Get to know West High’s new HOSA chapter

President Wesal Haroun ‘24 shares general information about the new HOSA West High chapter.

Reem Kirja, Photographer, Reporter

As the current president, Wesal Haroun ’24 revived Health Occupational Students of America (HOSA) this year alongside advisor and science teacher Andrea Harms. Read this Q and A to learn more about HOSA and the club’s plans for the future. 

What is HOSA?

HOSA is basically a national organization that stands for Health Occupational Students of America … HOSA meets every Tuesday after school in room 12. The whole point of the club is to empower future health professionals and motivate students to start working on their like medical pathway … and kind of give them experience in the world of medicine before they begin pursuing it in college.

How did HOSA start?

So last year, Krisha started HOSA with Ms. Harms, and I remember I signed up to be a member and there were only two or three meetings … The club was called off. They didn’t pursue the club, and I was really surprised. It was probably mid-November when I realized there weren’t any HOSA meetings, and I had Ms. Harms as a teacher, so I asked her like, ‘Is HOSA going to continue being a club?’ [I told her] I’m really interested in it, [and] I think other people are interested in it too. And she was like, ‘No, like, it’s not going to be a club’. 

So then I asked her if it was okay for us to start HOSA again the following year because obviously, it would have been too late mid-November because people have to get registered and signed up by October. Krisha, unfortunately, doesn’t want to do HOSA anymore. So I basically sort of took lead and decided to lead HOSA since I was interested, and I knew that a bunch of other people would be interested as well.

Why did you decide to revive HOSA?

I had done a little bit of research about HOSA prior to going into midterms … I had seen that HOSA had a strong foundation, [and] it involved students practicing skills and going to compete and meeting people from all over the country, and I found that really interesting. And it’s something that’s kind of valuable. It’s a valuable experience to have as a high school student who wants to pursue a career in the future in healthcare. 

So I really wanted to continue the HOSA club because I felt like it would be really successful rather than starting a new club and having to plan it. It’s not really guaranteed that [the new club] would turn out the way that I would want it to turn out or turn out as good as HOSA would be since HOSA is a national club and it has a stronger foundation than starting a new club.

What is your job as West High’s HOSA president?

HOSA basically has one role, and I’m the club president for HOSA. My role basically, I organize the club, organize the meetings … The biggest thing to do so far was [to] get people registered and like collect payment and collect other information so that Ms. Harms could put that in our HOSA account and get everybody registered as a member. But other than that, I like to plan what we’re going to do for each meeting, and then send out emails and email reminders and then people show up and then we start doing whatever I plan to do. My role basically involves organizing the club and like helping people and guiding people throughout the HOSA journey.

What do students do in HOSA?

Basically, throughout the club, students pick an area of study in the medical field, whether it’s behavioral health, clinical nursing, CPR, emergency preparedness, there’s so many different aspects of healthcare that a student can pick to study. So students pick that and study for it and there’s competitions that come up. 

What does a typical meeting look like?

Since we are still trying to get everyone registered for HOSA, our first few meetings involved looking through the different events and reading through their descriptions and guidelines. In our upcoming meetings, we will be confirming which events we would like to do, gathering resources, and studying and practicing for our events. 

What competitions are in HOSA?

There’s district competitions, state competition and a national competition … so students will pick online tests that they would like to take, and we will be taking them throughout Jan. 9 to 20. That’s the testing window for districts and they will mail in certificates for the top five winners in each test category a little bit after that. 

How will HOSA benefit interested West High students?

HOSA will benefit students because it’ll give them some experience beforehand about areas in the medical field. It’s basically just to empower future health professionals and give them experience in the world of medicine before they begin pursuing it in college.

What are HOSA’s plans for the future?

Our plan is, since this year we have 11 people, our plan is to be really strong and focus on the different aspects that people are interested in. We’re going to put in a lot of work into studying and preparing for our district, state and national competitions. And then our plan is to also recruit future members for next year’s HOSA club as well.