National event next for tech duo

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 SHEPHERDSVILLE - A pair of seniors in the Bullitt County Area Technology Center’s Health Sciences Technology program earned honors at 33rd Kentucky Health Occupational Students of America (HOSA) Spring Leadership Conference March 23-25 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville.

Alyssa Arbeiter of North Bullitt High School and Mary Miles of Bullitt East High School qualified for national competition this June in Anaheim, CA. Alyssa won First Place in Personal Care and Mary won Third Place in Extemporaneous Health Poster.

“I am so proud of them,” said Health Sciences teacher Carrie Smith. “Alyssa and Mary were very poised and focused during the state competition. I took eight students to state and all eight conducted themselves in a very professional manner and worked really hard at doing their absolute best in their events. Each student will be a great asset to whatever healthcare career they choose. They really did a great job representing Bullitt County.”

“I want to take this time to congratulate all the students who participated and did their best in each of their competitions,” said Principal Brady Southwood. “Each one represented themselves, their schools, and their school districts well at the competition.”

Fellow students were overjoyed by their classmates’ accomplishments.

“When they announced the winners, we were all screaming,” smiled North Bullitt senior Briana Hester. “I was so happy for them.”

Briana invested a lot of time working with Alyssa in preparation for state.

“She played the patient,” Mrs. Smith noted. “Briana gave Alyssa hands-on experience in a way she could only receive in a real-life setting.”

Alyssa acknowledged appreciation to her friend.

“There is no way I could have won at state without Briana’s help,” Alyssa said. “She worked with me during class and after school.”

There were eight health science students who competed at state. Mary and Alyssa said they all bonded like a family.

“We felt more like sisters than students,” Alyssa said.

State competition involves actual usage of textbook studies and hands-on work Ms. Smith requires in her classroom. Competitors do not know what to expect so they must rely on what they have learned.

Alyssa admitted to an extreme bout of nerves leading up to her competition.

“I remember my heart beating real fast and my face getting red,” she said. “Then when I was working with the patient the judge was watching my every move and I got even more nervous.”

A few words from the judge calmed her down.

“I heard the judge say I was doing a good job,” she said.

Alyssa had eight minutes to fix a bed for a patient to be as comfortable as possible. She had to turn the patient over on his side while she adjusted the mattress and blanket, fluffed up several pillows and place them at various points on a patient’s torso.

Watching Alyssa work with Briana as her patient and it becomes clear the task sounds a lot more simple than it is.

This is where Ms. Smith’s teaching kicks in.

“She told me to talk while I worked,” Alyssa said. “I said everything I was doing out loud. That helped me remember the sequence and do it right.”

She had the choice to work with either a mannequin or a live person at state. She chose a human.

“I was so used to working with Briana,” she said.

Even though the judge complimented Alyssa as she worked, the 18 year-old daughter of Kim Arbeiter did not think she performed well enough to place.

“I was so shocked when they called my name,” she grinned. “I was even more surprised when it was for first place!”

She and Briana now have much more work to do before California.

“I know we have to study from a book but that’s so not me,” Alyssa confessed. “I am totally a hands-on person. Even if you show me how I won’t learn it as well until I actually do it myself.”

Mary was also faced with the same challenge at state...the unknown.

“They gave us poster board and markers...that’s all,” she explained. “Then they told us our topic.”

She got sleep disorders which instantly brought a smile.

“I knew I had to study on everything just in case,” Mary said. “That was one area I actually spent more time on because it interests me. I was glad when it was named my category.”

She had to draw freestyle and include scientific information about the causes of sleep disorders, their prevalence in individuals and ways for people to cope.

Mary was thankful she had a thorough understanding of the topic.

“My teacher is awesome!” she said. “Ms. Smith coached me in class on details about sleep disorders that I used for the poster.”

She does not know what awaits her in California but is delighted for the opportunity.

“I’ll just go and do the best I can,” said the 18 year-old daughter of Jean Ann and Eddie Miles.

Both youths will enter the health profession once they graduate high school in May.

“I plan to take classes at Jefferson Community College and then transfer to the University of Louisville and concentrate on pediatrics,” said Alyssa.

“The students are working hard to fund raise so they can achieve their goal; however they are running out of time,” Ms. Smith said. “They already paid for their registration fees, but need to pay for their airfare now before the ticket price goes up and they also need to book their hotel rooms before they are gone. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.”

For more information about making a donation, please contact the Bullitt County Area Technology Center at (502) 543-7018.

Bullitt County Public Schools has nearly 13,000 students in grades kindergarten through 12. There are 25 school facilities, a certified staff of over 850 and a classified staff of over 850 working every school day to make the district the leader in educational excellence.