Kingsland’s future health professionals keeping active

SUBMITTED PHOTO Ten students in the HOSA-Future Health Professionals chapter at Kingsland High School attended a mid-winter regional conference in Rochester. In front, from left, are Brayden Betts, Cassie Jones and Allyson Horsman. In back are Garrison Hubka, Wesley Dean, Reed Jeno, Haley Vreeman, Alexis Holland, Emily Biermann and Dylan Mlinar.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

The HOSA-Future Health Professionals chapter at Kingsland High School is continuing to grow in its second year of existence with 15 active members.

Kingsland sent 10 members to the HOSA mid-winter regional conference at Rochester Community Technical College on Jan. 10 that attracted close to 100 students from the area. Kingsland advisor Kevin Geer was pleased to take the high school’s health career-minded students to the regional conference, which was meant to test their medical knowledge and skills in competition as part of the organization that offers them such training as an extracurricular activity.

Students participated in a number of events that included HOSA Bowl, CPR/first aid, sports medicine, pharmacology, behavioral health, health career display and extemporaneous health poster. In addition to those events, they could have participated in pharmacy science or epidemiology, among other categories.

“A lot of the things they learn in biology, anatomy and physiology, principles of biomedical science, and human body systems (classes) were a part of what they competed in,” Geer said. “A number have branched out and beyond that, and we work on those things after school. This month, we will be learning more about CPR and AEDs (automated external defibrillators).”

Kingsland’s HOSA chapter, which began at the outset of the 2018-2019 school year, meets twice a month, one morning to talk about fundraisers and logistics, one evening for an activity night. Members can come in and practice the skills on their own anytime as often as they want.

For most members, the regional competition was their first HOSA competition, although one student competed last year at the state leadership conference. This year, six to eight members are considering attending the state conference. The regional competition was to practice for the state conference in St. Cloud at the end of March, noted Geer. Students who place in the top three in their event in state qualify for the international leadership conference in Texas this summer.

 The regional competition afforded the students their first experiences in testing their medical procedural knowledge and their understanding of medical concepts.

“The students found out how much more they have to learn and that there is a lot they need to do to be prepared for future competitions – especially the seventh through ninth graders, who have quite a few years ahead of them. There is so much there to learn, and we are still early in the club,” Geer said. “One of the biggest challenges is doing the competitions without knowing what it will be like. Students who have been doing it for years know what they need to bring, what they need to say and what they need to show. We are still learning. It was great to get to see what others do because we are still a very inexperienced club at these competitions.

“They enjoyed getting to see how many other students from other schools were excited about HOSA and the medical field. There were many kids there who have been a part of HOSA for years. It was great for me, too, as I got to meet other advisors from chapters around southeast Minnesota. For the kids, it was seeing how we stack up with our small amount of experience and that we can still go toe to toe with people who have been doing this for a while. We might not win, but we will learn and get better.”

Participation in HOSA has numerous benefits, such as preparing students for their future careers – or not.

“For some of them, it is about finding what they want to do or sometimes, more importantly, what they don’t want to do in the future,” Geer said. “They get exposed to so many things that they would never see in school normally. They get to collaborate with students from other schools and learn from each other.”

Geer remarked that he enjoys advising HOSA for “the enthusiasm of the kids” since those involved are interested in the medical field and want to learn more about it.

“They are excited to learn and then even more excited to show it off,” he said. “The more excited they are, the more into it I’m able to get, and this year, the kids have been great. They work hard but have fun. They have a great attitude and are setting themselves up for a very bright future.”

The community has been very generous to HOSA and that makes a very important difference in students being able to practice and compete at HOSA meets, he added. Several local businesses have donated money and the group held a tip night at the Pizza Place, in which the “turnout and support from the community was amazing,” Geer said.

“We are still working on getting the supplies that we need to practice and prepare for, as well as take to, competition,” he said. “The donations we have received have gone a long way, but it disappears fast when we travel to competition, pay entry fees and transportation. Without the generosity of the community, we would not be able to get as many kids involved in these opportunities as we have.”

He’d like the Kingsland community to know “that these types of programs exist” since there are so many people who have never heard about HOSA or know about the opportunities it offers.

“These are kids that work hard outside of their normal classroom to prepare themselves for a future that they can be excited about,” Geer said. “The kids in HOSA are already looking forward to their future and the path to get to where they want to be.”

For more information on HOSA, log onto the HOSA website at