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Kayhi HOSA scores big in Anchorage


Daily News Staff Writer

Ketchikan High School's Health Occupations Students of America team of 23 brought home 24 medals from this past weekend's Anchorage competition, after earning 33 total placements in various competitions.

Kayhi's new HOSA coach, Leif Sivertsen, said they earned one more medal this year than last, and he hopes that means the group is strong and growing. He took over the group from its founder, Shawnmarie Carpenter, who retired from teaching this past year.

Most of the students in Kayhi's HOSA team are enrolled in the Advanced Placement class Medical Terminology, but it is not a requirement, Sivertsen said.

The event, held Thursday through Saturday at the Anchorage Hilton hotel, was filled out by other groups as well, such as the Career and Technical Student Organization and the youth business group DECA. All attendees at the event are allowed to participate in activities and competitions offered by other organizations, Sivertsen said.

Kayhi junior Cynthia Griffin said that was an enjoyable part of the competition for her.

"I loved the workshops," she said. "Every year, they have these great workshops." This is her second year of involvement with HOSA.

Griffin said she will be the Kayhi HOSA president next year, and she also won an elected state-officer position while at the event, edging out 14 other candidates. She said she and the other state officers will know their specific titles when their roles are sorted out in about a month.

To vie for office, Griffin said she had to give a speech in front of about 500 conference-goers.

She said she plans to earn a degree in sonography from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., then a certificate in ultrasound.

Griffin gets excited when talking about the importance of HOSA, and her passion shone through when she spoke of her regret that the activity is not an Alaska School Activities Association-recognized event.

"It's a shame, it's just such a great program," she said. She added that she would be happy to see the medals earned by the members displayed in Kayhi's halls.

Griffin said she plans to work on starting HOSA groups in other Southeast communities, and hopes to travel to Craig and Sitka, for example, to help build enthusiasm and share her experiences. She said mentor Christa Bruce is the one who is brought up the idea that she spearhead other Southeast programs, and she realized she was facing a big project.

"Oh, my goodness, I'm about to get really busy," she said she thought.

HOSA involvement helps to build leadership, Griffin said. She won a leadership award at the Anchorage event, as well as a fourth-place award with partner Shanna Anderson in community-response-team skills.

Griffin also wants to work to make HOSA a student-based organization, so that it is more independent. She said that would build leadership skills and responsibility in its members.

"I want to be the person that they can rely on," she said. "I want to prove it can be a student-run program."

Membership in HOSA brings many benefits, Griffin said, adding, "It really opens up your mind as to what you can do."

Kayhi junior Eimy Anzueto participated in HOSA for the first time this year.

"At first, I heard there was a bunch of tests, and then you get medals," she said.

She said she was scared it would be really difficult, but, at the competition, she realized she was doing fine.

The event is organized into written tests delivered over several hours on the first day, and hands-on workshops focused on skills such as nursing, CPR/First Aid and emergency medicine on the second day. There also were a few medical-terminology spelling bees Friday.

The team of Megan Alvey and Torin Oaksmith earned a first-place in CPR/First Aid at the event. Bryana Homan and Sydney Cooper won third place.

First- and second-place in the dental spelling bee were won by Jamielyn Paule and Roselyn Cachero. Benz Guillermo, Anzueto and Homan won first through third place in medical spelling.

Alysha Cadiente won second-place in sports medicine, and Alvey, third. Abbie Sweetman won third in extemporaneous speaking, and Roselyn Cachero, May Brown and Griffin won first- through third-place in dental terminology.

Sweetman won first-place in pathophysiology, Drake Goodson second, and Sara Gomez, third. Cachero won third-place in pharmacology.

Sweetman also won third-place in human growth and development. Ella Sherril won first and Mary Flora won third in medical law and ethics.

Jackson Landis won first-place in medical terminology, and Sweetman, third.

Anzueto said her favorite part of the event was "bonding with everybody."

She said next year she is excited to study hard and aim high: "For sure, I have a huge chance of making it to the top three."

She is planning a career in medical forensics, where she would be responsible for examining bodies.

Kayhi's medical terminology students will be starting their job-shadowing stints in early April, Anzueto said. She has requested the emergency room and general surgery. She said she really has enjoyed involvement in the HOSA team as a way to prepare for her career.

"It's not just about, 'Oh, we take tests and get medals,' but it's about how much you want to go into this health field."