HOSA prepares to go to Nationals


Dahslee Hernandez

Senior HOSA member Rokhaya Mbengue works on selling roses and candy grams during valentine’s day in attempt to raise money for HOSA’s national leadership conference.

Dahslee Hernandez


HOSA, also known as Future Health Professionals, is an organization that prepares and challenges students to enhance their future health care abilities. Like many schools across the country, Franklin Learning Center’s HOSA members are taking serious preparations to go to this year’s 2023 HOSA’s International Leadership Conference competition in Dallas, Texas this year.  

A HOSA competition is where students will be able to compete in different events against other members from different schools. Members have to start studying and preparing beforehand to compete for the HOSA state conference.

In order to be able to go to the international conference, students would have to win gold, silver or bronze at the State leadership conference in Valley Forge to be eligible to go to the International conference. Once the results of the winners of the State competition are released, those students will be able to take more action into the planning for the national competition trip. The upcoming State conference will be held towards the end of March.

Ms. Way, one of HOSA’s advisors, explained, “We go through all the competitive events that are available through HOSA.” Way added, “We try to get everyone ready by making sure that they understand the guidelines of everything that they have to do, that they have their supplies, and their necessary books. Some of the students have expensive textbooks that they need to study from.”

Sophomore, Diego Burnett, will be competing in the prepared speech event at the state competition. Burnett is preparing for the event by keeping his mind open. Burnett says,”I don’t want to put it down on paper yet because I feel like if I put it down on paper I’ll stick with that idea.” For this event, he explains, “I’m supposed to write a speech for about five minutes and then present it.” The competition involves giving students a specific topic for them to write about as well as having them present it in an orderly fashion. 

Senior Rokhaya Mbengue is the secretary for HOSA. Her job includes making sure everyone is at the meetings every week  as well as making sure the sign in sheets are filled. This year, Mbengue will be competing in the health education event at the state conference with her partner Massa Tarawaly. 

We’re really reliant on tons of fundraising to be able to raise over $10,000 each year.

— Jessica Way - HOSA adviser

Mbengue explains their topic stating, “Me and Massa’s parents are both from Africa. We are focusing on the diet and nutrition and how the foods in Africa are bad for you and could give you heart disease.” Mbengue continued “We are going to make a presentation, a slideshow and we will present it to people in the community for awareness.”

HOSA requires many expenses. In order to be able to attend this year’s competition, HOSA members have made various attempts to raise money. The state competition cost has already been raised, but Ms. Way and HOSA members continue to raise money. The events HOSA plans as well as the merchandise they sell currently, is used to raise money to reserve seats for those who win their competition, allowing them to be able to attend the national competition in Dallas. 

“We’re really reliant on tons of fundraising to be able to raise over $10,000 each year. And then on top of it, we also ask for private donations as well,” Way explained. 

HOSA sells a variety of food items out of Ms. Ways classroom. During the week, HOSA members will go around the school selling pretzels, assorted snacks and drinks. For Valentine’s Day, HOSA sold roses with candy grams. The thought of the roses not making enough sales caused Ms. Way to post about them on social media for community support, which allowed HOSA to raise the necessary funds. 

“In fact, this year when we had to sell HOSA roses, some of the biggest benefactors, people who bought a lot of roses, were alumni that heard that we were short on cash. I made that public and they came to the rescue. A lot of them bought dozens of roses to help support. They were kids who had already won medals in the past and wanted to support kids who are going on the trip now.” Ms. Way explained. 

Competition at nationals is not only a chance to explore health professions, but to also meet different students from around the world. Students from FLC get to go outside of Philadelphia and meet HOSA members world wide.

“Each state has its own state pin and the kids wear a sash around their neck where they collect state pins from different states.” says Way as she speaks about her past experiences at nationals.  “They start with five state pins on their sash. They trade those with kids from other states or from Puerto Rico or from Mexico or from Canada, which is why it’s an international conference. We have kids from China coming now.” 

One thing special about FLC HOSA is that they have their very own state officer as a part of their club. 

Senior Connor McFarland, the state officer, reveals,“I’m leading the general sessions. I’m on stage talking. I’m doing presentations for like symposiums as well as hosting the business meetings, and things of that nature,” McFarland explained. “Being a state officer, we’re working all year to put this together. We’re working on some of the scripts. We’re doing all the social media for it. We’re doing events throughout the year to get the excitement up for it.”

McFarland competed in the national competition his sophomore year in the forensic science event. Soon after, he underwent the process to become state officer and was chosen state officer his sophomore year. McFarland has been a state officer ever since. Along with 4 other HOSA students representing Pennsylvania, McFarland works on the team to preside over the conference instead of competing in it. 

This year, HOSA has shattered expectations with registration numbers. This year’s competition will be the largest State leadership conference in years. It was difficult coming back to school having dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, but the club has worked hard to build itself back up and present students with endless opportunities. 

“I think it’s really meaningful for the kids who get to go,” said Way. “ They get to meet so many other young people who are interested in healthcare the same way they are.”