Highlands Intermediate School Shines at the Hawaii HOSA State Finals


Highlands Intermediate School Shines at the Hawaii HOSA State Finals

By Tazekiel Gaoteote, 8th Grader at Highlands Intermediate School



Highlands Intermediate School (HIS) had 11 students who have qualified for the HOSA 43rd Annual International Leadership Conference in their inaugural year. The list of qualifications are shown below:


Foundations of Medical Terminology 

1st place – Kyson Nishitomi

2nd place – Annika Bercasio 

3rd place – Andrea Orioste


Health Career Exploration 

1st place – Christy Lau

2nd place – Azaliyah Cariaga 


Math for Health Careers

1st place – Kiana-Raine Sumarnap 

2nd place – Tazekiel Gaoteote


Medical Reading 

1st place – Shelby Watanabe 

2nd place – Aidan Chang   

3rd place – Nadia Hrynewych 



2nd – Maiah Oba


Hawaii HOSA is a state-wide program that focuses on the medical field. The mission of Hawaii HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) is to empower HOSA-Future Health Professionals to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration, and experience. The Hawaii HOSA program offered 53 events that students competed in this year. The events covered all aspects of the medical field, such as Math for Health Careers and Foundations of Medical Terminology.  HOSA strives to nurture students’ interests in the medical field in middle school so that they can continue their passion and interests throughout their lives. Mrs. Kathy Lin, head coach at HIS, encourages anyone with a passion for the medical field to join this program as it will provide a place where your enthusiasm can turn into a career. While the pandemic has been difficult, students have met after school online with their coaches daily. The first semester exposed the students to the diverse field of health care through a buffet of events. Then, in the second semester, the students specialized in their events. They took weekly exams in preparation for the State Finals held in February. The dedication of the students resulted in their outstanding performance at the Hawaii HOSA State Finals.  Here are testimonies of students from HIS Science Club to share their experiences in the HOSA program:


How did the Hawaii HOSA Activities impact your experience in the program?


Kyson: The Hawai’i Executive Councils provided many opportunities to promote and empower the leadership of fellow HOSA Future Health Professionals. Of such activities, some included the Fall Leadership Workshop, in which the Executive council taught about effective communication, planning, and execution. At another activity, the Among Us Social, we got to learn about leadership and have fun along the way! At the 2021 State Leadership Conference, we got to compete against many schools across the state, testing our knowledge on certain aspects of leadership, health science, and other aspects of the medical field. SLC also provided an array of Online Symposiums and Workshops which includes Ending the Youth Vaping Epidemic, Seizure First Aid Training, and an AHEC Informational and Advising Session. 


Tazekiel: Before I joined HOSA, I had a passion for math, but no passion for the medical field. But the event, Math for Health Careers, had introduced to me how I could use my love for math in the medical field. It really opened a new world for me on how the medical field works and how it seems like a career I might be interested in. 


How did Hawaii HOSA grow your interest in the medical field?


Kyson: Before participating in the HOSA program, I didn’t understand a thing about the medical profession. The program has provided me the opportunity to be tested on the knowledge that could serve as a foundation at medical school. HOSA opened the door to the myriad of professions that lie under the category of medicine. This opened the train of thought, converting the question of “What profession do I want to do” to “Which profession of the medical field do I want to pursue.” 


Kiana: Before joining HOSA I had no clue what I wanted to do for my future career.  The range of events that HOSA provided allowed me to look into the different jobs available in the medical field. As I submerged deeper into the HOSA program, I discovered other occupations involved in medical sciences and found a particular liking towards biomedical engineering. 


How did Hawaii HOSA impact your middle school experience? 


Kyson:  I was offered multiple opportunities to communicate and network with people who shared a common interest in pursuing a medical profession. These communications also extended out to other schools too! The socials that Hawai’i HOSA provided helped me to connect to other students from different schools across the state. I was also provided an opportunity to practice leadership, by being the event leader for Medical Terminology, offering challenging tests to my peers every week. 


Kiana: I felt that the HOSA program really helped me, but my peers as well, into better students. Since this program is offered as an elective at Highlands, people had to choose to be in this class. By doing so, I was surrounded by people of similar interests. I saw how this program shaped us into hard-working individuals. My teacher likes to say “misery likes company,” and we really took it to heart during this pandemic. We found it hard to stay motivated, but being that we’re doing it together made the current situation less stressful.  Daily meetings after school kept us motivated and focused on our events.