HOSA state conference draws local high school and college students
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Over 100 students representing local public and private high schools, including the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), gathered at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium yesterday morning for the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) state conference.
This year's event was themed: "Define Your Purpose"
According to HOSA state advisor Magdalene Augafa-Leauanae, the HOSA state conference is held once a year. "Our goal is to bring all the school leaders together," she explained. "HOSA is a student-led organization and we try to promote and create a pipeline for future health care professionals from American Samoa….but even if the kids decide to go into a different field, this kind of organization is useful for capacity building and leadership skills."
For last year's state conference, Augafa-Leauanae said the presenters and guest speakers were mainly representatives from the LBJ Medical Center and the local Department of Health.
This year, however, the organizers decided to take a different route, "because there are a lot of projects and things the kids can build upon. We want to spread the word and get the information out there, as far as scholarships, and how students can access these things online."
She continued, "This is all part of our college and career readiness efforts." HOSA is proud to partner with STEM Premier "to provide its members with the opportunity to connect with colleges, universities, and employers. STEM Premier assists all levels of STEM talent in identifying career pathways, education in recruiting top talent to their schools, and employers in developing a stable, continuous talent pipeline."
Through STEM Premier, HOSA members will have the chance "to apply for scholarships and internship opportunities, submit their original work for competitive events, and earn badges for recognition and accomplishments."
Yesterday's presentations were made by HOSA advisors and DOE officials, with Florence Wasko of the Department of Education's Athletics Division delivering the keynote speech.
This is HOSA's fourth year in the territory.
Augafa-Leauanae said when the program was launched, all local public high schools - including their sister chapter at the ASCC — were involved. Last year however, they added the first private high school to the list of participants: South Pacific Academy.
This year, yet another private high school was added: Faasao Marist HS.
HOSA is an international career and technical student organization endorsed by the US Department of Education and the Health Science Education (HSE) Division of ACTE. Its two-fold mission is "to promote career opportunities in the health care industry; and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people."
According to HOSA, the mission is especially critical "when considering the acute shortage of qualified workers for the health care industry."
Since its inception in 1976, HOSA has grown steadily, reaching over 200,000 members through 51 chartered HOSA Associations, American Samoa, Canada, District of Columbia, Germany, Italy, and Puerto Rico.
During yesterday's conference, it was mentioned that the 2018-2020 HOSA Service Project is the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (NPCF). "HOSA is excited to work with NPCF for the next two years in raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer."