Six Pacific High School students received some help from the first Meramec Valley School District health occupations (HOSA) teacher as they prepare to participate in the national health occupations conference in Orlando.

The students will attend the 37th annual HOSA National Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla., June 23-29.

They will meet other students in the health occupations fields from across the country.

Participants are studying for careers in nursing, dental science, physical therapy, public health, biomedicine, sports medicine, epidemiology and other related health fields.

While in Orlando, students will have an opportunity to compete in one of more than 30 health-related practices, which they competed in at the state level.

The six PHS students won the slot in the national contest at a Missouri state competition at East Central College March 25.

Mary Beth Schmidt, R.N., the first Pacific High School HOSA teacher, donated $1,000 toward the girls’ trip.

Schmidt started the HOSA program in 1969 when it was one of six such programs in the state.

After serving as a HOSA teacher for 38 years, Schmidt said she had heard about the girls winning state competition and wanted to help them with the cost of the trip to national competition.

“You are the future,” Schmidt told the students “Even if you don’t end up in the health field as a career this training will help launch you into any career.”

Schmidt predicted a great experience for the PHS students.

“I’ve been to every HOSA conference over the years and I can tell you, you’re in for a great experience meeting fellow students from all over the U.S.,” she said. “I know that you meet lots of Missouri students at the state competition, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at meeting people from all over the country.”

Students who will make the trip include Karissa Archambault, Kassidy Shelton, Kalley Buchanan, Miranda Lauth, Brittany Stanfill and Mickayla Vangyia. They will be among 1,000 HOSA students from Missouri.

Buchanan, Stanfill and Archambault will compete in the health education competition. They captured the gold in that category in the state competition.

Shelton will compete in extemporaneous health poster, for which she won at the state level. Vangyia will compete in medical photography after her state win in the same category.

Lauth will compete in nurse assisting. She captured the gold at the state level in that category.

The cost for the six students to make the trip is about $4,000. They are participating in fund-raisers o help raise funds.

Cathy Hartmann teaches the PHS class.