NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Several high school students enrolled in the Pathways to Tomorrow (P2T) program in West Point participated in a conference this summer with others from across the world that focused on occupations in the healthcare industry.

Ten of 13 of P2T’s Health Science students who qualified at the state level took part in the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) International Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tenn. The International Leadership Conference (ILC) is the highlight of the year for HOSA members and advisors featuring dynamic general sessions, informative business sessions, nationally known speakers, health care industry tours, competitive events, awards, recognition, and more.

The thirteen-chapter members qualified for ILC during the Nebraska HOSA State Leadership Conference in Omaha in March.

The ten students who participated in the international conference included Ella Bridges, Kennedi Cooper and Payton Nolting, Bancroft-Rosalie; Erica Engelmeyer and Hailey Hunzeker, Guardian Angels Central Catholic (West Point); Blair Fiala and Kennady Schmidt, Howells-Dodge; Sadie Nelson and Faith Hendrickson, Oakland-Craig; and Riley Heller, West Point-Beemer. The other qualifiers were Erin Jensen and Tori Buss, Guardian Angels Central Catholic, and Makenna Buss, Oakland-Craig.

Qualifiers and the categories they competed in at ILC include:

Biomedical Debate (Team) – Cooper, Bridges, Fiala, and Jensen.

Clinical Specialty – Engelmeyer.

Cultural Diversities & Disparities in Healthcare – Bridges.

Dental Science – Nolting.

EMT (Team) – Heller and Schmidt.

Epidemiology – Makenna Buss.

Health Care Issues – Makenna Buss and Fiala.

Home Health Care – Hendrickson and Hunzeker.

Pharmacy Science – Tori Buss.

Pharmacology – Tori Buss.

When not competing or attending sessions at the conference, the P2T students had the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of Nashville, touring its world-famous Broadway Street and listening and dancing to live country music.

Sponsors and instructors of the students are Dale Mundil and Daniel Bridges.

"Having thirteen of our HOSA Chapter Members from P2T even qualify for the international competition says a lot about the quality of health science students we have here. We benefit from our partner schools sending us their best, most high performing students,” Bridges said. “Having some of those students advance past the first round at the international competition is an amazing accomplishment. Our EMT Team of Riley Heller and Kennady Schmidt, along with Faith Hendrickson in the Home Health Care competition made it into the second round, which means they were in the top 25 at the international competition. We are very proud of how they represented P2T, themselves and their home schools."

The group received a financial contribution of $16,300 from the Board of Directors of the Donald E. Nielsen Foundation to cover expenses and fees for the students and their sponsors to attend the conference.

Now in its sixth year, the P2T consortium has offered career and technical education (CTE) classes. This is the second year that classes have been held at the Northeast Community College extended campus in West Point. High school students have the option to enroll within five career pathways: building construction, computer sciences, education, health sciences, and welding. Students may also enroll in classes to earn their Commercial Driving License (CDL). All the programs offered through P2T are aligned to ensure transferability to all Nebraska public post-secondary institutions.

P2T, facilitated through Educational Service Unit (ESU) #2, includes seven-member schools: Bancroft-Rosalie, Emerson-Hubbard, Guardian Angels Central Catholic (West Point), Howells-Dodge, Lyons Decatur Northeast, Oakland-Craig, and West Point-Beemer.