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No argument, Collins debate team is tops

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Took first in state competition, now raising money for international contest

By Ashley Sutter

Three Collins High School HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America)students are eager to head to Texas this summer to compete at the International Leadership Conference.

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Juniors Jacob Hisle, Jerry Lancaster and Ryan Waford earned their bid after a first place finish in biomedical debate at the state leadership conference last month.

Lancaster, the president of Collins chapter, said HOSA is a club open to anyone interested in the health and medical field.

Led by Collins Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Biomedical Teacher Kristin Howell, the Collins HOSA chapter took numerous students to the state competition last month.

“We split up into teams and competed in different events,” Hisle said, explaining his team competed in biomedical debate. “And we got first.”

Lancaster said it was their first year competing in that area of competition and their goal was to at least place high enough to qualify for the international competition.

“They set the goal for themselves from the beginning of the year and they worked hard,” Howell said of her students.

Their debate topic, Howell said, was on social media usage and whether or not it should be limited in teens.

While the topic was given to them beforehand, which side of the debate they would be on would not be revealed until right before the competition.

But the team went in well studied and prepared.

“We were still editing speeches and stuff the hour before because we were consistently finding new information,” Hisle said. “I know a lot more now about social media.”

The students said they were pleased to get the affirmative side of the debate, arguing that social media should be limited in teens and used data on increased suicide rates to drive home their reasoning.

The team felt confident coming out of their debate but were still in shock with the announcement of their first place finish.

Howell said she’s very pleased with her team’s work. “I am so incredibly proud of them for what they’ve been able to accomplish,” she said.

With the top honor comes the opportunity to compete in the International Leadership Conference in Dallas this June.

While they have the same topic, they again will not know what side of the debate they will be on until just before the competition.

“We are not going into it blind,” Howell said. “We are going to prepare as best as possible. But it’s going to be a pretty new experience for all of us.”

In addition to preparing themselves mentally, the team also needs to work out the financial preparations.

“We are still a developing HOSA chapter,” Howell said, explaining this was the first year they’ve ever really been able to fundraise. “But we exhausted most of our budget getting everyone to the state competition.”

While several helpful donations have already been made, Howell said money is unfortunately their biggest hurdle.

“These young individuals have been killing it getting out and getting support from the community and I could not be more proud of what they’ve done but we could still use a little more help,” Howell said.

The team needs to raise enough funds to cover airfare, hotel, registration, transportation and food for the duration of their stay.  “There’s a lot of cost considerations.”

Howell said any amount is appreciated.

Those looking to help financially can send money through their Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/collinshosa2018or write a check to Martha Layne Collins HOSA.  For more information or to obtain a sponsor letter form, e-mail Howell at kristin.howell@shelby.kyschools.us.