A White Sands Missile Range teen was recently recognized with two gold medals at the annual state Health Occupations Students of America conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Feb. 26. Kaela Finstad, a sophomore at Arrowhead Early College High School and Medical Academy, has only competed in HOSA one other time.
“I did it freshman year and I really enjoyed it,” Finstad said. “I didn’t win a medal that year and I made it a goal of mine to get a medal next year.”
Finstad was awarded in the home health aide and the healthy lifestyle category. The home health aide category judges a student’s ability to properly conduct basic home health aide like cleaning out dentures, emptying urinals, checking temperatures and properly putting on compression tights. In the healthy lifestyle category Finstad had to create a portfolio of her health goals. From there a panel of judges asked her questions about her process in creating the portfolio and what challenges were faced throughout the process.
The competition is open to all high school grade levels. The national competitions will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, June 21 to 25. Only the students who received a medal can compete, in Finstad’s case she can only choose to compete in one of the two categories in which she won. She said she will be competing in the healthy lifestyle category. Though she is really passionate about the competition, Finstad said she is still trying to decide what her career goals are after high school.
“This competition is helping me figure out what I want to do and helping me decide what I really enjoy,” she said.
Finstad said she has studied really hard to get her medals and had great study resources. She credits her teacher Dr. Eppie Rivas, who has been a nurse for 33 years and has taught for the past 13 years, for helping coach her through categories in home health aide before the competition.
“I am very confident that Kaela will do great at nationals,” Rivas said.
Last year Rivas said 22 students competed in the state competition and seven qualified for nationals. This year 45 students went to state and 36 qualified for nationals. Only 19 of them will be attending the Nashville competition. The high school is currently holding several events to raise funds for the upcoming competitions.