JVS health tech students heading to June national competition in Florida

ON TO NATIONALS — Junior health technologies students Sam Shrock and Azrielle Pratko will represent the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School in June when they head to Orlando, Fla., for the Health Occupations Students of America 42nd-annual International Leadership Conference. -- Contributed

BLOOMINGDALE — Junior health technologies students Azrielle Pratko and Sam Shrock will represent the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School this June when they head to Orlando, Fla., for the Health Occupations Students of America’s 42nd-annual International Leadership Conference.

The two will join approximately 10,000 students from 47 states and Puerto Rico for a series of competitions and conference events.

Pratko, who hails from Indian Creek High School, and Shrock, who attends Edison High School, were part of the CPR/first aid team and squared off against 18 other teams from across Ohio during the state HOSA competition held April 9-10 at the Columbus Convention Center.

They first had to complete a written knowledge test, and the top 10 teams went on to perform hands-on skills tests, with Pratko focusing on CPR and Shrock showcasing his knowledge of first aid. They were among the top three teams selected to advance to the national event on June 19-22.

Both expressed being excited about moving on, but for various reasons.

“I’m ecstatic,” Pratko said. “I just moved from Florida in August, and I’m excited to go back.”

“It’s two of my biggest dreams come true — to fly and go to Florida,” Shrock added.

Both said their interest in the health field was sparked by medical issues that hit close to home, and they now plan to pursue careers in that sector. Pratko is eying a future in pharmacology and may serve the in the military as a corpsman or with the Navy Reserves while Shrock said he may pursue nursing.

HOSA Adviser Tammy Sismondo, who also instructs the health tech program at JCJVS, was proud of the duo and said they toiled in preparation of the contest.

“It takes a lot of dedication to get to that point,” she said. “They worked really hard to get there.”

She added that JVS has had students attend the nationals for at least a decade, and they learn a lot along the way. “It’s going to be a great opportunity. They get to meet other students from across the United States, go to symposiums and have leadership opportunities,” Sismondo said.

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