CACC HOSA students qualify for nationals


Jenna Liu

At 4:45 p.m. March 25th, students from the Columbia Area Career Center filed aboard a yellow school bus destined for the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) State Conference at East Central College in Union, Missouri. Though they were all competing in different fields, a common goal united them: the chance to represent Columbia at the National HOSA Conference in Orlando, Florida.

By the end of that day, thirteen would return to Columbia with that goal realized.

CACC HOSA team poses after the awards ceremony

For months beforehand, the HOSA program at the Career Center was filled with students intensively preparing for the Missouri State Conference.

With events ranging from Emergency Medical Technician to Medical Math, this diverse representation of the student body trained and studied for the opportunity to be known as the best in Missouri.

While certain events required both a written portion that had to be taken beforehand and a skills test to be administered the day of the state conference, competitors in other events that only necessitated a written test were able to be done with the competition two weeks in advance, and could enjoy their Spring Break while their fellow teammates traveled to Union.

Though the CACC HOSA team had already spent months preparing for the day of the state conference, the two hour bus ride to Union was still filled with hushed whispers and last minute studying. When the team finally arrived at East Central College, there was no time for any more preparation as competitors were rushed to their respective events.

As competition was concluded over the next few hours, CACC students waited for the awards ceremony scheduled for 4:00 p.m.

When it finally came, they had good reason to celebrate.

The CACC had students place in many different events, and swept the Medical Reading event with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes for Rock Bridge senior Emma Briggs, sophomore Danielle West, and Hickman sophomore Izzy Harrison, respectively.

All in all, a lucky thirteen from the CACC were able to qualify to the HOSA National Leadership Conference that will be held at the end of June at the Coronado Springs Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida.

RBHS sophomore Julia Hill, a competitor at HOSA, said she was incredibly proud of the team as a whole. Hill placed first in Forensics along with her partner, senior Alex Komes, with their victory earning them a ticket to Nationals.

“Alex and I put a lot of work into this competition,” Hill said. “We spent countless hours studying and reading case studies to prepare for this and our efforts were worth it.”

Hill said that her involvement with HOSA is something that she is extremely grateful for, as it allowed her to understand first hand the correlation between hard work and success.

“Winning the gold medal in Forensic Medicine my first year of HOSA is an experience I will never forget,” Hill said. It’s something I can look at everyday and just think about how the endless hours of studying and talking through complicated concepts allowed us to compete with our best knowledge and succeed.”

Another first year competitor who aced her event was sophomore Marilise Stamps, who returned to school after Spring Break to the news that she had placed 1st in Nutrition.

“I was pretty excited because I wasn’t really expecting that,” Stamps said. “But I had studied for it, so I was just happy that it paid off.”

The time and effort that all the HOSA competitors put into their events was represented by the 6 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze medals that the team   amassed.

One of these silver medals was collected by RBHS senior Jenny Zulovich, the current president of the Missouri HOSA chapter, who bid farewell to her senior year and term as HOSA president by qualifying to the HOSA National Conference for the third straight time.

“I’m just really glad I got a medal,” Zulovich said. “I wasn’t sure after the written test how I was going to perform, but I think I went really strong in the skills portion, which does ultimately count for more, so I am really happy that I got second.”

Zulovich said that she is looking forward to Nationals, as she has had great experiences with it in the past.

“It’s a blast every single time, and there’s no way I’m missing it this year.” Zulovich said.

With this excitement comes the inevitable reality of further preparation and work. Zulovich will be diligently reviewing for the next few months, as she expects a much higher standard of competition at the HOSA National Conference.

“It’s definitely a whole other level at nationals, because everyone is so good,” Zulovich said. “So there’s going to be a lot of studying.”

Karen Hirst, a Principle of Biomedical Sciences instructor and HOSA adviser said that the CACC students put in hours of hard work, and that she is excited for the team’s accomplishments this year.

“Two years ago, Columbia had two students qualify to go to the national competition,” Hirst said. “I believe we had 25 student enter the competition [this year] and we have a total of 13 students who have qualified to move on to the national competition.”

As the team anticipates the next stage of the competition, they must also begin fundraising efforts in order to cover the cost of transporting 13 students to the national conference.

“We had a lot of students qualify, which is great,” Zulovich said. “But ultimately, it also does take a fair amount of money to get a group of kids down to Orlando, Florida for almost a week.”

Hirst echoed Zulovich’s words, and said that HOSA students will soon begin to focus on raising money and trying to lower the personal expense of traveling to Florida.

“The decisions about fundraising will be made by all of the advisors and the HOSA students within the coming weeks.” Hirst said.

While the worries of expenses are still attached to the thrill and exhilaration of qualifying to the national competition, Hirst said she is proud of the success that HOSA has experienced this year, and hopes that the program can expand in the 2014-2015 school year.
“The program should grow and strengthen next year because there is an increase in the number of students signed up to take PLTW classes,” Hirst said. “Additionally, advisers will work hard to incorporate many of the activities that students do at the competitions into our classrooms, and as a result, we should have more students prepared to compete next year.”
[box title=”HOSA National Qualifiers” style=”soft”] Gold

Emma Briggs-Medical Reading
Jack Gabel-Transcultural Health Care
Julia Hill-Forensic Medicine
Alex Komes-Forensic Medicine
Marilise Stamps-Nutrition
Jenny Yao-Medical Math
Jenna Liu-Medical Spelling
Danielle West-Medical Reading
Lisa Zhuang-Healthy Lifestyles
Jenny Zulovich-Biotechnology
Haley Benson-Emergency Medical Technician
Izzy Harrison-Medical Reading
Hayley Johnson-Emergency Medical Technician

By Jenna Liu