By Auburn Terry

Junior Reporter


Opelika High School’s Heath Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club recently traveled to Disney World after qualifying at the statewide competition.

HOSA placed third at the statewide HOSA Bowl competition in Montgomery, which carried them to the national competition and conference in Orlando, Fla., at Disney World. Advisor for the club at Opelika, Leigh Kemp, said the team had been preparing since before Thanksgiving with textbooks she had given them on different parts of the medical field. Each week the team would meet and play in buzzer rounds to simulate how competitions would be.

Upcoming senior and member of the competing team Adriane King said the assembled team members all did their part and did it well. Each of the members worked hard with the balance of schoolwork and various extracurricular activities.

For HOSA members, the club is not only about competing. The club participates in several community works throughout the year. In the last four years, HOSA has prepared and delivered care packages to medical facilities that support HOSA, created Christmas cards for ill patients at Bethany House, collected and donated items for babies to Women’s Hope Medical Clinic, participated in Pitch in for Pups and Keep Opelika Beautiful, visited patients in nursing homes and hosted LifeSouth Blood Drives. The club motivates students to get involved in healthcare and possibly choose it as a career in the future.

“HOSA has definitely furthered my interest in health careers. It also broadens my knowledge for the world and even helps me study for school with our memorization techniques,” King said.

Kemp helps the students learn to serve willingly in the community and trains the students to become good leaders.

“HOSA opens their minds up to the vast variety of places there are to serve people. It also allows them to work with a vast variety of ages, races, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds,” Kemp said.

Since Kemp has been at Opelika High School, this was the first time HOSA has ever progressed to the national level of HOSA Bowl. Over 6,000 HOSA members from across the nation were in attendence for the conference and vacation at Disney – the largest number ever to go to Nationals. The keynote speakers and sessions at the conference provided much information about various medical fields including nursing, pet therapy, dentistry in third-world countries and even where medicine was predicted to turn in the next 50 years.

A group of four girls competed on the HOSA Bowl team this year, and each of them were added to the team in different ways with different experiences and areas of expertise. King related her favorite part of the entire experience with her team – the moment when the final buzzer sounded in Montgomery, signaling the Opelika team had qualified to go to Nationals at Disney World, especially since this trip would be her first ever visit to Disney World.

As a proud adviser and mentor, Kemp said she was beyond thrilled her team placed and attended Disney World. Her team was smart and prepared thoroughly for the tasks ahead of them and accomplished them with natural ability.

“I feel like this was a good experience for them, being the first time I have taken students to an event this big,” Kemp said.

The HOSA Bowl team members who qualified for state included King, Abbey Rowe, Janie Bigham and Taylor Watson. Breanna Burton specialized in Human Growth and Development. Cerigan Simpson, India Dow, Bekah McCormick, Chazden Blackmon and Kailin Jones were other members on the competitive team who did not qualify but went with the group to Nationals at Disney World.