Leading the pack: Valley High HOSA students headed to international competition

Published 8:00 am Friday, June 21, 2024

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A group of Valley High School HOSA students have made Chambers County School District history by being the first to place on the state level for HOSA International Competitions. Five of the students will be traveling to Houston, Texas on Tuesday to compete on the national and international levels.

Seven students placed at the state competition in February. A team of two competed in CPR and First Aid, a team of four competed in Health Education and one student competed in Prepared Speech.

Molly Williams, Shelby Bell, Lexi Chambers and Madison Chambers, all rising seniors, will be competing as a team in the Health Education category with their project on Caffeine Consumption in their peers, high school students. Williams said they wanted to research a topic that was relevant and interesting to them.

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“We wanted to do something that was like close to home for us,” Williams said. 

Bailey Haney, who graduated this summer, will be competing individually in Prepared Speaking. She prepared a speech on last year’s HOSA theme “Dare to Create.” In the fall, she will be attending Troy University.

The Health Education team came in first place at the state level with their project. Not only did they present their research but they also designed an interactive lesson plan for the classmates to participate in.

Of their classmates, Williams said, “They really were trying and really wanted to help us and they wanted to learn and I think most of them put a lot of effort into helping us.”

Williams, a junior, joined the Health Science class because of her interest in nursing. She plans to become a nurse, and eventually, a nurse practitioner. She knew that her Health Science class would be a great stepping stone as the students could be CNA (Certified Nursing Assistants) certified. 

Bell, on the other hand, is interested in both pharmacy and dentistry. She said she has enjoyed exploring all the various fields she could go into. Next year, the girls will be doing “clinicals” for their CNA class.

They visit industry partners like Etherton Family Dentistry, Riverside Vet or EAMC Lanier to shadow professionals. 

Jennifer Williams, VHS Health Science teacher, said the students are required to have a number of hands-on clinical hours. Through the clinicals, the students get real-world hands-on experience. 

More than that, though, Jennifer Williams said it helps students like Bell get more insight into different healthcare fields and learn which is the right fit for them, if any. 

“The class is valuable if you think you want to go into healthcare. It’ll either help you decide, ‘yes, this is what I want to do’ or ‘this isn’t really for me,’” Jennifer Williams said. “And I think that’s just as valuable to know.”

To help raise money to attend the competition, the students hosted a blood drive with Lifesouth Bloodmobile and held a car wash. Williams said the community has been great about helping them raise the money. 

This was the first year that any students from the school placed at the state competition. 

Jennifer Williams said that seeing their classmates succeed has spurred many of the other Health Science students on. She said she expects to see even more students signing up for the competition next year.