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HOSA students earn approval for Houston trip
Great Bend High School science teacher and HOSA sponsor Joseph Bliven, at right, was accompanied by students Monday as they spoke to the Great Bend USD 428 board of education. From left: Eliana Teri (11th grade), Bella Long (ninth grade), HOSA board president Jasmine Figueroa (11th grade) and Jackson Trudeau (ninth grade). Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) is playing a vital role in preparing the next generation of health professionals. - photo by Susan Thacker

Great Bend High School students preparing for future careers in the health industry will travel to Houston, Texas, this summer.

Health Occupations Students of America sponsor Joseph Bliven, who teaches science at GBHS, was joined by some of HOSA’s members Monday as they approached the school board, seeking approval for the trip. They will attend the HOSA - Future Health Professionals, International Leadership Conference.

The conference opens at 7:30 p.m. on June 26 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The students will leave Great Bend early that morning, spend four nights at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, and then come home after the conference concludes at noon on June 30.

Students who will attend are:

• Jasmine Figueroa, a junior who serves as the GBHS HOSA board president.

• Jackson Trudeau, a freshman who qualified with a first-place win at the Kansas State Leadership Conference (SLC) in Manhattan at the end of March, in the category Team - Community Awareness. 

• Cailyn Murphy, a junior and HOSA board member.

• Eliana Teri, a junior and HOSA board member.

• Bella Long, a freshman who qualified with a third-place individual finish in the National Geographic ATC (Academic Testing Center) Biology Test competition.

Cara Murphy, a freshman, won’t be able to attend but also qualified. She placed first in the Team - Medical Innovation category at SLC.

The cost for the trip is estimated to be $5,318. Registration, hotel, meals and miscellaneous expenses will all be covered by the HOSA account funds due to the generosity of the organization’s sponsors and by the group’s past fundraising efforts, Bliven said. 

Bliven and chaperone Brandy Proffitt will join the students. The school board granted permission to travel to Houston and approved a school vehicle for the trip. 

About HOSA

HOSA is a global group run by students and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Its goal is to help students become leaders in the world of health. They do this by offering education, chances to work together, and hands-on experience. HOSA encourages students to explore careers in health and improve how health care is given to everyone. HOSA helps students develop not only the skills they need for health jobs but also leadership and people skills. With a shortage of health workers, especially due to COVID-19, HOSA is playing a vital role in preparing the next generation of health professionals.