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Pathway HOSA Scholars Attend State Leadership Conference

At a conference full of high schoolers, none of the scholars from the Pathway School of Discovery were out of place.
The school’s Future Health Professionals (HOSA) program attended the Ohio State Leadership Conference, learning and competing among about 2,500 other students from across the state. Pathway brought 10 middle school scholars to the event in Toledo, Ohio.
The conference featured a plethora of workshops and educational sessions for students to learn more about health care professions and being leaders in that field of work. The conference also featured an expo that connected scholars with colleges, universities, and potential health care employers. Library Technology Specialist and Pathway’s HOSA Advisor Harry Dittrich said this gave scholars valuable information.
“They got an idea of what their trajectory is once they get into high school,” Dittrich said. “They learned what they need to do in high school and so forth getting into college. Another thing that was touched on was what jobs are out there. They learned what jobs are in demand and we've got quite a lot in demand right now, especially in Ohio.”
Competitive juices were flowing for some Pathway scholars, as well. Scholars competed in two different areas: Health Sciences and Leadership. Health Sciences competitions require scholars to research different topics and present their findings. Leadership events are all about displaying the initiative required for a certain field of work.
Dittrich said one competition was exciting because it tied together numerous themes the group was working on. The Health Education competition tasked scholars with creating a full lesson plan and implementing it. The group’s passion combined with their blossoming leadership skills led to success with an assist from the school’s K-2 wing, as Pathway’s HOSA scholars took the role of teacher with young students.

Pathway students at Ohio HOSA State Leadership Conference.
Pathway sixth- through eighth-graders attended the conference with 2,500 other students, most of whom were high schoolers.

Middle schoolers were welcomed to the conference but were in the minority compared to Ohio’s high-school students in attendance. While it may be intimidating, Pathway’s scholars dove in and fully engaged with the conference. In competitions, middle-school students didn’t compete against high schoolers, but competition judges were eager to share that Pathway’s scholars often performed better than their high school counterparts. High-quality performance is nothing new for Pathway scholars, who have outperformed the local district for 16 years.
“That was eye opening to them,” Dittrich said. “Some of the content was geared toward high schoolers, but I told them, ‘Think about it like this: you are getting this experience now. Imagine where you’ll be when you get to high school. You’re getting ahead and you’re going to have a better understanding of the path going forward.’”
The conference wasn’t only educational. Scholars got to experience a Toledo Mud Hens game and were on the field pregame.
Up next for this group of scholars is the HOSA International Leadership Conference from June 26-29 in Houston. Dittrich said all 10 scholars earned the right to attend and hopes he can bring all 10 with him.
Great work, Pathway HOSA Scholars and Mr. Dittrich!

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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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