Nearly sixty excited students buzz inside of a small science classroom, the door of the room barely closing to accommodate the horde of kids. At the front of the room, senior Vincent Pan waits patiently for the last latecomers to file in – he begins his presentation. A subtle sense of anticipation arises among the students as Pan begins speaking about volunteer opportunities and vital competition dates. This crowded classroom belongs to one of the most popular clubs at Clark, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), led by club President Vincent Pan and advisors Mrs. Ward and Mrs. Saiki.
HOSA is a medical competition where students compete annually on the state (and potentially international) level in healthcare-related events. The club offers a variety of events for students to compete in, ranging from team-based events to independently taken knowledge tests. Expectations have already been set high for this year’s state competition in January.
“This year we have a wide variety of different students, and every one of them is really talented,” said Pan. “I expect a really good turnout at the state competition.”
Last year, Clark HOSA made major strides at both the state and national levels, with multiple medals from international finals. In response to this taste of success on a greater scale, students this year have already begun preparing for competition and strategically eyeing events that might suit them. As crowds of students join the club, there is no doubt that they are also after the coveted spots on the national podium.
“I’m not sure what event I’m going to do,” says freshman Chloe Kim in summation of many competitors’ zeal for the gold. “ I just hope I can win.”
Ammie Wang, one of last year’s international winners, agrees with the competitive mindset of many HOSA members by stating that winning, was the best part of her nationals experience.
“I competed in Medical Law last year at ILC, and it was an amazing experience,” says senior Ammie Wang. “All the hard work paid off when I got that silver medal.”
Although competition and victory are core aspects of HOSA, the club is also very devoted to improving Las Vegas’ community. In order to attend the State Leadership Conference in January, Clark HOSA members must complete five hours of community service before winter break. Many students earn their hours by attending walks, such as the Las Vegas Heart and Stroke Walk or the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“We’re trying to get them more involved in the community, as well as be more prepared for the events they’re participating in,” said Pan.
With a foundation of dedicated members laid out for the rest of the year, HOSA is poised for smooth sailing with a stable flow of competitive contestants and contribution to the community. During the following months nearing the State Leadership Competition (SLC), expect to see more and more of your friends engrossed in thick anatomy and epidemiology textbooks, and their weekends booked with volunteer events. The dedication HOSA members have to their club is clear.
It will certainly be tough, and competition is never easy in the medical field, says Pan. But he remains optimistic.
“We’re definitely going to put our best foot forward at SLC. It’s going to be a great year.”