In the Midst of the Pandemic, SD HOSA Hosts Successful In-person SLC!

Opening Session and Closing Sessions
SD HOSA’s 2021 State Leadership Conference started off with a bang! Well that, smoke, and lights. Over 500 HOSA members met for a fun-filled two days at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls on Thursday, April 8 and Friday, April 9. Steps were taken to promote safety, such as mask-wearing and social distancing. President Lauren Okine, president-elect Cheraye Arcoren, social media/historian Timothy Johnson, treasurer Leonela Perez, secretary/reporter Jaeden Rice, and parliamentarian Erena Jain took the stage. After an introduction of the state officers, South Dakota’s first First Gentleman Bryon Noem spoke about his initiative which focuses on small towns in South Dakota. With a short discussion about dress code, state officer candidates, and the exciting events of the next two days, our 2021 South Dakota HOSA Conference officially began!
On Friday afternoon, excitement was building for the announcement of competitive event winners and the new state officers for South Dakota HOSA 2021-22. Top five finishers in every event were called up to the stage and recognized. We look forward to seeing each of the winners virtually at the HOSA ILC in Orlando, Florida. Near the end of the conference, new state officers were installed and we ended the conference with tons of excitement for the upcoming year.

Recognition/Awards Banquet
After the first amazing day at the SD HOSA SLC, all our HOSA members attended a wonderful banquet with lots of food, fun, awards and recognition. The state officer team as well as all the HOSA members in attendance had the opportunity to recognize the service, scholarship, and academic achievements of some of the talented HOSA members. Some with service achievements that are awe-inspiring, especially with all the obstacles this past year has provided. At this banquet, we also had the opportunity to discuss the Sanford REACH mentorship program, which was a program opened up to our HOSA members this year. Through this program, students are able to meet with a medical student or student in a medical profession and discuss and get advice about future career paths and opportunities. Following this, our keynote speaker Dr. Jason Knutson shared his inspiring story about his rare heart condition and the medical professionals that shared a step in saving his life. SD HOSA members are extremely fortunate to be able to have an in person conference in times where this has seemed impossible. Without the help and cooperation of the staff, advisors, and members this would not have been possible.

Competitive Events
With over 30 competitive events that were competed in, SD HOSA members had a jam-packed couple of days. From Clinical Specialty to HOSA Bowl to Physical Therapy, members were able to show off their hard work in the spirit of competition. We thank everyone who helped run these events. Winners from both the testing-only and on-site events were announced at our closing session, and the top finishers have a chance to compete at ILC this summer!

Breakout Sessions
During the conference, HOSA members had a host of informative and fun breakout sessions to attend while they had down time. With over forty different academic sessions to choose from, there was never a dull moment for HOSA members. Academic sessions were mapped out in the SLC program. The program was separated into “tracks” based on interest areas to help members choose sessions that would be most beneficial to them. Members competed in competitions, saw exhibits, attended presentations, completed simulations, and much more. There was more variety in sessions than perhaps ever before, with topics ranging from surgery basics to the true meaning of heroism. Most sessions had multiple time slots available so that anyone could attend a session if they wanted to. Members who did not wish to attend a session could sit in the “TED Talk room” and listen to a compilation of powerful and insightful TED Talks, which played all throughout the two day conference. SD HOSA is committed to giving students the best possible educational and exploratory experiences, and looks forward to continuing to offer a wide range of activities at SLC for students to achieve this.

Senior Social
The senior social was hosted by a recruitment team from Sanford Health. It was held at the Blue Rock with three different sessions. This was to ensure that everyone was practicing safe social distancing. For the meal the Blue Rock team served wraps along with a drink. This was a great way to socialize with new people and possibly make some new friends that are going to the same college as you. They asked some questions and even handed out gift cards for the people who answered the question correctly. After everyone was done eating they had pens, hand sanitizer, chapstick, and some other items that you could take with you. Overall this was a great experience!

New Officer Installation
Congratulations to our newly elected state officer team for SD HOSA 2021-22! We ended the conference installing our newest leaders. Our new parliamentarian is Kaylee Bosma, our social media/historian is Lucy Farley, our secretary is Olivia Allen, our treasurer is Brianna Zimny, our president-elect is Meredith Guggenmos, and our president is Cheraye Arcoren. We are excited for the upcoming HOSA year!