

Diego is involved in PantherBots robotics, Lufkin Panther Band, HOSA, BPA, Model UN, National Honor Society and UIL.

He said he is very much looking forward to maintaining his first in nationals title so he can compete next year in Anaheim, California, where the BPA Nationals competition will be held.

Best of luck to you, Diego!