HOSA club wins top honors at state

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Erin Fox, Managing Editor

Cal High’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club won five medals for ranking in the top three at the California State Leadership Conference in Anaheim in March and qualified for the National Leadership Conference next month.

The club pushes students to use their classroom knowledge of the medical and health field while exposing them to potential careers.

Some of the categories for which Cal received awards include Clinical Nursing, Community Emergency Response Teams, Medical Math, Medical Terminology, and Biotech.

“[HOSA is a] career tech organization that allows you to apply what you learn in classes to a potential real life situation,” said science teacher  Andrew White, who also serves as the HOSA club adviser.

Junior Ye Rim Park won  first place at the State Leadership Conference (SLC) for Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), which deals with emergency preparedness for disaster.

Park went to an official CERT class two Saturdays at the San Ramon Fire Department to become eligible for SLC. She also had to memorize a handbook that outlined the guidelines for her topic and participated in mandatory preliminary testing, which is required to determine who knows the material.

White estimates that the members of the club spent about 30 hours in preparation for SLC, including certification training, practicing on their own time, and reading.

The HOSA club brought 16 members to Anaheim, where they competed against more than 2,500 other students from across the state. Even though about 500 of these students came from a single school in Palmdale, the size of Cal’s small team did not stop it from being successful.

The National Leadership Conference (NLC) will take place in June in Orlando. The NLC only takes the top three competitors in each category from each state.

Although many members from Cal’s HOSA club qualified for NLC, no one from the club will be attending due to inadequate funds. If they had gone, they would have been up against about 3,000 other students from across the country.

The Cal students who qualified with Park include senior Ellen Kuo and juniors Chandana Kothur and Rachel Wang.

“Texas and Tennessee are historically the ones that do the best at nationals,” said White. “[They] have more experience, advisers have been around since the mid-’70s…[but] California has become stronger.”

Cal’s HOSA club was founded in 2010 by White, who was previously the advisor for another health-related club on campus, the Future Medical Associates (FMA) club.

White explained that after Cal accepted a health pathway grant, it brought in a curriculum called Project Lead the Way (PLTW). Cal had to have a HOSA club as part of the requirement from the state department of education.

The members then switched their name from FMA to HOSA, and the club began. This will be the third year that Cal’s team will attend NLC.

The club is trying to recruit more students. Their goal for next year will be about 40 active members. Since the 2015 SLC will be held in Sacramento. Since the conference will be closer to home, more Cal students would be able to participate.

Members of the club recently asked teachers at a staff meeting to spread the word about HOSA and the club’s accomplishments. By doing this, White hopes that HOSA will be able to not only recruit the students, but recruit the teachers.

“[HOSA is] really hoping to get members interested in what’s not traditionally health…art, political science, there are events with medical essence,” said White. “[There are] opportunities for serious recognition.”

There are a wide variety of categories at SLC and NLC, including some that one may not commonly associate with the health field, but are just as equally important. These include Medical Photography, Medical Spelling, Biomedical Debate, and Creative Problem Solving. Students with these type of skill sets are encouraged to join the club.

“It’s a really nice club.” said Kothur, who came in second place at SLC for Clinical Nursing. “You’re meeting new people with the same interests as you.”