The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


Another Charter sweep for the books: HOSA takes on State Leadership Conference

From April 4 to April 7, PPCHS HOSA members got a glimpse of life as a future health professional, from the continuous hours standing on their feet to the nerve-wracking tests on information they’ve studied for long hours. These 26 students took their personal belongings, skills, and passion for healthcare to Orlando, where they competed at the HOSA Future Health Professionals State Leadership Conference (SLC).

The state conference held thousands of students, ranging from middle schoolers to collegiate competitors. No matter the age, attendees filled the Orlando World Center with their love for the medical field, which was eventually channeled into respective presentations, speeches, and camaraderie for three full days. 

During each day, members followed individual schedules, allotting time for their own competitions, networking, and social hours.

For 24 students in Pines Charter’s HOSA team, the event at the center of it all was the competition. With almost two months after the Sunrise Region Winter Leadership Conference to refine their skills and touch up any presentation details, the team aimed to place high on leaderboards. 

Senior Sandra Ugwuozor, who competed in Health Education with her group, explains how the excitement took over her, as it did with all the attending students. “At first, I didn’t demand much of myself. I was pretty happy to have made it to states,” she says. “But, as my competition day got closer and closer, I started to wonder what it would feel like to win again.”

While these members went through multiple rounds of their events such as Community Awareness, Dental Terminology, Public Health, and Medical Innovation—all of which required a test or performance—Pines Charter also sent one of their own voting delegates to represent PPCHS in Florida HOSA’s decision-making process. Senior Aakash Suresh, who took on the role, casted his votes on bylaws, new policies, and next year’s state officers, giving the school a voice amid the hundreds that make up Florida HOSA.

To wrap up each night of the conference, all HOSA members attended a grand general session, in which all regions gathered their students together for motivational speeches, awards, and fellowship. Each assembly welcomed special people on stage, from the Florida HOSA state board and alumni, to youth motivational speaker Juan Bendana.

No matter the night, each student showed up and showed out in pride for their region, each region sporting distinct accessories. For the Sunrise region, advisors and competitors proudly wore light up headbands, bracelets, and even pop tubes. 

For first-time SLC competitor freshman Giya Varghese, the intense energy from everyone in the room made her feel “exhilarated and thrilled.” “The atmosphere fueled my enthusiasm and heightened my anticipation for the upcoming events and shared excitement among everyone present,” she explains.

Between the competitive events and grand ceremonies, however, students spent their days adventuring around Orlando. As PPCHS HOSA President, Senior Amogh Baranwal, puts it, “There’s many layers [to SLC], not just the competition.” Members were also given the opportunity to explore a career fair, connect with real professionals in the healthcare industry, and meet numerous other individuals with similar interests.

PPCHS HOSA, in particular, spent some of their free time bonding at Disney Springs, where they kicked off their last night with a team dinner. For the group’s seniors, the time became bittersweet upon realizing that this was their last (and for some of them, their first) SLC. “This year, I think we enjoyed [SLC] from a different perspective of knowing that it was going to be our last,” Amogh expresses. “We had a lot of fun, we celebrated, and we made sure to end it off right.”

The State Leadership Conference ended as a success for PPCHS HOSA as a multitude of the team was awarded for their skills. The team as a whole was recognized as a Centum Chapter for having over 100 members, and a number of students placed in the Top Five of their respective events. Junior Fabrizio Cioffi placed second in Physical Therapy; Seniors Amogh Baranwal and Shivraj Singh placed third in Public Health; Seniors Rebekah Barrera, Matthew Mardis, Orion Taleon, and Gabriella Tolentino placed third in Community Awareness; Junior Martin Pereira placed third in Sports Medicine; Senior Emily Brown placed fourth in Medical Math; Juniors Annabelle Acevedo and Hannah Flores placed fourth in Medical Innovation; Senior Hana Bsuhra was recognized for HOSA Happenings; and nine students also received the Barbara James Service Award for their volunteer community service in the healthcare field.

Those who placed in the Top Three of their respective events, a total of nine PPCHS HOSA students, have also secured their spot to represent the state of Florida at this upcoming International Leadership Conference (ILC) this June in Houston, Texas.

While this is the largest number of students who have qualified for ILC in PPCHS history, this year’s senior officers are excited for how much more PPCHS HOSA can achieve in the upcoming years. As ILC qualifiers prepare for the next round of tough competition, the senior board also prepares their underclassmen for another successful SLC.

“I really hope that as many kids are able to experience lectures, the workshops, the guest speakers, the overall experience of traveling as a group,” Amogh emphasizes. “I’m looking forward to Pines Charter continuously having their presence known in HOSA.”

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About the Contributor
Rebekah Barrera
Rebekah Barrera, Student Life Editor
Hey! I’m Rebekah Barrera, this year’s Student Life section editor for The CHAT Newspaper. I started out as a Staff Writer for The CHAT, then became a Co-Editor of Arts and Entertainment last year, and now I’m super excited to lead Student Life for one last run during my senior year. PPCHS students play one of the biggest roles in what makes Charter, Charter, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to showcase every aspect of that! Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or @rebekahelize on Instagram for any questions, comments, or story ideas!

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