On March 26-29, Brownwood High School’s local HOSA organization took 20 students to San Antonio, Texas, to compete in the 2014 HOSA State Leadership Conference.

The following students are state winners: Amelia Collins (second place - Medical Reading), Sherlyn Hogue (third place - Researched Persuasive Speaking), Danna Robertson (third place - Life Support Skills), Garrett Barnum (Top 20% - Health Care Issues Exam), Johnny Crook (fifth place - Personal Care), and Ariel Todd ($500 Sue Alder Scholarship Recipient).

This year the theme at the conference was Coloring Health Care with the Spirit of HOSA. Students were able to enjoy some food and entertainment before the competition began. “While our students had a great time eating on the river walk and watching the comedian/poet act at opening session, they ultimately came to compete,” stated BHS Health Science Teacher, Annalyn Deen. “Many students had to take a written exam to determine if they would advance to the skills portion of their event.”

Marissa Blincoe was the first in Brownwood HOSA history to pass her exam and advance to the skills round of Dental Science. Along with Blincoe, Johnny Crook and Danna Robertson competed against the top 10 in their event in skills. “In the skills portion, each competitor is given a random scenario in which one to three skills are to be performed, each of which is timed,” explained Deen. “It is a very stressful situation, but if you came prepared you can succeed.”

Danna Robertson placed third in her skills event, Life Support Skills, and will advance to Nationals. Sherlyn Hogue and Amelia Collins will be attending the National leadership conference as well.

Both Collins and Hogue were State competitors from 2013. “Amelia came back in her event, Medical Reading, with something to prove, as she was 1st in Texas last year,” stated Deen. “This year she was second at State. It is an amazing feat to be at the top of your event two years in a row.” Amelia read five books selected by HOSA and then took a 50 question test with a tie breaker essay question. “She came out of the event feeling like she had answered all 50 questions correctly,” noted Deen.

Hogue has competed in Researched Persuasive Speaking for three years. “She is a dynamic speaker that packs a big punch,” stated Deen. “The previous years’ experience paid off as this year she won third place and qualified for Nationals.”

Hogue had to research this year’s theme “Obesity: Disease or Choice,” and write a two page essay defending one side or the other. Hogue then prepared a four minute speech that brought in the most recent statistics and hot topics about obesity. “Sherlyn was the last of 19 competitors to give her speech and sat in the holding room for three hours,” said Deen. “She apparently blew the judges away.”

Garrett Barnum, a senior at Brownwood High School who jokingly calls himself the “founding father” of Brownwood HOSA, finally accomplished his goal of attending a National Leadership Conference by taking a current health events test and placing in the top 20% this year. Barnum was a freshman when the program began and has been an active member all four years. At Nationals the first place winner in his event will receive a scholarship.

“Garrett currently is completing his Health Science Course pathway in the Pharmacy Technician Certification class,” explained BHS Health Science teacher, Ann Tew. “He plans to attend Angelo State University and move on to pharmacy school from there. Garrett exemplifies all that HOSA represents and our chapter has been fortunate to benefit from his leadership.”

Also among those that received recognition at the conference was BHS senior, Ariel Todd, who won the $500 Sue Alder Scholarship presented by Texas Health Occupations Association, Inc. (THOA). Todd plans to join the Ranger College Nursing program in the fall of 2014.

“Overall our State leadership conference was a blazing success,” said Deen. “We continue to make HOSA history year after year. When you combine the dedication of two healthcare providers as teachers with the passion of future healthcare provider students, success is bound to follow.”

The National Leadership Conference will be held this summer, June 24-28, in Orlando, Florida at Disney World.

“We know from past experience that this trip will be fun yet expensive for our students,” said Deen. “We will be planning a fundraiser to help raise money for each student.”

Anyone interested in making a donation to benefit BHS HOSA students, please contact BHS HOSA advisors, Annalyn Deen or Ann Tew at Brownwood High School.

“I am so blessed to have such wonderful students who have a passion for health care and a passion for learning,” noted Deen. “They will make absolutely wonderful health care providers one day.”