A Pickerington High School North multimedia teacher recently saw eight of his students shine at a business leadership conference in Boston, including a group of young women who became back-to-back national champions.

A Pickerington High School North multimedia teacher recently saw eight of his students shine at a business leadership conference in Boston, including a group of young women who became back-to-back national champions.

In recent years, Doug Rider has seen numerous students prepare themselves for college and real-world jobs through a two-year multimedia class he and PHS North offer at Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools.

Last year, then-juniors Lindsay Klenzman of PHS North and Sarah Riedlinger and Tanisha Thomas of Reynoldsburg High School traveled to Anaheim, Calif., for the 2015 Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference and took first place in the Website Design Team competition.

This year, the same group added Makayla Pinoni, a senior who has completed her diploma via online education.

In March, they qualified to compete at the BPA National Leadership Conference in Boston May 5-9, where they repeated as national champions in the Website Design Team competition.

"I'm immensely proud of them," Rider said. "Winning it last year was thrilling; they were juniors, it was our first ever national title and I knew they really deserved it."

Rider said the group showed incredible motivation this year, in part because they were passionate about developing a website to help others.

"To their credit, they kept straining (this year) to produce the best project they could," he said.

"They balanced humility and confidence very well.

"I couldn't believe it when their names were announced again as the winners."

The students created a public service web site, and chose to raise awareness of alcohol abuse and provide resources to those who are affected by it. They were inspired by Pinoni, who was impacted by a family member's struggle with alcoholism.

The site features a self-assessment quiz, resources for alcoholics and their families, video testimonials and detailed animated educational videos about alcohol's effects on the body.

"All I can really say is becoming back-to-back national champs was 100 percent worth every hour we spent creating the site," said Klenzman, who will major in mathematics at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in hopes of eventually studying medicine.

"I think our website was a cut above its competition because the topic and the content have a deeper connection to each of us.

"It wasn't just a superficial end to compete. We genuinely want our website to be a tool against alcohol addiction."

Pinoni plans to attend Ohio University, where she'll study computer science. She said she was not only pleased to contribute to the project, but also that Gov. John Kasich has expressed interest in using the website as part of a state-sponsored alcohol abuse program.

Riedlinger said she was impacted by the fierceness of the competition, the teamwork exhibited by her project partners and her first trip to Boston.

She said she'll take those experiences with her to Kent State University, where she'll major in visual communication design.

Thomas, who will attend Kent State to study broadcast journalism, said she was impressed by her group's constant focus.

"After the first time winning, our mindset never changed," Thomas said. "We wanted to work even harder to become champions again.

"I believe our project was a cut above the others because we took a few risks with ours, like with the motion graphic videos, to really enhance our users' experiences," Thomas said.

"We wanted them to learn but make it so it's interesting and engaging for them."

In addition to the national champs, Rider said he "couldn't have asked for anything better" from PHS North seniors Shivam Bhatnagar, Brian Fissel, Bryce McGuire and Tyler Rogers, who finished ninth in the nation after proposing a three-dimensional trade show booth that featured product videos and other visual presentations.