Representing their local HOSA chapter (Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America), five Chanute High School students have advanced to international competition.
CHS students Alyssa Andoyo, Darah Dean, Keondre Gregory, Jacob Guernsey, and Jeanette Guernsey advanced via their performances at last month’s virtual Kansas HOSA Spring Leadership Conference.
Jacob Guernsey captured first-place in the category of Clinical Specialty; Andoyo placed runner-up in Cultural Diversities and Disparities; and Dean placed third in Physical Therapy. Jacob Guernsey, Jeanette Guernsey, and Gregory teamed up for a third-place showing in the area of Biomedical Debate. Additionally, CHS student Sabrena Munoz was elected to be a State HOSA officer next year. Jacob Guernsey is representing CHS as a state elected officer this year.
Originally scheduled to be held in Florida, the International Leadership Conference will take place in June in a virtual format.
“I wasn’t really expecting much because I didn’t study as much as I should have,” Andoyo said.
She said the virtual format is less pressure-packed than the traditional in-person competition, held in front of judges.
“Just from my experience, I felt like it was a little easier,” she said, adding that she would have been much more nervous presenting in front of the actual judges.
Andoyo takes HOSA-related courses from instructors Mandy Duling and Tonya Frederick. She is currently in Frederick’s Medical Interventions class, and had Duling last year for Chemistry and Human Body Systems.
“They’re very passionate, and that’s something that really shows,” Andoyo said. “Seeing how passionate they are for science rubs off on us, and makes the entire organization work well. They really boost the morale.”
Andoyo, a senior, has been a member of the local HOSA chapter since its inception three years ago. She said she plans on pursuing a career either as an OB/GYN or in the field of Dermatology or Pediatrics.
“HOSA gives us the opportunity to speak with medical professionals in our community, and has opened my eyes to different types of medical occupations that aren’t as well known,” Andoyo said.
One project Chanute HOSA students are working on entails prep work for an upcoming local blood drive. They’re also working on securing guest speakers to address local HOSA club members.
Duling said the program has been a hit with students.
“We’ve had a lot of students be very successful in HOSA,” she said. “This is our third year to have a state officer (Munoz) elected from our group.”
Duling said it was difficult to keep students fully engaged with the virtual format. Events include demonstration scenarios, such as walking through each step of CPR.
“Most of the competitions are like that, where they actually show a skill and explain how that skill works,” Duling said.
“It’s been a struggle for the kids to want to work really hard,” she said. “It’s hard to get motivated when you’re just looking at a screen. So we were excited to have success this year with it being all virtual.”
Frederick lauded the local healthcare community.
“We appreciate our healthcare community so much in Chanute,” she said. “We don’t have all the supplies the kids need for CPR, but they donate them to us. Our medical professionals in the community are outstanding in helping the kids in HOSA.”
HOSA is a four-year program. It can be started as a sophomore, but requires doubling up on classes. The classes include Principles of Bio-Medical Science, Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions, and Bio-Medical Innovations.
The program was started because the teaching duo felt that students were falling behind in science standards.
“We weren’t pushing and challenging the students as much as we thought we needed to, that’s why we added this pathway,” Frederick said. “Now, our goal is to introduce them to the medical field, so they can see what (areas) they fit well in, and where they maybe want to shy away from. They’re getting a full-spectrum blast of what the medical profession includes.”
Duling said her fondest HOSA memory was witnessing multiple students qualify for international competition during the first year of the program.
“We had absolutely no expectations,” she said. “We thought we were going to get last in every competition because we didn’t have any way to prep the kids, or tell them what to prepare for. And so it was so exciting when they qualified for internationals. It was overwhelming.”
Both Duling and Frederick said the primary objective of the program is to see the students grow.
“We want to be able to provide the opportunity for those students to experience the medical field before they get into it,” Duling said.
“To just see the growth of kids in science in general,” Frederick added.
They’re both eagerly anticipating Chanute HOSA students who have been through the program to one day return to discuss their professional careers with current members.