In its second year of existence, the Chanute High School HOSA-Future Health Professionals club is working to help the community get healthy.
The club, formerly known as the Health Occupations Students of America, is an international organization with an estimated 245,000 members in 54 chartered organizations across the United States, Canada, Germany and Italy.
CHS student Ragan Vogel, a state officer for HOSA, explained that it was inclusive of all different types of health occupations.
“It’s students entering any sort of health profession,” she said. “Nursing, medicine, technicians, just anything. Even careers you wouldn’t think of like dentists and veterinarians.”
Current CHS HOSA President Jacob Guernsey summarized the club requirements with a joke.
“If you like cutting things open, we’re the club for you,” he said.
HOSA has been celebrating health occupations this week with events and dress-up days. They all wore blue on Monday, handed out apples to students on Tuesday, wore scrubs Wednesday and visited a nursing home to hang out with residents. On Thursday, they intended to have a demonstration of the effects of nicotine on the lungs, but had to reschedule. Today will be spent spreading positivity and distributing appreciation gifts to healthcare workers.
Vice President Lilly Falk described it as the club’s own spirit week.
“We have had activities that benefit students, the community and health professionals around town,” she said.
The club has done other community service events, too, like last Friday’s blood drive at the high school, which they plan to do again in the spring. In addition to being active in the community, HOSA members also compete in a broad range of competitions in the spring.
“There are over 50 events to compete in,” Falk said. “You can really find whatever is best for you.”
At the first competition in the club’s existence, four members qualified for the international competition and had a large showing at the state competition, according to Guernsey.
Vogel took some credit for helping establish the CHS HOSA chapter, working with science teachers Mandy Duling and Tonya Frederick.
“I realized that there was a club for almost everything except for what I wanted to go into,” Vogel said.
During its first year, the club was limited to students in the medical pathway at CHS, but it has expanded this year to involve anyone with an interest. Secretary Abbi Morris counted 40 active members and hopes to increase those numbers.
“A lot of people are not aware of what the club is yet,” Morris said. “We try to get a lot of people, especially underclassmen, to participate and to help us with community outreach projects.”
Guernsey said that the club owes a lot to the community – especially local medical professionals – for supporting it in a variety of ways.
“They are helping us so much,” he said. “They have been giving us resources and helping fund us in a sense. We wouldn’t be where we are without the support of our local health professionals.”