Keith Salazar is considered the most decorated student that has passed through the halls of West Las Vegas Middle School.
He won two national titles, was a national finalist in four events, earned 10 state championships and has four state runner-ups to his credit. But he said three years ago, he wanted nothing to do with Business Professionals of America.
“I did not want to join it. I didn’t want to come to school dressed in a business suit. I didn’t want anything to do with it,” Salazar said.
Salazar said he has BPA sponsor Brian Gurulé to thank for his success.
“One day, Mr. Gurulé told me I was in BPA and I would be competing in extemporaneous speech and computer research. I said OK, but without his encouragement, I wouldn’t be here now,” Salazar said.
“My first year, I really started coming out of my comfort zone. I didn’t enjoy talking in front of people, but when I got involved in BPA, I started having to give speeches and got a lot more comfortable with it. Going to the national conferences and meeting new people really helped me be more social,” Salazar said.
Salazar served as BPA president this past year and vice president the year before. When asked about his students’ accomplishments, Gurulé had a one-word answer, “Wow.”
“That kid is at another level, and I am so proud of him the way he handled himself as middle school ambassador. He fought for mid-school representation all the way up the national chain of command. He let the national officers, officer candidates, national coordinator and BPA executive director Kirk Lawson know how he felt,” Gurulé said.
Gurulé said Salazar caught the attention of national officers, who approached his group as he was taking his students to the awards assembly in Dallas.
“From seemingly out of the blue, they asked Keith to give a presentation on the Torch Awards. We all just said, ‘Wow that’s awesome,’ because if they want you to speak, that means you’re becoming well known at the national level. Of course, his dream is to become national president, and I think he will,” Gurulé said.
Gurulé said Salazar has been a great leader at West Las Vegas Middle School.
“I’m going to miss that kid now that he’s moving up to the high school. But that’s what we do — we prepare them for work at the high school level, and they move forward,” Gurulé said. “He’s going to be a great asset for West Las Vegas High School.”
Gurulé said this will be another rebuilding year for his middle school program because more than 40 of his BPA students will be high school freshmen.
Salazar said some of his hobbies include playing his guitar, reading, playing games on his computer and watching television. He said his ambition is to become a lawyer.