Two 2017 graduates of Polk State Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School recently won several awards at the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) International Student Leadership Conference held at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort from June 21 to 25.
In April, David Santiago-Tate and Haven Garrett finished first at the HOSA Florida State Conference; they later also placed first in the regional competition. In order to qualify for the international competition, students were required to place first, second, or third at the regional and state levels. During the international conference, they finished second in the Forensic Medicine Competitive Event.
The forensic medicine competitive event consists of two parts: a knowledge test and a case study examination. The knowledge test is a multiple-choice exam containing fifty questions and requiring a completion time of sixty minutes. Team members are tested individually and the scores are then averaged. The highest scoring teams advance to round two — the case study examination.
Round two competitors are given a case study to review. Students are placed in a staged crime scene and allotted six minutes to examine the scene and then thirty minutes to write a death certificate based on the findings. Scores are cumulated to determine the winners.
“I feel a mix of shock and excitement about winning second place in the forensic medicine event at the HOSA ILC,” said Garrett. “I was, and still am, so excited! But part of me still can’t believe it! There were so many competitors, and the probability of placing was very small. I’m also very happy to say that I did it with my best friend and forensics partner, David Santiago-Tate. We felt very confident about our performance at the competition, but we still had our doubts because there were so many other teams competing. Standing on stage and being awarded our medals was euphoric.”
The Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School HOSA Chapter was established by Dr. Suzanne Halverson, a faculty member who saw an opportunity to allow students to participate in medical-skills competitions. The chapter continues to grow and blossom under her leadership.
Indeed, along with these student honors, the Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School was named one of HOSA’s outstanding chapters based on the HOSA Chapter Reflection Book prepared and presented by Allison Huffman. HOSA chapters create a reflection book to record and preserve their achievements during a single school year. The book further highlights the attainment of HOSA goals, including implementing a work plan with a focus on the development of leadership skills, exploration of career opportunities, and dedication to service learning among chapter members. Further, the HOSA Outstanding Chapter Award recognizes excellence in goal setting and achievement.
Polk State is also proud of alumna Sarah Fleischman. Fleischman, a student at the University of Florida, was elected International President-Elect of HOSA, Future Healthcare Professionals. She graduated from Polk State Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School in 2015 and also earned a Polk State Associate in Arts degree in May of the same year.
Polk State Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School is one of three charter high schools, including Lakeland Collegiate High School and Gateway to College Collegiate High School. Students in these programs have the opportunity to earn college credit, or even an associate’s degree, concurrently with their high school experience. More information on Polk State’s charter high schools is available at: polk.edu/charterhighschools.