Lahainaluna HOSA students qualify to compete in international event
LAHAINA — Despite the challenges of preparing virtually and on their own, 18 Lahainaluna High School HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) competitors won medals in medical and leadership events at the 2021 Virtual State Leadership Conference on Feb. 26.
Health Services Pathway Instructor and HOSA Advisor Malia Shimomura explained, “The Lahainaluna HOSA students did not have it easy. Due to a bell schedule that prioritized a COVID-19 safety approach, students only saw their teachers — in this case, the advisor — for five weeks during the entire school year (seven-class, five-week block model).
“Meaning, some freshmen had never even met the advisors by the time they chose to sign up for HOSA — let alone compete — while other students who may have competed before were completely independent of preparation tasks, as there was no direct advisor to help maintain accountability unless it was through e-mail.”
This was the first year that the conference was held virtually at the state level; 873 students competed.
By medaling in the state competition, the 18 Lahainaluna students qualified to compete in the virtual HOSA 43rd annual International Leadership Conference (ILC) on June 23-26.
Led by chapter President Abigail Akamine, the Lunas’ HOSA Chapter was able to enroll 76 members this year, even though not one activity or meeting was held on campus.
“This meant that the only way to keep any accountability or pressure on competitors to prepare was placed virtually through HOSA meetings,” Shimomura noted.
“Advisors had to especially lean on this year’s HOSA Council to keep the flame of preparation and motivation alive.”
HOSA is voluntary. Students have the choice to join and/or compete if they are signed up for the Health Services Pathway at LHS.
Of those 76, the chapter was able to inspire over 40 students to compete at the district conference. Thirty-six of those students went on to compete at the state level.
“This involvement is a result of Abigail and her council’s efforts to keep interest alive through the safest option available: 100 percent virtual,” Shimomura added.
“Abigail Akamine embraces the epitome of what HOSA hopes to provide its members. She is a four-year member that has taken advantage of its leadership, service and competitive event opportunities while she has shared her time leading the Lady Lunas basketball team to undefeated records as the team captain. And although the Lady Lunas have been unable to compete due to restrictions from the pandemic, she has still been able to demonstrate her leadership through both groups.”
For the second year, Akamine medaled at the state conference in her chosen event, Pharmacology. She will compete again at the ILC in hopes of earning an international accolade.
Akamine was recently early accepted into Ohio Northern University’s Raabe College of Pharmacy through an academic scholarship. She also plans to play basketball there.
With her basketball season canceled due to COVID-19, Akamine channeled her efforts into HOSA.
“Learning virtually this school year has made me grow to be more independent in my learning. While I was disappointed Hawaii high school sports was canceled, I was happy to put my full effort into my HOSA Chapter and shift focus a bit more onto my HOSA competition,” she explained.
“Our Lahainaluna HOSA Chapter has made a huge impact on my high school learning. HOSA provided me with opportunities to enhance my leadership skills, participate in professional development workshops and ultimately expose me to all the jobs and opportunities in the healthcare field. All in all, if it was not for my being in the Health Pathway and in HOSA, I can’t imagine I would be the person I am today.”
Students who qualified to compete in the International Leadership Conference are:
Caitlin Baclay, first place, Human Growth and Development;
Yvonne Abut, Fara Advincula and Jadelyn Fujii, first place, Public Service Announcement;
Almarie Idnay and Nolita Samisoni, first place, Health Career Display;
Lorraine Aguilar and Theresa Cabading, second place, Health Career Display;
Abigail Akamine, second place, Pharmacology;
Andrew Nguyen, second place, Medical Math;
Trinity Belmont, second place, Physical Therapy;
Jacqueline Nguyen, second place, Dental Terminology;
Maxene Rivera, third place, Dental Terminology;
Charlise Wurts and Akira Foreman, third place; Forensic Science;
Kathleen Baniqued, third place. Medical Terminology;
Angelika Simon, third place, Medical Reading;
Tania David, third place, Job Seeking Skills.
Akamine is already preparing to compete in the International Leadership Conference.
“I am excited to plan virtual study sessions via WebEx with my fellow ILC Team members. I am already starting to open up my pharmacology textbooks again; my favorite way to prepare for my pharmacology test event is to take notes and use flashcards,” she explained.
“Abigail will continue leading her HOSA team to greatness this summer, even after she has graduated,” Shimomura concluded.