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LHS students win two national championships at national HOSA conference

By Staff | Jul 23, 2015

Lahainaluna High School students who placed in the top ten at the 2015 Health Occupations Students of America National Leadership Conference include (from left): front — Nicole Aceret, Mike Nguyen and Joanna Aceret; middle row — Maybel Galace, Shirlene Companero, Francis Bui, Krizhna Bayudan and Alexis Matias; back row — Nikki Zamani, Kamal Golaube and Chantelle Baclay.

LAHAINA – Lahainaluna High School students achieved two national championships and five top ten finishes at the recent 2015 Health Occupations Students of America National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California.

After advancing through district and state competitions during the 2014-15 school year, thousands of the top HOSA students in the country faced off from June 24-27.

At the event, the top ten winners are announced on stage, and the top three are awarded medallions.

Graduating senior Nicole Aceret came in first place in the Healthy Lifestyle competition, and incoming sophomore Krizhna Bayudan placed first in Medical Photography.

Mike Nguyen and Joanna Aceret of the Class of 2016 finished second in CPR/First Aid, and incoming sophomores Alexis Matias, Shirlene Companero, Maybel Galace and Francis Bui achieved a second place finish in the Public Service Announcement contest.

Lahainaluna High School once again sent a strong team to the 2015 Health Occupations Students of America National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California.

Also invited on stage before more than 8,000 attendees were incoming sophomore Nikki Zamani, who finished fourth in Healthy Lifestyle; recent graduate Chantelle Baclay, who came in eighth place in the Human Growth and Development competition; and incoming senior Kamal Golaube for placing tenth in Sports Medicine.

Their teacher, Malia Shimomura, leader of the Health Services Pathway at Lahainaluna, said, “There’s no way a student can get on stage as a top ten finalist unless they put in relentless hours of studying and preparation. They have practiced and competed at a classroom, district and state level.

“Competing at the national level means they go up against students who worked just as hard as they did. But something I always emphasize is that the competition is only one aspect of this organization and this trip. Leadership, social networking and professionalism are skills that every student who participates will obtain.”

Nicole narrowly missed qualifying for the national contest. When the third place finisher from the state event was unable to attend, Nicole was able to take her place and be Hawaii’s third representative in Healthy Lifestyles.

“Words could not describe how it felt to be called as one of the top ten finalists at this year’s national leadership conference, and I was even more blown away when I was called for this year’s national champion,” Nicole noted in the LHS Chapter’s summer newsletter. “It just goes to show that hard work really does pay off. I could not have done it alone, though. Throughout these two years of competing in Healthy Lifestyles, Ms. Shimomura was not only my advisor and coach but she was my number one supporter, and without her I would not have been able to accomplish as much as I have.”

“Everyone would agree that Lahainaluna High School’s chapter made history at this year’s national leadership conference, and I am beyond grateful to have been a part of that,” she added.

In addition to the competition, students enjoy educational and social learning activities, participate in leadership academies, tour healthcare facilities and attend workshops on current healthcare issues.

“Throughout this experience, I was able to compete against the best in our nation, gain more knowledge from the educational symposiums, grow as a leader through the leadership workshops, meet new people with the same goals of becoming a future health professional, and most importantly, bond with my fellow HOSA chapter members and create memories that will surely last me a lifetime. Overall, being able to represent the State of Hawaii and my high school is an accomplishment that I will never forget,” said Baclay.

Nguyen said, “This trip was unforgettable, and I am glad that I was able to learn so much from those who’ve found success in their field and create connections with future colleagues and healthcare professionals. I hope I can bring back my experiences to my school, so that we can all grow as leaders of our community. And as we prepare for next year’s national conference in Tennessee as leaders, I can’t wait to innovate, inspire, ignite!”

“As for inspiration, the keynote speakers, the national leaders, advisors and other students inspired me to improve and work harder in everything that I do,” Yagyagan commented.

“The keynote speakers emphasized the importance of being yourself, giving back to the community and working hard to achieve your goals, while the national leaders taught me that you can be a leader without having a title, and they inspired me to become a better role model.”