Guest article by Sehome High School sophomore Tori King
Last November, I became aware of an amazing opportunity in our school district surrounding HOSA-Future Health Professionals (formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America). I learned that there was a new club being created by students, some friends of mine, at Squalicum High School. This club is part of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and I was told that it was a great chance for people that are interested in medical professions to learn more about what it’s like, and to be surrounded by people who share the same passion. I immediately knew that this was something that I wanted to be a part of in some way. The students at Squalicum were so excited to hear that there was a group of us from Sehome that wanted to join, and they quickly found ways to include us in their great work and allow us to be a part of their new chapter.
HOSA-Future Health Professionals (HOSA-FHP) is a program designed for students that have an interest in health care occupations. The goal of the organization is to develop leadership and technical skills through a program of motivation, awareness and recognition. The organization helps to foster independence as well as teamwork, help to facilitate the transition between high school and post-secondary education, and give students chances to do what they are passionate about. Ultimately, HOSA-FHP promotes career opportunities in health care and helps prepare the next generation of medical professionals.
Ian McDevitt, Squalicum sophomore and one of the leaders of the HOSA club, summarizes the goals, “The competitive nature of the club allows students to develop leadership skills and learn about future healthcare occupations they may have an interest in. Test categories are varied and include a range of healthcare topics, from nutrition to medical terminology to biomedical debate. All tests are extremely difficult and demanding, allowing students to develop strong work ethics in addition to expanding their scope of medical understanding.”
In March, 17 HOSA members from Bellingham headed to Spokane to attend the state leadership conference. There, we competed in many different kinds of events in which we qualified for based on written tests that we all took a month prior to our trip. All of us, thirteen students from Squalicum and four from Sehome, attended workshop-learning sessions and participated in competitions. I competed with a team consisting of me and two other Sehome students, and placed third in Washington state for Creative Problem Solving. We earned the opportunity to advance and compete in the International Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida. After working so hard for the opportunity to simply attend the state competition, we were overjoyed by the success our dedication had brought us. The workshops, speakers, and activities at the state conference were amazing! In just three short days, our knowledge about the health world had grown so much. We knew that the conference in Orlando would be too amazing of an opportunity to miss. So here we go….The Creative Problem Solving Team, Tori King, Ruby Weinkle-Matts and Naomi Wallin, SHS students, are off to the international competition June 19!
The Squalicum High School’s inclusive HOSA chapter is an amazing example of the One Schoolhouse Approach honoring The Bellingham Promise. The Squalicum club invited us to join their club, attend meetings at Squalicum, test by their side, and participate in the state conference guided by advisor Hideto Nakazato. Without them, this opportunity would not have been possible. We’re so especially grateful for the Squalicum HOSA leadership team: Tierney O’Keefe and Ian McDevitt for your hours of planning, hard work, and for your kindness.