HOSA competitors advance to Nationals

On April 11 – 13, 24 students competed in the Texas Health Occupational Students of America State competition against 3,000 others in Galveston. The following students have qualified to attend the HOSA National Conference in Nashville, TN from June 26 – 29, where they will face off against students from all over the U.S.:

Healthcare Issues — Paige Southworth, Micki Stocker, Javi Ortiz and Molly Finch
Pathophysiology — Bryan Luu in 2nd place
Physical Therapy — Faiz Baqai in 3rd place
Creative Problem Solving — Divya Prakriya, Elizabeth Battey, Amy Qin and Kaina Chen in 1st place
Health Education — Erin Davis and Saman Modi in 2nd place

These students have been working very hard to accomplish their goals, winning titles at the District and State levels. Since there are so many competitors, the event is very intense.

“To advance to Nationals, the students must place first, second or third in the State competition,” HOSA sponsor Jackie Uselton said. “When they get to Nationals there will be about 5,000 competitors from 48 states and Puerto Rico. Texas tends to win more than any other state because our State level of competition is so big and so competitive. The other states that tend to do really well are South Carolina, California and Oklahoma.”

Qualifying for the higher levels of competition takes hours of learning, testing and determination. There are different rounds that need to be passed before a team or individual can advance. These competitions require the students to take practice tests before and after school, create powerpoints and models and demonstrate how to do activities such as CPR, first aid and survival skills.

“The students prepared by studying for their written exams and preparing for the skills round which, for us, included Physical Therapy, Forensic Medicine, Dental Spelling, Creative Problem Solving and such,” Uselton said. “[The students] had to demonstrate skills after qualifying with the written exam by having the top 10 scores.”

At Nationals, only 10 students out of the thousands of teams and individuals will have a chance to be recognized.

“[The judges] give medals for fifth, fourth, third, second and first place,” Uselton said. “Each medal gets increasingly larger in size as you get closer to first place. The first place medal is beautiful, large and gold.”

Junior Elizabeth Battey and her three team members competed in Creative Problem Solving and earned the first place title. Their team knew what they were getting into before they arrived at the competition.

“I know that the competition is pretty cutthroat, since Nationals includes the top teams from each state all over the country,” Battey said. “However, Texas is one of the strongest and largest states in the country, so coming in 1st place at State means that we hopefully should be in good standing at Nationals.”

There are a multiple number of teams that sign up for the same category; however, only one gets selected. Their selection process is in favor of previous State and National winners. Competing takes time and dedication, so only a few students are willing to join a team or individual contests.

“I choose to compete because the hard work that’s necessary to prepare for the competition really builds character, and since my event is a teamwork event, I’ve learned some vital teamwork skills and made some great friends as well,” Battey said. “I am a competitive person, and I love being rewarded after hard work.”

Battey and her teammates hope to get at least fifth place since they landed sixth at Nationals last year.

“There’s no better feeling than knowing that all your hard work has paid off when you’re at the awards ceremony and you get called up to the stage where they shower you with praise and adorn you with a big, shiny, gold medal.”