Staring down at a table and nervously glancing up at the screen every time he hears a new name, West Fargo High School senior Ali Al Saegh waits for his category to be called.
His eyes stick to the screen. He is unsure of the process because it is his first year competing in Health Occupation Students of America.
“It’s pretty intense. You meet a lot of intelligent people,” president of HOSA Saegh said. “I got first place in medical math, second place in prepared speaking and my group got second in HOSA bowl.”
HOSA is a first-year group for future health professionals. It was started by health sciences teacher Holly Strand because she wanted a club in the school district that could generate interest
or a broader group
“There wasn’t currently anything, to my knowledge, that catered to students with a passion for medicine,” Strand said. “I wanted our students to have a chance to compete and show what intelligent young adults we have in our two schools (Sheyenne and West Fargo).”
Saegh joined because he thought the club was unique and thought it would be a good use of his time.
He did not expect his team to do as well as they did their first year competing at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.
The team walked away with 11 people qualifying for the national competition in Orlando, Fla., on June 25-28.
The news excited Hannah Slagle, club secretary, because she initially joined hoping to go to Florida to test her medical knowledge. Slagle was a little surprised she qualified because she did not prepare as much as she thought she should.
“I just thought about how much all my teachers have helped and what I actually learned,” Slagle said. “You never know how much information your brain can hold until it’s put to the test. It’s truly incredible.”
Saegh and Slagle are both planning on going into the medical field. Saegh will attend Concordia College and Slagle will head off to the University of Nebraska.
“I love their (University of Nebraska’s) medical department,” Slagle said. “I got a scholarship there, so that makes it all the better.”
HOSA has helped to prepare the club members in various ways. It has encouraged students to study harder to perform better in the competitions, such as medical terminology, medical math and prepared speaking.
“On the first day we all had the HOSA bowl,” Saegh said. “The next day we had other competitions. What’s nerve-wracking for me is you don’t get to see the other people in your competition. I couldn’t see the speeches before me, and I went last.”
Next year, the organization will be open to all grades at both Sheyenne and West Fargo schools, and they hope to continue their outcomes in competition. Strand is proud of the fact the team did as well as it did in its first year.
“It was awesome as an adviser to see these students excel,” Strand said. “We didn’t know what to expect, and it was a great outcome. (HOSA) is a great resume builder and may be what sets you apart from other students when you get to the point of applying to various programs in college.”
The Packer Weekly is an ongoing
column authored by high school journalism students with the intent
of providing insight into a variety of school-related topics and activities.