Kingwood HOSA Takes on State


Kingwood HOSA members attending the closing ceremony Photo Credit: Adley Zalewski

Katie Brubaker and Jett Smith

After two years of virtual conferences, HOSA members across the state were reunited at the 2022 State Leadership Conference. From studying for various tests to mastering skills, preparing for this conference was no easy task. Many students studied hard to place in the top three at area, a requirement to compete at the state level. The conference began with a western-themed social where a few members had the opportunity to participate in the mechanical bull-riding competition. Sadly, none of the members managed to stay on long enough to place, but that didn’t take away from the fun!
When not competing or assisting with conference activities, Kingwood HOSA members went on a variety of excursions around Galveston. On Wednesday night, Mr. Kneiss, Kingwood’s bus driver and German teacher extraordinaire, took a large group of members to the Magic Carpet Mini Golf Facility where they enjoyed an intense round of putt-putt. Tarini Wewage, a sophomore, found that a notable experience from this trip was when Officer Hannah Paul fell into a pond while trying to retrieve her lost ball. As the conference progressed, many Kingwood students were able to explore the vast cuisine of Galveston, going to iconic restaurants such as the Rainforest Cafe, Rita’s Italian Ice, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and many more. Just before the Awards Ceremony, Kingwood headed down to the Historic Pleasure Pier with a half-price discount coordinated by Mr. Kneiss. There, members were able to conquer their fears and ride all the rides the extreme wind advisory could allow or simply cheer their friends on from afar. Throughout the conference, members avidly participated in the Photo Scavenger Hunt around the island.
Kelsie Grassman, a senior in HOSA, explained that her favorite memory was “…[getting] to walk on the state stage, qualifying for the international competition and earning a scholarship!” Abril Dress loved getting to try new restaurants around the island. With her friends, she “…went to Rainforest Cafe and when it was time for dessert, [she] saw that the dessert [she] wanted was 20 dollars. So [she] decided to pretend it was one of [her] friend’s birthdays in order to get it for free or discounted. They made her get up and flap her arms like a bird in front of the whole restaurant while they sang happy birthday. In the end, the dessert was the same price, so the whole thing was for nothing!”
As the conference came to a close, Kingwood’s hard work paid off at the Awards Ceremony. To advance to the International Leadership Conference (ILC), members must place in the top three. In Pathophysiology, Avery Handlin placed fifth and Michael Louie placed third. In Biomedical Laboratory Science, Kelsie Grassman placed second and received a $750 scholarship. Katie DeMasi placed fifth in Clinical Specialty. Adley Zalewski placed fifth in Home Health Aide. In Veterinary Science, Meg Peck placed 4th. Kingwood also had several qualifiers within Organizational Leadership (OL), a testing event where the top percentage of competitors advance to the ILC to represent Texas HOSA as international voting delegates. Those qualifiers being Jett Smith, London Davis, Daniela Paredes, and Grace Chen. Jett Smith, London Davis, Daniela Paredes, and Grace Chan. In Research Poster, Melody Leimer placed third. In Forensic Science, McKenna and Abril Dress placed in the top ten. For Health Career Display, Monty Cruz and Tarini Wewage placed in the top ten. For the Barbara James Service Award, Aidan Brubaker was recognized at the Bronze Level (100-174.9 hours of community service) and Shivali Chava was recognized at the Gold Level (250+ hours of community service). The Healthcare Issues Exam is another recognition event where participants take an exam on happenings in healthcare. Similar to OL, the top percentage advance to the ILC. Isabella Espinosa, Madeline Charboneau, Fareeda Akewusola, Zihan Yu, Catie Efferson, and Olu Aghedo scored in the top percentage. Texas HOSA also awarded $120,000 to scholarship applicants. Aidan Brubaker received a scholarship for $1,500, and Piper Davis received a scholarship of $5,000.

Group photo of members who placed
Photo Credit: Adley Zalewski

Kingwood High School took home multiple awards and plenty of memories and cannot wait to make more at the International Conference over the summer!