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Trustees Honor Health Occupations Students of America State Competitors

                Cleburne High School health science students Tammy Nguyen and Johnathan Perez were honored by Trustees at Monday’s school board meeting as competitors in the Health Occupations Students of America State Conference skills events.

                Nguyen, who is in the pharmacy technician program at CHS, placed fourth in Medical Reading, which was preceded by her first place finish at Area. This is Nguyen’s second year to compete at the state level in HOSA.

                Perez, who placed third at Area in Medical Photography, was very excited to find himself among the state contest qualifiers as a first-year HOSA member. This is also his first year in the health science program at CHS.

                “I was in another career pathway as a freshman, but knowing how much those in the healthcare field help people motivated me to go in this new direction,” Perez said. “Helping people is really big with me. The medical terminology class has been challenging—I’m very interested in anatomy. I’m also intrigued by the pharmacy tech program. My plan is to achieve the pharmacy technician certification.”

                Perez also has an interest in photography, which led him to compete in the Medical Photography event.

                “When I was in the eighth grade, I asked my parents for a camera,” he said. “I was in the journalism class at Smith Middle School and had really gotten into photography. In my entry for the HOSA Area contest I documented three different health careers. I took action shots of health professionals on the job at Tennison Orthodontics, Cleburne Drug and Dr. (McDavid) Mahaffey’s office.”

                “I felt I submitted some pretty good photos,” Perez said. “For the state contest, which was virtual, I had to also develop a video presentation in which I discussed what the photos portrayed. In choosing to compete as a first-year member, I just wanted to test the water, and really didn’t have high hopes for advancing to state. But I also planned to be a strong competitor, so this whole experience has been awesome.”

                Perez is also a very involved member of Key Club. He was recently elected Division 1 Lieutenant Governor of the Key Club Texas-Oklahoma District.

                Nguyen, who is a junior, competed at state in 2020 in Medical Spelling. After contemplating a repeat run in the same event, she ultimately chose to compete in Medical Reading, despite the five-book reading requirement.

                “HOSA, for me, is not about winning, but about the opportunity to learn more,” she said. “In going through all that reading, I learned all kinds of things about medicine and diseases. It was really very cool.”

                With plans to go the pre-med route in college in her goal of a career as a dermatologist, Nguyen is already making plans for next year, in HOSA, and as a senior. She is also a member of the Golden Pride Band and was just inducted into the National Technical Honor Society, an academic organization for students involved in Career and Technical Education.

                “So much of what I’ve learned as a competitor in HOSA and in the health science program has really helped me plan for the future,” Nguyen said. “Thinking long term, I chose the pharmacy tech program because, as a doctor, I will be prescribing medicine. This will make me familiar with all forms of medicine, and I know I will use my pharmacy tech certification to help pay for college.”

                HOSA faculty Advisor Heather Payne, who presented the students to Trustees, was pleased to see Cleburne represented among the state competitors, which like many events, was conducted virtually.

                “I was happy to see Tammy advance to the state contest as an Area champion,” Payne said. “Last year the state conference was canceled due to COVID, which was very disappointing for her, after having qualified to compete at that level. We were also pleased to see how well Johnathan did in his first year in HOSA. We hope to see them both competing in 2021-22.”

                HOSA-Future Health Professionals is a national career and technical student organization dedicated to preparing students for careers in the health sciences. As HOSA members, students have the opportunity to develop and build on skills in teamwork, communication and leadership while also testing and enhancing their hands-on abilities through the competitive events program.