West Shore ESD hosts HOSA regional at WSCC

SCOTTVILLE — Anyone visiting the campus of West Shore Community College on Friday morning may have thought they were walking into some kind of mock disaster training session.

The West Shore Educational Service District (ESD) Career Tech Education program hosted the Region 6 Health Occupation Students of America competition on the campus of West Shore Community College on Friday. More than 350 students from an area including Petoskey to Holland competed in the event.

At several locations around the campus there were high school students wearing nurse uniforms or wearing first responder type equipment. Students were also performing a variety of accident and health care services on live participants and medical dummies.

The West Shore Educational Service District (ESD) Career Tech Education was hosting the Regional 6 Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) Future Health Professionals competition. About 350 students (including about 40 local students) from Petoskey to Holland came to WSCC to compete in over 40 events hoping to qualify for the state and then national competition or some scholarships.

Michigan HOSA has been in existence since 1980 and nationally it has been going since 1978. Because they came on so early, Michigan is considered one of the charter states.

West Shore ESD Career Tech and ASM Academy principal Lynda Matson said it was an exciting day for the students. She said they competed in events like the HOSA Bowl, Biomedial Science, Lab, Physical Therapy, CPR/First Aid, Medical Spelling and much more.

“What a great group of students we have here today,” said Matson. “They chose their events earlier and have been practicing them to prepare for this competition. There is a wide variety of things for students to come and participate in today. It gives them the chance to gain some leadership skills and work collaboratively, so it is a just a great day.”

Matson said this is just the first step in a process.

“Today is the regional event and students that place in the top 10 can participate in the state event and then hopefully to the national one,” said Matson. “Students want to do well here so they can move up to the next events.”

By being successful in these type of events it gives the student the opportunity to put what they accomplish on their resume.

“Kids who have taken part in this event in the past say it is one of the best things they ever did in high school,” Matson said.

It has been about six years since the HOSA Regional has been held at WSCC.

“This is the first time in a long time that we held it here, as it has been held at Baker College in Muskegon since that time,” said Matson. “We brought it back because we wanted to showcase the WSCC campus. We have three Allied Health programs at CTE this year and it is the first time we offered Health Occupations besides  two Allied Health programs. So it is great to have the kids come here and see all we have to offer on campus.”

Matson pointed out that it took a real community effort of the Health Occupational Services community to pull off the event.

“Something else that is very nice is the number of people from the local hospitals and medical community who came out today to judge the events,” she said.

HOSA officials were also impressed with the efforts of the West Shore ESD in hosting the event. Michigan HOSA’s Mark Burley said for the students even bigger opportunities lie down the road.

“Michigan HOSA has nine regions in the state and those who finish in the top 10 in their event today qualify for the State Leadership Conference at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids on March 21 and 22,” he said. “When they place at the first, second or third at the state they go the HOSA International Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla. at the Coranado Disneyland Resort in June.”

Burley said the West Shore ESD has sent teams to the nationals including last year, so they know how to run an event of this type.

“West Shore ESD has a dynasty in CPR/First Aid which is a very difficult event and a popular one,” Burley said. “So it is kind of outstanding that (West Shore ESD Allied Health instructor Sally Wright) sends students every year in CPR/First Aid to the National.”

Something else which comes out of the competition, according to Burley, is it proves to employers that these students are being taught the proper procedures.

“Employers right now are looking for dependability and the ability to work as a team member and a lot of these events help foster that in those students, so being a part of this helps foster that in their future careers,” said Burley.

Wright said the Region 6 District is the largest geographical area for the HOSA competition, but actually the smallest in numbers. She said it is an excellent way to prepare the students for the next step in pursuing a career.

“The goal of HOSA is to prepare them for a career in health,” said Wright. “In this event they know what their skill is, but it teaches them how to think on their feet. If they are given a scenario it is real life health care situation such as the CPR/First Aid where if they come upon accident what are you going to do. It teaches them the steps and they also learn leadership and the ability to think on their feet.”

HOSA recently went international adding Canada and Spain to the international competition and in the future they hope to draw in China.

“It has become a world-wide event,” said Wright. “It is the largest student run organization in the nation,” she said.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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