By Diane Glidewell
The Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA) State Leadership Conference and Competition was held in Athens near the University of Georgia campus on Thursday through Saturday, March 4, 5, and 6. Jackson High School took 44 students to the event, representing the strong HOSA program at JHS.
All of the students gained in knowledge and experience from competing in various categories of interest and also from attending the many workshops and symposiums available. And five JHS students brought home awards which qualify them to advance to the national competition in Orlando, Florida this summer. Each of these students had placed at the region level before advancing to State.
Ryan Filbeck, a junior at JHS, placed first in the State in First Aid and CPR. This was Ryan's second year to compete, and he was determined to do well. He worked and practiced repeatedly toward that goal and proved his skills to be the best.
Chance' Pullen and Bailey Smith, both JHS juniors, placed second in the State as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). This was the first year to enter the competition for Chance'' and Bailey.
Freshman McKenzie Clark also qualified for nationals by placing second in the state in Job Interview Skills. Sophomore Kristen Brooks earned a third place finish for JHS HOSA.
Brandon Greggs, who has been elected JHS HOSA president for the 2010-1011 school year, will also go to nationals with the group for leadership training.
Other students from Jackson who did well in State Competition included those in the Quiz Bowl team. They placed ninth in the State: Hannah Kline, Jo Jo Kersey, Alex Ortiz, Kathryn Berry, and Alexis Giddens.
Lauren Waits earned Honorable Mention in Medical Terminology, and Chelsea Jordan and Destin Barnes earned Honorable Mention for their Healthcare Display. "Honorable Mention" means placing in the top 10 in the state; exact places were not designated after third place in these categories.
Other JHS students who participated in the State Conference included Brittney Norris, Randi Carlyle, Ashley Campbell, Aidan Price, Zachary Trotter, Sara Beth Bomar, Jelinda Ellis, Elizabeth Pinel, Tekeya Tyus, Keara Head, Ben Cawthon, Cody Barnes, Josh Henderson, Alexis Mabros, Carolann Curlee, Quiera Walker, Itiana Grier, Ana Anderson, Lexi Robinson, Tabby Loftin, Kayla Singleton, Shanice Daniel, Kierra Watts, Casandra Newton, Laquecia Mann.
Over 3,000 students participated in the weekend in Athens. There will be approximately 10,000 students at the National HOSA Conference and Competition in Orlando.
"I am often asked, 'How do you do it in our little county?' said JHS HOSA advisor Jodi Braswell. "The answer is my outstanding advisory board and all of the people in this community who are willing to give their time and resources to the students."
The students were thrilled with the visible show of support they received in the form of a police escort back into Butts County when they returned from the Athens competition as winners.
Mrs. Braswell spoke of how the Butts County Sheriff's Office has helped to train the CERT students and to teach others skills in emergency response. Linda Godin and Frankie Willis have spent many hours working with students on interview skills. Dr. Lezlie Biles is always willing to help students gain skills to prepare them for medical professions. Gail Carrouth always responds to students interested in pursuing veterinary fields. Sean Wallace helped students prepare for the written segments of their competitions.
BCSO Sgt. Josh Oberst and Lt. Tim Filbeck have spent countless hours helping students prepare. They also accompanied the Jackson group as chaperones. Lauren Oberst and Leah Nix were also chaperones, and Sonny and Jodi Braswell attend as school advisors for the group.
"The students were all well-behaved," said Mrs. Braswell. "They picked up ideas of things they want us to learn in class, and they are all telling me they want to compete again next year."
HOSA is working hard to raise the money needed for the students who qualified to attend nationals. Expenses will be $1,600 per student. Students are required to stay at the Disney Coronado Resort, which has been reserved in its entirety by HOSA, and competition fees are $90 per student. The group had to make its down payment by March 8 and has various fundraisers planned. The students and their supportive adults have given up all of their April weekends for fundraisers.
"We are proud of the practical, hands-on skills students learn in our classes," said Mr. Braswell "Our greatest rewards are just seeing these kids succeed."