Nine HOSA students to compete at International Leadership Conference

Nathan Steele

After competing in the Future Health Professionals (HOSA) State Leadership Conference, there were many Custer High School students who placed in the top 10 and a record nine students placed in the top three in their respective events to go on to the International Leadership Conference (ILC) in Dallas, Texas in June. There were 13 students who went to the state conference, and all of them competed in at least one event. Because of the record number of students headed to the ILC, CHS HOSA needs to raise between $10,000 and $15,000 to fund sending that many to Dallas—about $1,500 per student.
“The amount of students that competed was pretty typical. What wasn’t typical was the number of students that qualified for the ILC by placing in the top three,” said Mindy Dooley, Custer High School’s HOSA advisor. “It is pretty impressive that our small school had 13 students compete and had nine qualify for the ILC, especially since some of the schools we compete against have a CTE (Career and Technical Education) program that is specific to health care.”
For those who may have never heard of HOSA, “HOSA used to stand for Health Occupation Students of America, and is similar to FFA or FCCLA except that it is for students interested in a health career.  HOSA is now called Future Health Professionals but is still abbreviated to HOSA.  Students are able to learn about medical professions, tour medical facilities and select an event to compete at the state level. If they place in the top three at state, they qualify for the International Leadership Conference,” explained Dooley.
 Students participating in HOSA can do so in a variety of events, much like there are myriad ways of working in the healthcare industry.
Sindey Garcia, Custer’s HOSA president, competed in Cultural Diversity and Disparities, earning first place and Medical Reading, earning seventh place.
“The Cultural Diversities and Disparities event includes a knowledge test that is taken before state, it included different ethical views and aspects of culture that can help with personable medical practices. The round two of the event is at the ILC, which you get the opportunity to attend if you place top three out of those who competed,” explained Garcia.
“My reaction to earning first place in Cultural Diversities and Disparities was one of shock, as I didn’t feel as prepared as I should have when I took the test. Though overall, I felt  extremely grateful to have been given the knowledge and opportunity to score so high in that category,” said Garcia.
Peyton Helfer, another student in HOSA competed in the same event and finished second, just behind Garcia.
“Peyton and I did not prepare for the test together, but we were both super lucky to receive those top spots together. We both had the books and read them on our own time, which worked well for us,” said Garcia.
The ILC is an exciting opportunity for the students—and an educational one too.
“They will get to see guest speakers from all over the U.S., and meet other students that have like-minded goals. There are several educational sessions that they get to choose to attend, and students in the past have come away from the ILC with a better understanding of certain careers, some new tricks for interviews, some skills to be a better leader and sometimes they just learn more about their own strengths and weaknesses,” said Dooley.
The students will also get a day to explore Downtown Dallas and go to some of the museums Dallas has to offer.
To fundraise for the trip, they will be participating in the Bradeen Real Estate and Auction 100th anniverserary celebration April 29 at the Custer YMCA and will be holding other events, which are still being planned and yet to be announced. They also accept donations that can be mailed to CHS HOSA in care of Mindy Dooley at the Custer High School.
“I hope that the ILC will help me to meet more people and experience a place larger than Custer. I also hope that what I experience at the ILC will allow me to learn more related to healthcare and science that I otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to,” said Garcia.
“This is a fun group to work with and I am proud of their hard work,” said Dooley.

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