FHC’s HOSA team dominates at conference

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FHC’s HOSA team dominates at conference

Five gold medalists. Four silver medalists. Two bronze medalists. Seven state finalist groups.

On Friday, Dec. 8, FHC’s HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) club pioneered their first conference competition at Kalamazoo College. Although it was their first HOSA meet, countless students excelled in their areas and crushed their opponents despite their doubts prior to the event.

“My expectations going into the conference were that the events would be difficult,” junior and President of HOSA Yusra Sannah said. “Most of the schools involved are career technical centers that have HOSA incorporated into their school curriculum. We thought that we would just “test the watera�� in order to understand how better to prepare for next year. However, because every single HOSA member put out his/her best work at the conference, we saw outstanding results.”

Like her fellow classmate, junior Tori Macleod also had some concerns, but before the competition, her fears were overcome by the overwhelming support from the team and the extensive amount of team and individual preparation.

“It’s really more an individual team thing,” Tori said, “but walking into the competition, cheering each other on, and making sure everyone is in a good place will really unite us as a team while we’re there. I was most excited to see what everything is about and what it was going to be like. Everyone personally thought that they were going to do horribly, but I seriously think everyone did better than they expected.”

Individually, Tori excelled in her area of Veterinary Science, which had many competitors in it. It was a tough event, but her passion for animals and interest in a career in that field was her constant motivation in studying and also during the competition.

“Veterinary sciences are just something that I’ve been interested in pursuing as a career, and I wanted to learn more about it,” Tori said. “I know that next year we’ll get job shadowing opportunities in our field of studying to further our learning. The studying has been kind of fun, which seems weird, but it’s very cool to learn more about what I want to do and where I want to go in life.”

For Yusra, Tori stood out as an outstanding competitor who never ceased to impress her in the competition.

“It’s so hard to choose from such a talented group of individuals,” Yusra said, “but I was very impressed by Tori, who competed in an event that had about 30 other competitors [who were] almost all coming from specialized schools for aspiring veterinarians. Despite not coming from the same background of experience, Tori was able to place within the top 10 finalists because of her initiative, hard work, and passion for this field.”

Junior and Vice President of HOSA Caitlin Benitez also commended Tori for her excellence.

“Everyone truly impressed me,” Caitlin said, “but if I had to pick, it would probably be Tori. When the announcer was reading off the finalists in her event, all of the people were from this school that was specifically for future Veterinarians. But then they called out “Tori MacLeod, Forest Hills Central,a�� and I think our team cheered the loudest in that moment.”

In their two months of preparation, each individual had to study extensively through a combination of textbooks, Quizlets, and websites to find the information vital for their event. However, despite the long and arduous hours put into their research, their work truly paid off, and the team reaped all that they had sowed.

“The most difficult part about the competition was organizing all of the details that we had to do beforehand, such as registration, and meeting the deadlines for paperwork, fees, and keeping parents informed,” Yusra said. “Not knowing what to expect was also stressful for me and Caitlin because we wanted it to be an enjoyable experience for all. In the end though, it really, truly was.”

The competition taught the team a lot, both about their area of study and also about themselves. By the end of it, they learned how determined the team was and how their hard work would open many doors for them in the future.

“The conference really brought out the characteristic of dedication in our members and showed their eagerness to learn about fields that they are passionate about,” Yusra said. “It was an experience that I think really renewed our sense of how hard work pays off in the end, and I am so grateful that we had that experience because it gives us a new perspective on school. Hopefully, it will motivate and energize a lot of us who really needed a break from the day-to-day routine of high school.”

For underclassmen, HOSA has begun to shape their social and academic perspective of high school. Sophomore Andy Travis was greatly impacted by Friday’s competition, as it opened his eyes to see the importance of future aspirations.

“This competition helped change me and my outlook on school,” Andy said. “I think that it is a great reminder that when you do something that you really love, you can do really well. It reminds me to take classes and learn about things that I am passionate about because I know that it will be a lot more fun and productive.”

Because the final results were so unexpected, the team’s cheers were all the louder for each individual victory. For Andy, hearing the support of the team was incredibly encouraging.

“The most exciting part of the competition was the award ceremony, I think,” Andy said. “We were all in the gym, surrounded by all of the other teams, and I think that you could feel the charged atmosphere. It was a lot of fun to cheer for our team every time one of us was called up as a finalist or won a medal, and I think that we were probably the most enthusiastic team there.”

Although the experience was exciting and a new for the group, it paved the way for their future endeavors and showed them how prepared and capable they are for later events.

“The competition showed that we were definitely capable of going far with HOSA,” Caitlin said. “This was only the beginning, and our team has so much potential. I think that we are a close-knit team, and our support for each other really helped to boost everyone’s spirits and spread encouragement.”