Two Delaware Area Career Center students will travel to Florida in June to compete in the HOSA – Future Health Professionals National Competition.
Olentangy High School senior Abigail Baker and Olentangy Orange High School senior Allison Holdcroft have been working on their community awareness project, which is about how dental health affects overall health. For their project, the DACC dental assisting duo created presentations for elementary school students and partnered with Common Ground Free Store and the Alpha Group, a local nonprofit aimed at helping individuals with disabilities.
The pair participated in HOSA state competitions earlier this month and took first place in the Community Awareness Project category.
“We came in super confident, but then they put you in waiting room with the rest of the other teams … and so we were like ‘maybe we don’t have it all together,’” Baker said. “We got called in and presented, and it didn’t go 100% according to plan. I’m super hard on myself, and I kept thinking ‘we’re not going to place.’”
Baker said they had printed off copies of their presentations for the judges and realized just minutes before being called in that two photos of the presentation were completely black. Holdcroft said the pictures weren’t necessary because the captions contained the same information, and she was much more positive about.
“I wasn’t as negative,” Holdcroft said. “I was confident we were going to place. First place was a little far for me, but I thought we did pretty well.”
Baker said when they won first place, they couldn’t contain their excitement.
“We screamed!” Holdcroft said. “Everyone knew it was us.”
“We were so obnoxious,” Baker laughed.
The duo were the only ones from the DACC to make it to the national competition by placing first on the state level. They will travel to Orlando, Florida, from June 19 to June 22 for the next competition. Baker said the team has its sights set high.
“We were really hopefully that some other people would make it, but we’re really excited,” Baker said. “Top three would be ideal … We want to win.”
Holdcroft said that within five minutes of winning the state competition, DACC Dental Assisting instructor Kamal Vilkhu was on the phone booking a hotel for the national competition.
“These HOSA competitions give the students an opportunity to go above and beyond the program curriculum and find their potential,” Vilkhu said. “Abby and Allie put in a lot of time outside the regular school day while making an impact on the community. They overcame a lot of roadblocks in their efforts to increase awareness in the community about the importance of oral health. I am proud of them and excited to have them represent the state of Ohio at the 42nd International Leadership conference in Orlando, Florida, in June.”
The pair said they will be practicing and refining their presentation ahead of the competition, and the whole project has been a learning experience.
“We’ve learned a lot of life skills in general,” Holdcroft said. “Being stuck in a traditional high school, we didn’t get the opportunity to get out into our community, and this topic made us get out off our comfort zones.”
Both students said they aren’t actually planning on studying dental assisting after graduation, and instead, plan to study to be educators.
“It’s been so much fun,” Baker said. “Honestly, it’s been my biggest motivation through senior year.”
Baker said she’s planning on studying early childhood education at Bowling Green State University, and Holdcroft said she’s planning to studying special education at the University of Cincinnati.
The other students who competed in the HOSA state competition were:
• Coutney Thaggard, a junior, who took ninth place in the knowledge test competition.
• Lauren Gilaspy, a junior, took 10th place in the BioMed lab science competition.
• Seniors Michaela Neal, Nicoly Anicio, Katie Burke and Jenna Canfield took sixth place in the creative problem solving competition.
• Renae Gornichec, a senior, took fifth in the dental terminology competition.
• Madison Withrow, a junior, took eighth place in the job seeking skills competition.
• Sophia Kalinke, a senior, took sixth place in the prepared speech competition.