SUMMERVILLE — Three high school students have won first place in an international healthcare competition after hosting a series of public events for Ashley Ridge High School, including blood and bone marrow drives and fundraising campaigns. awareness to reduce deaths from drunk driving and opioid abuse.
It was the school’s second victory in the competition since 2019.
The trio – Kennedy Elwood, Isabella Grossman and Brooks Matthew – are part of Health Professions Students of Americaan international student organization that holds annual competitions for high school and college students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare.
“The goal is to empower students to become leaders in health care,” said Stacie Elwood, HOSA group counselor and professor of health and science at Ashley Ridge.
HOSA teams from across the United States and around the world can participate in more than 50 different events during the international competition, including the Medical Reserve Corps partnership event in which the local team participated. This year, the international competition was held in Nashville, Tennessee, and over 10,000 students from the United States, China, Korea, Mexico and Canada participated.
To make it to international competition, the team had to compete at the state level and place in the top three teams. This year, they placed first in South Carolina.
They created a portfolio that showcased their skills and gave a presentation to a panel of judges about their work that included a group talk near the end.
As part of the competition, the group collaborated with its local unit Medical Reserve Corp. to initiate activities that improve public health, increase emergency response capabilities and build resilience in their communities.
The Medical Reserve Corp. is a national network of volunteer health professionals, public health experts and others who help meet the public health needs of the communities they serve. In South Carolina, the MRC is coordinated by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Stefanie Roy is the volunteer coordinator of the Lowcountry MRC unit and was the group’s MRC advisor. She said they have been instrumental in the region’s response to COVID-19, helping build ancillary vaccine kits and building hygiene kits which have been distributed to universities and high schools across the country. ‘State.
“I gave them ideas and provided the resources, and they started to work,” Roy said.
The team held at least 15 different events around issues in the community they felt were important, including raising awareness about human trafficking and COVID-19, and holding hands-on CPR workshops. Through their blood and bone marrow drives, they collected more than 400 units of blood and raised $2,000 for Be The Match Foundation, a national nonprofit bone marrow donation organization.
Elwood, a rising senior and president of the school’s HOSA chapter, said working with the foundation “really touched their team.” Recently a classmate at Ashley Ridge was diagnosed with a type of bone marrow cancer.
“Our entire HOSA chapter has been very involved in the foundation (Be The Match) this year to ensure that everyone, including our fellow student, receives the treatment, love and care that he merit,” Elwood said.
Emily Hatchcock is an Ashley Ridge alumnus and was part of the winning HOSA team in 2019. Now she sits on the HOSA International Executive Board and got to watch the newest team showcase their activities in Nashville.
Hatchcock is a senior at Wofford College in Spartanburg who has just completed his application to medical school. She said being at HOSA helped her develop her confidence in using the skills she learned in real-life scenarios.
Although Hatchcock said she never administered life-saving treatment, she was able to remain calm and level-headed in an emergency. She remembers stopping to assess the scene of a car accident a few years ago and stopping those involved in the accident from moving. One of the men involved complained that he could not move his legs.
Immediately, Hatchcock was able to tell the other people involved who were trying to move him to stop and wait for the ambulance to arrive, to avoid injuring him further.
The group met two to three times a week to prepare and plan the year’s events while completing advanced-level class work, serving on student council, and competing on swim and track teams. . All three team members plan to pursue careers in health care.
“As much as you hear about the HOSA contest and winning it, it’s more about the impact you have,” Brooks said. “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose as long as you leave a good mark on your community.”
Follow Zharia Jeffries on Twitter @Zharia_Jeffries.