More than 20 southeast South Dakota students are preparing to take off for Nashville, Tennessee to compete on a national stage. There the students showcase their skills in health science.
Washing your hands has many health benefits, but even people who stand at the sink often to ward off germs and keep clean don’t often spend enough time scrubbing up/
"Generally it's supposed to take three minutes, so when you wash your hands, go all out," Canton high school junior Athena Strubbe says.
Strubbe participates in a student organization for future health professionals.
"At the state competition, we did hand washing and vital signs," Strubbe says. "For vital signs, there’s temperature, pulse, respiration rates, and blood pressure."
People see the precision necessary for taking accurate vital signs, but hand washing is a different art.
"You have to start by getting your hands all lathered up with soap and then you have to scrub for a while and use a brush for your nails, and they just watch your technique and if you make sure to do all the stuff and you have to not touch inside the sink because it’s full of germs and other gross stuff," Strubbe says.
Strubbe is one of 22 students from Sioux Falls and the surrounding area to win medals at state and advance to nationals in variety of health-related activities. Strubbe competes in nursing skills. Sioux Falls Christian senior Caeden Tinklenberg participates in research-based activities.
"We did some blood grouping. So you take blood that you don’t know what type of blood it is – A, B, AB, O, and you can mix different antigens with it to decide which type of blood it is, depending on if it coagulates. That means it’s reacting, so it means it’s that type of blood," Tinklenberg says.
He also proves his knowledge of microscope setup, use and procedure. These are the basics of real-world health skills. Tinklenberg says the competitions encompass more than only the skill. First, students have to score well enough on a knowledge test to move on to part two of the competition.
"You are judged on your appearance. You have to come in proper business attire and look ready to work, and there’s a set time you have to perform your skill in," Tinklenberg says. "And mostly the scoring is done based on how well you can perform the skill without messing up or making a mistake or something like that."
These students are part of HOSA, a high school student organization for future health professionals. Allison Hutchinson is one of the advisories for HOSA at the CTE Academy in Sioux Falls.
"HOSA is similar to FFA, if you have any background in that, or FCCLA, other student organizations, DECA is focused on leadership and marketing," Hutchinson says.
Her students compete categories such as biotechnology or biomedical debate. They compete in first aid and EMT skills, nutrition, development, and medical ethics.
"The kinds of experiences that students had at state, and now a few of them will be going on to nationals, are experiences that I just can’t replicate in the classroom for them," Hutchinson says. "Gaining confidence, standing in front of people, being able to speak well and communicate all of your thoughts, are just things that sometimes just standing up giving a classroom presentation doesn’t give you the edge that you need to compete well."
Even if that means standing up and giving a presentation, which is part of Sioux Falls Roosevelt senior Kylea Larsen’s event.
"I had to write a research paper ahead of time before the event, and then, at state HOSA, you go in the room, there’s judges and you have to give a speech about the paper you have written," Larsen says.
She writes and speaks about junk food in schools, and judges score her oratory on everything from word choice to posture. Larsen took first place at state, but now she’s readying her work for a nationwide audience.
"Practicing the speech and changing, see if I can find other ways to say things, just make it better, improving the paper and the speech that way," Larsen says.
The point of HOSA is to encourage students to seriously consider making careers in emerging health fields. Kylea Larsen, Caeden Tinklenberg and Athena Strubbe all plan to work as physicians, researchers or health specialists. With those long-term goals on the horizon, the HOSA students have a more acute focus until the end of June: Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee.
Gold medal winners include:
Lauren Hill (Tea), Hunter Parlet (RHS), Adrianna SanMiguel (LHS), Aubrey Snell (RHS) in Community Awareness; Dylan Cole (Tri-Valley), Jacob Dancler (Tea), Breanna Fischer (WHS), Erin Kinder (Tri-Valley) in HOSA Bowl; Kaitlynn Foss (RHS) in Extemporaneous Health Poster; Kylea Larsen (RHS) in Researched Persuasive Speaking; Israel Haile (NTH) in Medical Spelling; Emily Kaufman (LHS) in Medical Math; Caeden Tinklenberg (SFC) in Biotechnology; and Skyla Neuharth (Harrisburg) in Clinical Specialty
Silver medalists include:
Allison Walter (Baltic) in Medical Spelling; Ashley Bailey (RHS) in Clinical Specialty; and Athena Strubbe (Canton) in Nursing Assisting
Bronze medal winners include:
Sebastian Acuna (NTH) & Zach Fenhaus (WHS) in Forensic Medicine; Breanna Fischer (WHS) in Researched Persuasive Speaking; Rosmarie Clauson (LHS) in Medical Math; Israel Haile (NTH) in Medical Reading; and Natosha Hiipakka (LHS) & Kaitlyn Eidem (West Central) in CPR/ First Aid