Three Hettinger students are set to represent their school at the HOSA International Leadership Conference in Nashville, June 22-25.
By COLE BENZ
Three Hettinger students are set to represent their school at the HOSA International Leadership Conference in Nashville, June 22-25. Similar to the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) group, HOSA Future Health Professionals is an organization that gives students a view into a multitude of healthcare career opportunities.
Participating in the event this year is Alec Andress, Alyssa Andress, and Carolyn Schultz. Both Alec and Alyssa Andress will be participating in the conference for the second time, while this will be Schultz’s first time. Overall this is the fourth year Hettinger will have a presence at the top HOSA conference, sending representatives and not students the first two years.
Lizzy Thompson, a graduated senior of Hettinger High School, also qualified for the national conference, but a scheduling conflict will be preventing her from attending.
This will be the first year the conference is international. Nine thousand students, advisors and special guests from the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, and American Samoa have been invited to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center to participate in the conference. Forty-two students from North Dakota will be attending the conference. There are three different levels of competition that includes middle school, secondary and post secondary. Hettinger’s Alyssa Andress and Schutlz will be the only two middle school students from North Dakota to attend the conference.
In order to be invited to the conference, a student must qualify at the state conference in the spring each year.
“You have to place top three in your event at the spring leadership conference,” Alec Andress said. “So all of us left with first place medals and I believe the other two left with second place medals as well, so we all qualified for the international conference.”
Alec Andress placed in Clinical Psychology, while Schultz and Alyssa Andress will be participating in Healthcare Display. The Healthcare Display event is a team event. Schultz also qualified in Extemporaneous Poster while Alyssa Andress also qualified in Medical Terminology, but per international conference rules a student may only compete in one event.
“Last year it was a lot of fun, I really enjoy HOSA and all of the stuff it brings for me,” Alec said. “It’s a different environment as it is healthcare, and I really enjoy the healthcare aspect of it.”
Not only do the students have fun and gain a large amount of experience, the event also teaches professionalism. All attendees are required to dress in professional attire for the duration of the conference.
Alec Andress said that there is much more they can do during the conference outside of the competitions, including workshops and site-seeing events.
“There’s just so much stuff to do, it’s hard to do all of it,” Alec Andress said.
The event commences on Saturday evening, June 25 with the awards ceremony. It isn’t known prior to the event who won what, but the top 10 in each category are recognized on stage prior to the announcements.
Alec Andress told The Record that the experience he gets at these conferences can be taken with them back to the classroom. For his event, he job shadowed a psychologist and had to write a paper. Not only did he have to adhere to medical formatting standards, but he also had to coherently organize his thoughts, which is a skill he said he uses now when he writes any kind of academic paper.
“It just help me, [with] my paper writing skills,” Andress said.
When asked if it helps to have the presence of West River Health Services in the area, Chapter Advisor and North Dakota State Advisor Billie Mattis said “I think it does.” She told the Record that her students have been able to give presentations to managers at the facility, and that they have been impressed with her students’ work.
Mattis said they had nine paying members this year, which was a slight increase from last year’s participation. She hopes to continue to grow the group each year.
HOSA also offers scholarships to graduating students. Last year, Cassie Andress was awarded funds to support her education, she also placed seventh at last year’s national conference in Extemporaneous Writing. She currently attends Minnesota State University of Moorhead in Moorhead, Minn. for Speech Pathology.