It’s hard enough being a senior in high school, getting ready not only for graduation with all the academic requirements but for college entrance as well.
For Manteca High School senior Isabella Garcia-Mendez, she has the additional challenge of handling her myriad responsibilities as state treasurer and Regional vice president of California HOSA: Future Health Professionals.
Founded in 1976, HOSA stands for Health Occupations Students of America. It is currently known as HOSA-Future Health Professionals, described as a “national career and technical student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Technology Education Division.” Its current membership is 175,000, and its headquarters is in Southlake, Texas.
The mission of HOSA is “to enhance the delivery of compassionate, quality health care by providing opportunities for knowledge, skill and leadership development of all health science technology education students; therefore, helping students to meet the needs of the health care community.”
As HOSA state treasurer, Garcia-Mendez represented her school and community at the three-day Washington Leadership Academy held in Washington, D.C. in September. Sponsored by the HOSA’s national executive council, the weekend leadership training included state representatives like her from all over the United States including Puerto Rico.
Over the summer, she also attended the National Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida, as a representative of California, HOSA. On Oct. 25, she will be leading the Region 1 Regional Leadership Conference to be held at Venture Academy in Stockton. Region 1 encompasses the northeastern part of California.
A HOSA member since her freshman year at Manteca High, Garcia-Mendez won her state office during a rigorous election held in March at the last State Leadership Conference in Anaheim. She earned the title by answering 100 questions geared at testing her knowledge of the principles, mission and history of HOSA, passing an interview conducted by the nominating committee, delivering a speech in front of the voting delegation, plus going through a caucus session.
Out of the 23 candidates, only six members were elected which included Garcia-Mendez.
She is the founder of the Sports Medicine program at Manteca High, and also co-founded Students for a Cause, a not-for-profit organization aimed at raising funds for disease research and awareness foundations. She also helped develop curriculum for the school-based Mental Health Standards and Curricula for Youth and Training for educators with Dr. Gustavo Loera.
The Buffalo senior found her passion for health care with the guidance of her Manteca High advisors – Mrs. Behler, Mr. Conway, Mr. Lee, and Mr. Burr.
Manteca High’s HOSA groups are involved in a variety of activities. At the recent Manteca Pumpkin Run, she and other officers ran a fund-raising booth where they sold fruits and bottled water for the runners. They are also running Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer Awareness campaigns on campus this month and in November.
On Mondays and Fridays, they are doing henna tattoos on campus to raise funds for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society in partnership with the HOSA National Service Project.
The first week of November, the group will be holding a HOSA week with activities that include dress-up days, lunch-time programs, and fund-raising efforts focused on raising awareness of the multiple health-care careers that are available.
To learn more about HOSA and California HOSA, visit hosa.org or cal-hosa.org.