A number of Forsyth County middle and high school students are advancing to the Health Occupations Students of America, or HOSA, international leadership conference after recently competing at the state level.
The state leadership conference, or SLC, was held March 9-11 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Winners will travel to Orlando, Florida, in June for the next stage.
Two of the county’s middle schools, Otwell and South Forsyth, competed in the SLC and received accolades for their work.
Three of the county’s five brick-and-mortar high schools also competed: Forsyth Central, Lambert and North Forsyth.
HOSA, which was established in 1976, is an organization created to provide students with “opportunities to develop as a leader and a future employee,” according to its website.
Over the years, it has become an integral part of health science education curriculums and now provides its members with various instructional tools, leadership training, networking opportunity, scholarships and connections to the health care industry.
“It’s just preparing them early and getting a head start on what they want to do,” said Julie Smith, South Forsyth Middle’s HOSA advisor. “They know what they want to do. They know that they want to be in health care, and seeing them grow is just amazing.”
At the SLC, Smith was named 2017 Georgia HOSA Advisor of the Year, which she said she was honored to receive.
“We’ve only done this for three years so [this award] shows that middle school is important, too,” she said. “It just shows they really embrace HOSA at the [younger] levels.”
Smith took 50 students from South Middle to the March conference, where they competed in 11 events.
Of the 50 students, 32 will advance to the ILC.
“You can already see how the earlier [they’re involved in HOSA] the better, because they are equipped with what they need for high school,” Smith said. “We started HOSA here three years ago and our first president was very shy, but HOSA got her out of her shell and this year, as a sophomore at Lambert, she is president-elect of Georgia HOSA.”
This, Smith said, proves HOSA’s merit.
Based on SLC results, six Otwell students, three Forsyth Central students and 37 Lambert students will advance to the Orlando competition.
Lambert was also named the largest HOSA chapter in Georgia with 545 members and was the largest chapter in attendance at the SLC.