Between school, football practice, work and an internship, Elijah Bowie managed to squeeze in a state championship title at a Business Professionals of America competition: first place in extemporaneous speaking.
The discipline and time management required of his busy schedule helped the Delaware Area Career Center senior prepare for a competition for which there really isn’t much preparation, he said.
Bowie, who will compete in the national championship in Indianapolis on April 30, chose extemporaneous speaking from several categories of competition at BPA, a student organization for career technical education students.
“I get 10 minutes to create a brief outline of something I’m going to say and present to the judges,” Bowie said. “I think it’s something you have to be comfortable with. It’s one of those things most people fear.”
Not only is it making a speech, but it is also getting a topic with only 10 minutes to prepare that speech. All the topics are business-related.
It may seem “off the cuff,” but the extemporaneous speaking competition required Bowie to have a plan – something he understands.
For the 18-year-old Ohio Dominican University football recruit, the plan is already in motion.
Bowie, the second of 10 children, was home-schooled and attended some private school before beginning at DACC. He finished his high school requirements as a junior so that he could fit in his job at Tim Horton’s and time as varsity football captain of the Columbus Crusaders club football team.
The plan also included an internship at DelCo Water, where he is launching a social media project and redesigning the company Web site. He was awarded the internship after his class was asked to present ideas to DelCo Water. Some of his classmates worked on designs for the company logo or Web site; Bowie worked up a plan to get DelCo Water on social media forums to help better disseminate information about boil advisories and other community communications.
“They were missing a social media brand,” he said.
DelCo Water hired him on and asked him to also redesign the Web site.
He said he didn’t know much about Web design, but he knew the opportunity could be part of his plans. When he told his supervisor at DelCo Water about his lack of experience in coding, he was told learning it would be part of his internship.
He is now preparing to present three options to the board.
Then there’s college: When he attends Ohio Dominican next year, he’ll study business with a focus on sports management. He’s not quite sure what he wants to do after college – coach or manage sports teams or sports law – but he knows it’s part of his plan.
When it comes to the 10 minutes he has to prepare for his speeches in competition, he draws on his life. But that’s not enough, Bowie said.
“We help students prepare for specific (areas of competition),” said DACC spokesperson Alicia Mowry. “The challenge with Elijah was, how do you prepare for something you can’t prepare for?”
When he won the regional competition, Bowie enlisted the help of DACC staff including Mowry to help him prepare for the next level of competition. Staff members would craft topics and run mock competitions for Bowie, critiquing his performance.
“I have high expectations for myself, so people will think, ‘That’s great,’” he said. “But I’ll see something lacking in it.”
Bowie decided it was time to set up a format for his speeches that would allow him to plug-in his thoughts quickly.
With the national competition only weeks away, Bowie said he’s continuing to prepare for the competition for which there is no easy way to prepare. In the end, it’s all part of the plan.