When did you know what you wanted to be for the rest of your life?
For five R. Dan Nolan Middle School students, it was the eighth grade.
Surain Ranajee, Maya Rengifo, Sara Hutchinson, Maya Rengifo, Courtney Bauer and Mack Woolever want to pursue careers in the medical industry. They traveled to Dallas on June 27 to July 1 to compete in the 41st HOSA-Future Health Professionals-International Leadership Conference.
Courtney Bauer, a graduating eighth-grader, said that she’s been studying medical reading, the category that she won first place in at the international competition since the competition last year.
“I know that whatever I want to do for the rest of my life, I want to do something in the medical field,” said Bauer. She said that the three books she was tested on for reading comprehension for the Medical Reading competition were “Deadly Dinner Party,” “Wonder” and “Every Patient Tells a Story.”
“Because I participate in Medical Reading and had to read and understand all of those books, I feel like I can basically understand anything vaguely medical,” Bauer said.
Graduating eighth-graders Surain Ranajee, Maya Rengifo and Sara Hutchinson performed a skit on the perils of teen dating violence, which they said set them apart from the rest of their competitors in the public health category.
“We started preparing for the competition back in August. We would practice once every two weeks for like three hours,” Ranajee said. “We showed the four different types of teen dating violence which are verbal, physical, emotional and mental.”
Ranajee said that he feels like he knows a lot about teen dating violence through doing research for the skit, and if he saw one of his friends in a violent relationship when he goes to high school at Lakewood Ranch High School next year, he will recognize it.
Ranajee, Rengifo and Hutchinson all said that the skit, which earned them the first place at Nationals this year, is something that they all want to continue when they move on to high school next year.
“I’m not really sure what I want to do in the future, but something in public health is definitely an option,” Hutchinson said. “I think all the practice was completely worth it. I didn’t really know Maya and Surain at all before HOSA, but now they’re like my family.”
Bauer will also be participating in HOSA when she reaches the high school level this fall at Manatee High School. Now that team members will be competing against each other, one would think that there might be some healthy level of competition there. It isn’t so for Bauer.
“After going to the HOSA competition and feeling like I had 10,000 friends, I always know that I have that backup and support,” Bauer said.