By Thomas Sellers Jr.
It became official yesterday on the campus of The University of Memphis — Millington Central High School’s HOSA is a success.
And the credit goes to three women, instructor Gina Jordan and students Caleigh Ledgerwood and Kai-Lyn Andrysiak.
Ledgerwood and Andrysiak competed in HOSA Regionals in Clinical Nursing and Sports Medicine respectively. Ledgerwood earned second place in Clinical Nursing and Andrysiak finished fourth in Sports Medicine.
“I was so excited because they worked really hard,” Jordan said. “They were so nervous not to letting me down. But I told them not to worry about it and just do your best. So them winning was just gravy.”
Both girls qualified to compete at the state competition in April in Chattanooga. MCHS is in its first year as part of Health Occupations Students of America.
Jordan is no stranger to HOSA or starting a program coming from Bolivar Central.
“I had a very big chapter there,” she recalled. “We competed and it was a lot of fun for the kids. It’s very educational for them. They learn skills that will help them once they get to college. They will be way ahead of the children who didn’t have this previous exposure.
“I’m the advisor,” Jordan continued. “You have to be an RN professional to be a HOSA advisor. Right now we have 28 student members. With this being our first year, usually clubs don’t compete. But since I have experience doing this, I got a couple of volunteers. They volunteered to be guinea pig. They studied really hard and passed the first test. They got to the Regional competition and did really well in skills. And they both placed and that got them a ticket to the State Conference in Chattanooga in April.”
Andrysiak’s path to Chattanooga came against nearly 20 schools from across West Tennessee in Sports Medicine. After passing the 50-question, the senior impressed the judges in the skills competition.
“It feels really great,” she said. “I thought I was going to do really bad. I placed fourth and that’s good enough.
“It’s a back up choice (the medical field),” Andrysiak continued. “I want to be a psychologist probably and maybe attend The University of Memphis.”
Ledgerwood is looking to enter the medical profession. Once she passed her test, the had to compete in the skills portion of Clinical Nursing earning second place.
“It feels pretty good because we worked pretty hard,” she said. “I’m just happy with how good the results turned out. It was a very pleasant surprise.
“Coming into HOSA, I was hoping to get more of a feel for the medical field because that’s where I want to go into,” Ledgerwood added. “It really help me see things differently and have more knowledge in the medical stance. So being in HOSA has really led me to have more of an appreciation for the health occupation.”
Ledgerwood said the two weeks leading up to the test and taking on the skills competition for the first time, they lean on Jordan.
“Being under Mrs. Jordan’s leadership has been fabulous,” she said. “She’s one of the best teachers Millington has ever had. I know everyone else in her classes feels the same way. She’s really given us a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience. So we’re really thankful for her.
“It feels pretty good to be the pioneers of HOSA,” Ledgerwood added. “We’re really excited to start this chapter and see how it goes the rest of this year.
Jordan said her two pioneers and the other 26 students currently in MCHS’ chapter of HOSA are just the beginning.
“I would love for this program to explode,” she said. “The program I came from, I started with four kids in my class. When I left, we had to have a third teacher. I want kids to come in here and it will teacher you either you want to go into health careers. Or you absolutely don’t want to go into health careers. It helps you figure out both ways.
“And HOSA give you leadership experience, service by doing service projects by learning to serve others,” Jordan concluded. “And academically it’s challenging. I have very high expectations and I don’t tolerate any nonsense.”
The members of MCHS HOSA are Brittany Allen, Kai-Lyn Andrysiak, Osa Asemota, Holly Avery, Bria Barnes, Karyme Brooks, Paola Carbajel, JerMesha Coleman, Sarah Cook, Brianna Dahms, Tyler Denson, Emily Fail, Kayana Gaither, Mahlei Henderson, Meagan Holguin, Annamarie Keller, Chelsey LeBlanc, Raleigh Ledgerwood, Natasha McKay, Rebecca Money, Bailey Perkins, Alexandra Raburn, Paige Russell, Gracie Sanchez and Bailee Todd.