Original article published in the Mower County Independent, Thursday, April 27, 2023. Reprinted with permission and gratitude.
By Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
“They have been working hard to fundraise, including a spaghetti dinner this [past] weekend, and they will also be doing a first aid kit fundraiser soon, as well as potentially a dodgeball tournament. Details are still being worked out, but their goal is to raise $5,000, and seven students will be heading down to the International Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas, in June to represent Kingsland and the state of Minnesota,” cited Kingsland Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) advisor Kevin Geer. She highlighted that the Kingsland chapter of HOSA has a collection of students focused on facilitating travel through selling platefuls of spaghetti, rounding up first aid kits, and kicking it together as organizers of their proposed dodgeball tournament, all activities meant to underwrite the chapter’s mission to fulfill HOSA’s official purpose.
According to the HOSA website, “The mission of HOSA is to empower HOSA-Future Health Professionals to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration and experience. The purpose of HOSA-Future Health Professionals is to develop leadership and technical HOSA skill competencies through a program of motivation, awareness and recognition, which is an integral part of the Health Science Education instructional program. The goals that HOSA believes are vital to each member are to promote physical, mental and social well-being; to develop effective leadership qualities and skills; to develop the ability to communicate more effectively with people; to develop character; to develop responsible citizenship traits; to understand the importance of pleasing oneself as well as being of service to others; to build self-confidence and pride in one’s work; to make realistic career choices and seek successful employment in the healthcare field; to develop an understanding of the importance in interacting and cooperating with other students and organizations; to encourage individual and group achievement; to develop an understanding of current health care issues, environmental concerns and survival needs of the community, the nation and the world; to encourage involvement in local, state and national health care and education projects; to support Health Science Education instructional objectives and to promote career opportunities in health care.”
The site listed the organization’s core values, including learning – “We are committed to learning and becoming respected, knowledgeable and skilled health professionals…we will respect the experiences and contributions of our teachers, peers and patients and seek to learn from them.” Leadership and service also register among HOSA’s core values. “We will serve as role models in our academic program, profession and community. We will be ethical, accountable and trustworthy. We will use our influence to empower others to strive for excellence. We value service. We are dedicated to serving others with compassion. We believe that individuals are important, and we will treat everyone with respect and care.” Finally, it stated, “We value innovation. We are dedicated to enriching the lives of others. We will continuously seek the knowledge and skills to address challenges and improve the health professions.”
Geer, Kingsland’s life science and biology instructor, is proud of his HOSA students for their dedication, curiosity and willingness to try new HOSA health projects and competitions. “Primarily, our activities have been spent practicing various events to prepare for competitions, trying out new events and practicing the ones that they are signed up for. This year, we have had 15 active members, and they have participated in many different events including HOSA Bowl – a Knowledge Bowl-style event where they compete in medical based trivia, emergency medical technician (EMT), parliamentary procedure, extemporaneous writing, persuasive writing and speaking, public speaking, forensic science, and more.” He added, “The state conference was good – we almost did not make it up there due to bad weather” …but they were able to get the high school students there to complete. “Our Parliamentary Procedure team placed first and will be advancing on to the International Leadership Conference in Dallas.”
Previous HOSA projects over the chapter’s nearly five-year history have included learning about biology and medical procedures, holding a teddy bear drive for the Spring Valley Ambulance Service to help EMTs approach and assist children and individuals with special needs, and gaining leadership skills.
Geer previously commented on the chapter’s membership during a prior school year, stating that participation in H has numerous benefits, such as preparing students for their future careers – or not. “For some of them, it is about finding what they want to do or sometimes, more importantly, what they don’t want to do in the future. They get exposed to so many things that they would never see in school normally. They get to collaborate with students from other schools and learn from each other.” He remarked that he enjoys advising HOSA for “the enthusiasm of the kids,” and added, “The kids involved are interested in the medical field and want to learn more about it. They are excited to learn and then even more excited to show it off. The more excited they are, the more into it I’m able to get… they work hard but have fun. They have a great attitude and are setting themselves up for a very bright future.”
Courtesy of the Mower County Independent, 135 E Main St. LeRoy, MN 55951, (507)-324-5325