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Ronan High School students advance to national HOSA competition

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RONAN — Some of Ronan High School’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) will be advancing to the organization’s international competition after medaling at the state competition in April. 

A worldwide organization, HOSA has a mission “to enhance the delivery of compassionate, quality health care by providing opportunities for knowledge, skill, and leadership development of all health occupations students; therefore, helping the students to meet the needs of the health care community,” according to their website. A mission that has become all the more critical, they say, in the wake of an acute shortage of qualified healthcare workers since the start of the pandemic. 

Ronan’s own HOSA division was started approximately 10 years ago by RHS science teacher Chris Briske. What motivated her to start the group, she said, was providing a career pathway for students. “It’s a way for them to get involved in health sciences, and there’s a huge demand,” Briske said. 

To qualify for state competition, students had to first submit proof that they had mastered certain skills by sending in video of them fulfilling tasks without prompting, such as the range of motion skill for physical therapy. A total of 13 RHS students were able to prove themselves and advance to state competition in Billings. Nearly all of them medaled in their chosen field. 

Juliette Cheff won gold for Medical Terminology, as did Nickolas Dresan in Physical Therapy. Robert Haggard won silver for Prepared Speaking. In the Creative Problem-Solving Event, Aaliyah Decker, Kyyen Shigley, Nicholas Dresan, and Lorenz Alvarez all won silver, and will carry on to the international competition in Nashville, Tennessee. 

As part of the HOSA program at the high school, Decker, Shingley, Dresan, and Alvarez have all completed internships this year at St. Luke Community Hospital for high school credit. Some students are working to become certified nursing assistants through the program as well.

In return, St. Luke is contributing $1,500 toward travel expenses to help get students to the international competition during a time when flight prices have seen a sharp increase. 

“St. Luke has been a really good partner,” Briske praised. “It definitely helps.” 

At the international contest, RHS students will compete against hundreds of other students from the U.S. and other countries. 

“We’re pretty excited,” Briske said.

To learn more about HOSA or how to help your student get involved, visit or call Ronan High School at 406-676-3390.

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