By Terri Ferguson Smith / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Some 450 high school students from 26 counties descended upon the Meridian Community College campus Saturday to compete in the Health Occupations Students of America Mississippi Central District competition.
"Lots of nerves going on right now," said Sandra Parker, director of Student Organizations at the Mississippi Department of Education.
HOSA is for health science students in high school or college.
Students Saturday competed in everything from dental and medical spelling to knowledge tests in various medical subject areas and hands on CPR and EMT scenarios.
"If they do HOSA, they are doing a little bit more than what is required," Parker said. "It helps them and it helps the teachers because they have another resource that they can use in their classroom."
MCC's Sally Morgan, Central District HOSA coordinator, helped plan the event.
"It gives them a lot of experience," Morgan said. "I think it's a good experience for all of them."
Richard McAlister, associate vice president of Career and Technology Education at MCC, said this competition will help students later on.
"They are vying to get into programs, everything from nursing to radiologic technology to physical therapy. These are good paying jobs for them," McAlister said. "This competition gives these students an opportunity to showcase their skills."
Megan O'Brien, a student at Southeast Lauderdale High School, said she wants to earn a bachelor of science in nursing so she can become an ER nurse.
Haley Jones, also a student at Southeast, said she wants to become an X-ray technician.
This is the 22nd year that MCC has hosted the Central District competition. Since 1976, the mission of HOSA has been to build and maintain a pipeline of qualified students to pursue health professions.