WEST CHESTER — West Chester Area School District students want to make a positive impact on the world, and they are ready to get started while still in high school. During the 2021-22 school year, a group of Henderson High School students discovered their shared interest in the medical and healthcare field and decided to form their own chapter of HOSA (Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America).
Tenth-grade student and Henderson HOSA chapter president, Hetvi Khamar, learned about HOSA when she was researching healthcare-related clubs and thought that her focus on introducing students to medical and health careers would be a great opportunity for fellow Henderson students. “HOSA provides healthcare opportunities for leadership development, skill development, and involvement in the community all through competitive events. I knew other students would benefit from these state and international experiences and early exposure to exciting careers so I decided to start a HOSA chapter at Henderson,” said Khamar.
This is an international career and technical student organization endorsed by the US Department of Education and the Health Science Technology Education Division of ACTE. HOSA actively promotes career opportunities in the health industry and the enhancement of the delivery of quality health care to all people.
Donna Zingani, Henderson’s HOSA chapter advisor, was initially nervous about becoming a first-time advisor to brand a new club. “I did not have previous experience advising clubs, but once I saw the students’ passion for learning and I realized that advising them would be a true joy,” said Zingani.
Many of Henderson’s HOSA members are especially passionate about their ability to learn about medical and health care careers before graduating to higher education or pursuing a career directly after high school. Henderson student, Lisa Hackman, shared her enthusiasm about this benefit of HOSA, “This experience has allowed me to explore options in the health care field and take a head start on pursuing a future career in medicine. I am very grateful for the opportunities that this organization has provided to many ambitious students hoping to make an impact in the medical field.”
After 18 members came together to officially charter the Henderson HOSA chapter in October of 2021, they then participated in their first HOSA PA Conference along with over 900 other students. One of the Henderson students, Miruna Vasilescu, competed in Pharmacology and won first place while also qualifying for ILC in Nashville.
“I didn’t know what to expect for my first HOSA conference, but I had a great experience and I’m very lucky to have participated,” said Vasilescu. “I feel honored to have represented my school and get to continue representing Henderson at the International Leadership Conference.” In the future, I hope I can become a state officer and continue to expand on my future goals of becoming a veterinarian,” she added.
Henderson’s HOSA members have big plans for the future and are looking forward to growing the chapter and their participation in local and national HOSA events in the years to come. “These students put a tremendous amount of effort and work into learning how HOSA operates and what they needed to accomplish in order to be competitive in the HOSA PA Conference,” said Zingani. “This was only their first year and they achieved so much, I cannot wait to continue working with these students again next year and can only imagine what they will do next.”