HOSA students advance to nationals


Provided by: Jai Arora

Juniors Jai Arora and Shraavya Chittoor pose with their award after winning 2nd place at State. They participated in Health Career Display.

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) will be going to nationals June 27-30 at the Dallas Convention Center after winning at state on April 12-14 at Gaylord Texan.

Three teams will be representing the school at nationals. Seniors Maleeha Ahmad and Anna Furnival and juniors Jai Arora, Shraavya Chittoor, Neha Philip, Cieona Rajaretnam, and Pritika Iyer will be attending.

“I feel shocked,” Arora said. “I never thought we’d make it this far. We were just shooting to make it past the area [competition] and I can’t believe we made it to nationals. I’m ready to put forth my best.”

Arora and Chittoor participated in “Health Career Display” in which they selected ophthalmology to research on. They built a model of an opthamologist building, and focused on researching diabetic retinopathy – a condition of the eyes caused by diabetes – and made eye models to represent a healthy eye versus an eye with diabetic retinopathy.

“We did all sorts of research [about] ophthalmology,” Arora said. “[We learned about] what you need to do to become an opthamologist, an ophthalmologist’s working hours and salary. Then we called many different ophthalmologists and learned about what’s new in the field.”

The second part of their event was the oral part, in which they were required to display a presentation in front of three judges.

“Those judges looked like they were ready to criticize you to the fullest,” Arora said. “It did catch us off guard, but we went to state with just the hopes of doing our best. We worked very hard to get here, but it was more about the experience and the fun.”

Another group that will be going to nationals is participating in “Creative Problem Solving.” Iyer, Rajaretnam and Philip will take a written test in the first round, and if they qualify to go to the next round, they will be required to create a presentation based on a medical scenario.

“We developed an outline beforehand so it would be easier doing a presentation, so [in the competition] all we would have to do is fill in the outline to fit the scenario,” Iyer said. “At state, we spoke for longer, which put us [at the top].”

Iyer’s group knows nationals will be competitive, but she hopes the team will make it to round two. She attributes her team’s success to the bond she has with her teammates.

“[We] have a really big advantage because we’re all best friends,” Iyer said. “We all know each other really well so we are not afraid to criticize each other. The way we share our work [is special because] not one person is controlling [of the team] and we are all equal.”

Sponsor Julie Cone will be taking the HOSA group to nationals for the first time. She claims that this is the most students HOSA will be taken to nationals since the creation of the club.

“I feel that they did a fabulous job,” Cone said. “They are committed to what they are doing. I am very proud of my students.”