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Pathway School of Discovery Club Supports Our Future Health Professionals

Twenty-six middle school students at Pathway School of Discovery are members of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club. HOSA is a global student-led organization. Its mission is to empower future health professionals to become leaders in the global health community, through education, collaboration, and experience.
 Pathway students smiling
Seventh graders Gloria Vignon and Halilibragim Pashayev placed second and first, respectively, in Foundations of Medical Terminology.

Pathway’s HOSA club is led by Harry Dittrich, eighth grade science and social studies teacher, who is in his sixth year of teaching and was a HOSA member in high school. Dittrich went to the national conference two years in a row to compete after winning in the regional and state level. Jen Hall, seventh-grade math teacher, is a co-advisor.
HOSA provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition for students of all ages who are either enrolled in health science education and biomedical science programs or have interests in pursuing careers in health professions.
 Pathway students smiling
(L to R) Kayla Rodriguez, Hajer Adem, and Zion Igisa, background, won first place in Health Education. 

The club meets once a week after school but increases meetings to twice a week closer to competitions. Dittrich had eight members compete at the regional competition held in February at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. They won first and second place in all four events they competed in – Foundations of Medical Terminology, Health Career Preparation, Exploring Medical Innovation, and Health Education.
Out of those eight students, six members continued to the state conference in Columbus, Ohio. Again, they placed first and second in all their competitions. The state winners were eligible to move on to the international conference this summer in Nashville, Tennessee, but unfortunately none of the students can attend.
 Pathway student with award
Eighth grader Nelly Kaneza received a Leadership Academy Attendee certificate. 

“We were told by the judges that our Health Education team did so well that they would have outcompeted the post-secondary students,” Dittrich said. “I’ve seen some amazing growth in the students that have been in the club, their performance at the regional and the state competition was absolutely amazing. We’ve received compliments from judges, from other advisors, and even from the state council members about how good and mature our students are.”
For the competitions, the students choose the topic they want to focus on. Then Dittrich and Hall work with them to learn more about the topic.
 Pathway students chatting
Health Career Preparation first place winner Winter Heslin, left, gets last minute tips from Kayla Rodriguez.

“Like for the Foundations of Medical Terminology, we help them go through flashcards. For the Health Career Preparation, we help them learn about their chosen career path,” Dittrich said. “Get them in contact with people in health education. We facilitate them being able to conduct their education lesson, help them with creating their lesson plans.” 
“This year was really a focus of just getting them comfortable with the wide variety of topics they can explore. Next year, we are planning to have a more structured, almost like a class, for each meeting based on the feedback we’ve received from the students.”
 Medical terminology competition

Some of the competitions are test based. Others are almost like a science fair, where the student must present some type of finding they developed, whether it’s a health career or a new medical innovation, or even health education, then they present what they did as a lesson.
With this being the completion of the club’s second year with much success, there is great anticipation of what year three will bring! Congratulations to these hard-working students and advisors.

HOSA Regional Winners
Health Education (team) 1st place – Hajer Adem, (7); Zion Igisa (7); Kayla Rodriguez (6)
Exploring Medical Innovation (team) 1st place – Gabriel Kirk (8) and Angela Williams (8)
Health Career Preparation 1st place – Winter Heslin (7)
Foundations of Medical Terminology 1st place – Halilibragim Pashayev (7)
Foundations of Medical Terminology 2nd place – Gloria Vignon (7)
Life Threatening Situations (1st place) – Trinity Williams (7). She was not able to go to the State Conference.
HOSA State Winners:
Health Education (team) 1st place – Hajer Adem, (7); Zion Igisa (7); Kayla Rodriguez (6)
Health Career Preparation 1st place – Winter Heslin (7)
Foundations of Medical Terminology 1st place – Halilibragim Pashayev (7)
Foundations of Medical Terminology 2nd place – Gloria Vignon (7)
Leadership Academy Attendee – Nelly Kaneza (8)
About Pathway School of Discovery
Pathway School of Discovery is a tuition-free, public charter school in Dayton, Ohio, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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