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Lutheran North students take part in health conference

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Nearly 3,000 students from across Michigan competed in a single-day conference aimed at helping students become leaders in the global health community.

The 41st annual Michigan HOSA State Leadership Conference took place April 23. Due to the pandemic, it was held virtually.

In Macomb Township, one school that took part in the conference was Macomb Lutheran North, which had 17 students competing in nine events.

Health Occupations Students of America, or HOSA, is now known as HOSA-Future Health Professionals.

In a YouTube video posted to kick off the conference, MIHOSA State President Riya Chakravanty said students from around the state earned the right to participate in the conference based on their performance at one of the regional conferences.

“The state conference is designed to reward you for your efforts in the classroom, the health science field, and to give you the recognition your work deserves,” she said.

North’s chapter began as an after-school club during the 2017-2018 school year.  

After the conference, Lutheran North Science Teacher and HOSA Advisor Nicole  Mandziara said that, although no students placed in the top three, she considered it a success.

“We had 17 of 23 competitors from the virtual Regional Leadership Conference in the fall place in the top 10 in their events, which qualified them for competing in the SLC. For that accomplishment, each of those students should be very proud.”

Scoring well enough on their tests to advance to the second round were Gabby Petrella in biomedical laboratory science and Allison Mandziara in clinical nursing.

“They were each assigned a time in the afternoon and sent a link to join Zoom to be judged for performing their skill,” Nicole Mandziara said. “Gabby had to perform the Infection Control & Transmission-Based Precautions skill, and Allison had to perform the Assisting the Patient with Postoperative Exercises skill. They both did a very nice job.”

At the conference, competitors determined the best of the best in their event. Students who placed in the top three of their event may represent Michigan at HOSA’s International Leadership Conference.

Events included biomedical laboratory science, behavioral health, biomedical debate, CPR and first aid skills, clinical nursing skills, and pharmacy science skills.

Nicole Mandziara said the school competed in the conference last year, just before the pandemic began.  

“Out of our 17 students, eight of them competed in events that require them to take a test,” she said. “Their tests vary based on their skills.”

 Three North students competed in the biomedical lab science skill, which required a 75-minute test.

Students took tests in clinical nursing, medical law and ethics, nutrition, medical math and behavioral health.

“All of those events, they study for,” Nicole Mandziara said. “They are given guidelines and are competing with other students. Whoever scores the highest wins a medal.”

She added that a couple of the tests involve multiple rounds.

Tests were scored, and the top 30 students advanced to the second round.

The other nine North students were involved in events that either had to put a poster together for a presentation, like a public service announcement; create a video; or participate in research, persuasive writing and speaking.

 Beginning in September, North students began preparing for the conference.

“In order to compete at the state leadership conference, they have to qualify, and that is determined by placing high enough at the regional leadership conference in the fall,” Nicole Mandziara said.

She said for a conference like this, what’s nice is that students can attend a health career fair, where they can open up virtual sessions and gain more knowledge on specific careers.

Nicole Mandziara noted that she loves seeing the passion, drive and determination that students have shown to do well.

“I like seeing them grow and seeing the satisfaction they get when they win medals and are recognized for their hard work,” she said. “I’ve had kids that graduate and come back saying they are pursuing their career in biomedical lab science or nursing and saying that HOSA was a huge help.”  

Results were posted April 26 with an online awards ceremony.