For the past several weeks, Rochester High School’s HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) has been preparing for regionals, which will take place at RHS on Saturday, Dec.15.
There will be about nine schools competing in a variety of events that test different skills and topics related to health care and medical careers.
“Some events are knowledge tests where you study the topic and take a test on it,” senior HOSA officer Rhea Gupta said. “There are [also] skill events that have you practice certain career related skills and perform them in front of a judge.”
In order to determine which event HOSA members compete in, each student begins by ranking their top three choices. Then, math teacher and HOSA sponsor Ms. Stefanie Shooks reviews these lists and tries to let them compete in their first or second choice, with popular events typically assigned to members with more seniority. From there, students are required to study and prepare for regionals independently, but Gupta feels that is nothing Rochester HOSA can’t handle.
“Our team carries a lot of strength in its hard working members,” Gupta said. “Although the determination of whether you advance to the next level is on an individual basis, everyone is extremely smart and has studied so hard.”
This year, Gupta is competing in the nutrition event. With strong prior knowledge in this area, she is preparing by reviewing material that will be on a test. On the other hand, senior HOSA officer Nidhi Tigadi’s event, Health Career Display, involves a much different course of preparation.
“It is a partner event where we research a health career and create a display board and a five minute speech to go along with it,” Tigadi said. “We chose Psychologist for this year. We usually do research using online resources and by interviewing professionals in the field. Then we work to create an eye-catching display and a speech that explains what’s on our board.”
Despite members’ dedication, RHS HOSA does face several weaknesses regarding the amount of preparation they will be able to put into their events.
“RHS HOSA members are used to having regionals in January,” Tigadi said. “This year, RHS is hosting the regional competition, and it is on Dec. 15, almost a month earlier than the last few years, so we have less time to prepare for events.”
Ms. Shooks is also worried that in comparison to other HOSA chapters across the region, Rochester’s members will not have as much time to study and practice for the upcoming conference.
“Our weakness is since HOSA is not a class at RHS, our students do not get the curriculum and daily study time worked into the school day that other schools do,” Ms. Shooks said.
Regardless, with a team of almost 70 students, many of whom are returning members, both HOSA officers and Ms. Shooks feel that the team has a good chance of advancing to states.
“We have strength in numbers,” Tigadi said. “HOSA at RHS has grown a lot over the last four years. With more people on the team we have a good shot at getting more people to move on to states and beyond.”
Hosting regionals this year has required a joint effort between Ms. Shooks and the officers to make sure the conference runs smoothly and members are kept on task. As the HOSA sponsor, Ms. Shooks plans meetings, runs bagel sales, and organizes money and paperwork. This year, she’s had the added responsibility of coordinating with the State HOSA director to prepare for hosting the competition.
“I’m excited, but also super nervous [to host regionals]” Ms. Shooks said. “Since I am a math teacher, I don’t have as many connections to the medical field as other advisers do, so finding judges and people to volunteer at regionals has been a challenge. I just want the competition to run smoothly and for everyone to have a successful day at RHS.”
Leading up to regionals, both officers have been helping to keep HOSA members up to date and ready to compete.
“As officer, I communicate with members through email and remind so everyone has the information they need to be ready for competition,” Tigadi said. “The officers also organize people into events and help Ms. Shooks run the meetings after school. If people have any questions about HOSA or their event, they will come to one of the officers.”
Overall, Gupta feels confident going into the regional conference and feels that Rochester HOSA’s hard work will pay off.
“I’m very excited for this year’s regional competition since it will be at Rochester and Ms. Shooks has worked so hard to make sure things run smoothly,” Gupta said. “I know HOSA will represent our school well.”