Ask Abby

Not Something to Joke About

By Abby Cross

*All names have been changed or are not used to protect the privacy of these people.

Suicide. It’s not something to joke about, but everybody does.

As a young child, I was never aware of suicide. I was familiar with death, as I had had older relatives pass away of old age, or some type of illness.  At that age, though, I was unaware of what death really meant.

It wasn’t until about age 10 that I actually encountered suicide. I was outside in our shop working with my dad, or more so he was working and I was sitting watching him. He got a phone call from my grandma, his mom. I had no idea what was going on at the time. As he answered his phone, I saw his face drop. He began to cry and immediately hung up the phone. This was the first time I’d ever seen my dad cry; it wouldn’t be the last time in the next couple of weeks either.

He walked outside quickly and just stood in the middle of our backyard full of rocks and stared at the sky. I was still unaware of what was going on. I was too scared to ask him why he was crying, since I’d never seen him like that before. I think he forgot I was there because he looked startled when he realized I was standing there staring at him.

He tossed me his cell phone and told me to call my grandma back and tell her he was sorry for hanging up and that he was too upset to talk.

I called her back and she told me what had happened. His childhood best friend, Rob, had shot himself in the head and killed himself. This came as a shock to me considering the previous weekend we had went to his house after hunting, and he and my dad sat around talking and laughing for hours. I would have never guessed anything could be wrong with Rob.

My dad and Rob had been best friends their entire lives. They had gone to school together from kindergarten until they graduated college and were still friends long after. Even now, looking back, I can still remember what his smile looked like because it could light up an entire room.

This was only one of the three times suicide had rocked my world.

The second time someone in my life had committed suicide, I was 13 and in 7th grade. We were sitting in second hour, reading class, when there was an announcement over the intercom telling teachers to keep everybody in their second hour class. We were all a little bit confused, but happy because we were in our favorite teacher’s class. She was called out of the room and came back in crying. Now we were really confused. A few minutes later the principal came in and made an announcement that changed the rest of the school year for many of us. He told us that one of our classmates had shot himself in the head the previous night.

It took a very long time before anybody said anything. We were all trying to process what we had just heard. There was a lot of crying. Every single person in the room was crying. For many people, this was the first time they had experienced something like this. Many people didn’t understand how this could be true considering they had just talked to him the previous day, or like me, had sat next to him in class and laughed all hour.

All of his close friends blames the “popular kids” for bullying him, but as far as I could see, he was loved by everyone. His death hurt a lot of people. His funeral was packed. People had to stand outside, or in the refreshment room and watch on screens. He was loved by so many people, but he just couldn’t see it.

The most recent, and most impacting time suicide rocked my life was at the end of my junior year. Thankfully, this time, it was a failed attempt.

My best friend, took 40 sleeping pills one night because her boyfriend wouldn’t let her come hang out with him and his friends. Her boyfriend, at the time, had just gotten back from working out of state and had been with her for four days straight, and had not been allowed to see any of his other friends. He decided that a friend’s night was in order. We’d go bowling then go out to Merino for a small party. He did not want her to go because he really needed some space from her.

He let her come bowling with us, which was fine, but he wouldn’t let her come out to Merino with us, seeing as he needed a night away from her. She relentlessly called and texted him saying that she was coming with him and that he needed to pick her up. He repeatedly told her that he loved her but he needed some time with his friends.

We all drove out to Merino and were having a great time laughing and hanging out. She had quit texting him. He and I had went upstairs to talk when he received a text from her saying, “I’m sorry. I love you. Bye.” We both started freaking out and he called her. She said she had taken some sleeping pills because she just wanted to forget everything and go to bed. Little did we know she had taken 40 of them. We both knew something was very wrong. Him, in his truck, and my boyfriend and I, in his car, took off from Merino and made it to Sterling in a little over 10 minutes.

When we pulled up to her house, he was outside banging on the front door, but no one would answer. I told him to try the garage. He put in the code and it opened. We ran inside to find her laying on the stairs right next to the garage door, pretty much passed out. I ran into her mom’s room to tell her what was going on as he rushed her to the emergency room.

Her mom didn’t believe me when I told her what had happened. She said she was faking it to get attention. I told her it was serious and that he was taking her to the ER. My boyfriend and I then rushed there to meet them.

She ended up in the hospital for two days on suicide watch. Her mom blamed me for “excluding her” and wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say, even though I was one of the people who saved her daughter’s life.

After she came back to school, she was very different. We hardly ever talked, and when we did, it was very awkward. I’m sad to say that I lost my best friend that night, even though she is still actually alive.

Suicide is a topic that is thrown around as a joke or is not taken very seriously until it happens to someone you know. It’s something that just about every person experiences in their lifetime, even though we should not have to. So please, don’t joke about suicide. It can change your life forever.


Kickin it with Katlyn

By Katlyn LaPorte

Senior year is something I have been waiting for my entire life. It really did come and go so quickly. At the beginning of this year, college and graduation were just things that we talked about; now they’re a reality. It doesn’t seem real that in two weeks I’ll be getting my diploma, throwing my cap in the air, and spending one final day at Sterling High School with the people I’ve grown up with. It is so surreal that after seeing them every day for so many years, I may never see some of them again. It’s so hard to comprehend that only a year ago I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. Now I am set on studying criminal justice at the University of Northern Colorado, in Greeley next fall.

Senior year has brought so many emotions along with it. I’m STRESSED, but I’m also happy. I’m so scared but I’m also SO excited. I don’t know if anyone is ever really ready to leave home and move away from their mom (I know I’m not), but I’m sure ready to give it a shot.

It feels like only months ago I was getting ready for the first day of my freshman year. Four years really goes by faster than you could ever imagine. High school has had its ups and downs for me, like I’m sure it has for all my fellow classmates. You meet people in high school who will change your life forever. I couldn’t be more thankful for the people I got to spend my last year here with.

No one really tells you the truth about senior year. Coming into this school year I had the mindset that this would be my easiest year yet, and boy was I mistaken. No one tells you how difficult it is taking multiple college classes a semester along with your high school classes, applying for colleges and scholarships and choosing what you want to study and where you want to go, all within a timespan of nine months.

My advice for any underclassmen who are approaching their senior year: make sure to really take in the whole high school experience. Attend the sporting events, join the different clubs and teams, go to homecoming and prom and go out with your friends on the weekends. Don’t sit at home and do nothing because I promise you, no one is too cool to do these things and you will regret it if you don’t take advantage of these opportunities. Some of my best memories in high school were made cheering at football and basketball games, dressing up for homecoming week and getting all dressed up for prom.

Another thing no one really tells you, SENIORITIS IS A REAL THING. Don’t let it get the best of you. Your grades still matter all the way up until the end of the year, even if you have been accepted by a college already. Don’t just do the bare minimum to get by, even though I know how hard it is to fight procrastination. At the end of senior year, literally all the motivation you have will leave your body and will likely never come back. It happens to all of us, don’t worry.

Senior year is an incredibly emotional year that comes with so many “lasts.” From your last first day of school, to your last high school football game, to your last prom. These are the big things, but you’ll never understand until you live it how hard it is to say goodbye to your teammates and the sport you love forever once the season comes to an end, or how hard it is cleaning out your locker and driving out of the parking lot one last time. I can’t even imagine how hard it will be, and how many tears I will shed after I walk across the stage and have to say goodbye to my lifelong friends. I can not stress enough to make the absolute most of the time you have left in high school with these people. I still can’t really say I’m ready to graduate and for it to be over, but it’s happening. Hopefully I left my mark on Sterling High School, because it has definitely left its mark on me.

Kayla’s Korner

By Kayla Smithgall

When I entered SHS for my last first day of high school, I was thrilled. I was finally a senior. I knew my way around the school. I was known by most of the staff.  People moved out of my way; I didn’t have to move out of theirs. I only had nine short months until I could be done and move on.

I held that attitude for about the first three months of senior year.

On Nov. 12, my family and I went to the state playoff football game between Sterling and Bayfield. With only two minutes left, and Bayfield leading 41-0, my dad said, “Alright, let’s go.”

“Dad, can we please stay?” I said.

“Come on, Kayla. Seriously? There is no chance of us winning,” he replied.

My dad didn’t understand, and at the time, I didn’t understand why I wanted to stay either. But looking back on that day, I realized that was the first day that it finally hit me.

I was a senior. I was six months away from leaving the school I had gone to since 2013. I would soon leave the staff that knew me so well and would meet an entirely new and unfamiliar staff at my next school. I would once again become the freshman that had to move out of the seniors’ way. I would have to wander the halls of an unfamiliar school and pray I didn’t get lost.

I wanted to stay at that football game so badly because it would be the last high school game I would ever see. Sure, I can go to a football game this fall, but it won’t be the same. If I went, I wouldn’t see the class of 2017 standing in the first few rows and I wouldn’t be watching my classmates play.

Senior year is great until the moment of realization of what comes after graduation hits you.

After I graduate, I will no longer be able to buy cookies from the Tiger Kibble cart. I can’t get dolled up for Homecoming or Prom dances. I can’t participate in spirit week, no matter how lame or strange I think the theme days are. I won’t be the editor of The Bengal Cry. I won’t see my brother’s familiar face in the hall. I will no longer go to classes with people I’ve known since elementary school.

When you’re a senior, you go through a rollercoaster of emotions. One day, you are beyond ready to get out and the next day, you’re scared to leave. You have a panic attack when you think about how you’re going to make it on your own.

But you know what? It’s possible. I won’t end up homeless after I graduate. I’ll go to college and bond with the people there and have similar experiences to the ones I’ve had the last four years at this school. There will be differences, I’m sure, between the schools. They will be both good and bad differences, but I’m ready for them.

Someone asked me one day what I had learned during my time at SHS and at first, I was going to say nothing. But when I looked back, I have truly learned so many lessons, both big and small, over the last four years.

I have changed a lot since my freshmen year, and I’m so thankful for it. I will leave high school, ready for college and the real world. I’m ready for my next adventure to begin.


Tiger Scholars of May

By Hannah Mildenberger

In recognition for their years of service, the out-going members of The Bengal Cry staff are recognized as the Tiger Scholars for May 2017.

Senior Abby Cross is one of the four tiger scholars of May. Her GPA is at a 3.63. She plans on going to University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Early Childhood Education and earning a director degree. Ruth Henderson Memorial Scholarship, Elks scholarship and UNC Bears Scholarship are all of the scholarships that she has earned.

Cross plans on teaching daycare and preschool age children. “In 10 years, I am hopefully with a family and excelling at my career,”Cross said.
 Her favorite book series is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. She stated, “I like the fantasy side of it. It’s really fun and it kept me guessing.” Even though cross has her fascination with fantasy, when it comes to what she watches, her taste is much different. “My favorite tv show is That 70’s Show. It’s funny to watch. Moana is my favorite movie, because I could watch it over again and not get tired of it,”Cross said.
 “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything’s different.” said by C.S. Lewis is her favorite quote.
 If Cross could live anywhere in the world, she would stay in Sterling. Her favorite class is creative writing, because it’s  “a place where you can just be yourself through your own writing and Mr. Blake is pretty awesome.” Cross’s favorite teacher is Ian Blake. “He has made the biggest impact on my educational life and he has always been there to help,” Cross stated.
 The advice Cross gave to underclassmen is,  “Get your work done. Don’t cry about it. You’ll be much happier and won’t have to stress about it for the rest of the year.”
Her greatest accomplishment so far is that she got the Ruth Henderson Scholarship, since only one person per year gets it.
 When asked if she wanted to include anything else, she said, “Shout out to Mr. Blake for being awesome and my favorite teacher.”
 Senior Katlyn Laporte is the second tiger scholar at a 3.7 GPA. She is also a SHS cheerleader. Laporte also plays volleyball and watches Netflix outside of school. She plans on going to the University of Northern Colorado to study Criminal Justice. She received three scholarships. She wants to be a Criminal Investigator.
image1In 10 years, she wants to be married with a family and a steady career.
 Her favorite book is The Hunger Games, and her favorite tv show is Grey’s Anatomy,because “it’s really dramatic and I get really attached to the characters.”
 Laporte’s favorite quote is Isaiah 43:2. “When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you.” Laporte says that if she could live anywhere in the world she would live at Monte Carlo.
 Her favorite class is psychology. “I love learning about it and Maxwell is a really great teacher,” she said. She also really likes English. Her favorite teachers are Ian Blake, Amanda Maxwell, Hestor Howard ,and Robert Busmente.
 Laporte’s advice for underclassmen is “Enjoy it while you can, because it goesby really fast. Have the best time you can in high school.”
She said her greatest accomplishment so far is “taking third place in state cheer.”
 The third tiger scholar is senior Ethan Robinson with a GPA of 3.5. He is on NJC’s debate team. He also plays music with his band and writes.
Robinson plans on going to NJC for one year, then transferring to University of Colorado in Boulder. He plans on getting a Bachelor’s in English with a concentration in
creative writing. He got the NJC Hope Scholarship and some grants from FAFSA.
“I want to write. Just be a writer who can do Journalism. I may teach if I have
to,” he said.
“In 10 years, he sees himself living out in the woods and living off the land
basically become John Steinbeck.”
His favorite tv show is
Boardwalk Empire.
“Everything in the show is just top-notch. Acting. Set. Story. Music. Just
everything,” he said.
“So, we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? ”said by Hunter S. Thompson is Robinson’s favorite quote.
If he could live anywhere in the world he would live in either South America or
somewhere in Scandinavia.
His favorite class is journalism and his favorite teacher is Ian Blake.
Robinson’s advice for lower classmen is,
“Concentrate on doing what you are passionate about or try to figure out what that is cause that’s important to know.”
Pursuing his music and his writing is his greatest accomplishment so far.Smithgall 16 0152
Lastly, senior Kayla Smithgall, member of student council, is also a tiger scholar
at a GPA of 3.8. During her time away from school she likes to volunteer.
She plans on going to NJC for two years to learn about early childhood
education. She received five scholarships; one of them being the NJC Hope
Smithgall wants to become a teacher and have a positive influence on her future students.
“In 10 years, she sees herself teaching in Sterling.
Maybe married, maybe not,” she said.
Her favorite books are by Mary Higgins Clark, which are mystery books.

“My dad is an investigator, so I like to read mystery books and try to figure them out before he does,” she said.

A Walk To Remember is my favorite movie, because it has a good message to it,” she said.

Her favorite quote is “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” said by Eleanor Roosevelt.

If she could live anywhere in the world, Smithgall said she would live somewhere over seas.

Her favorite class is ceramics.

“I like being able to create whatever I want,” Smithgall said.

“My favorite teacher is Ms. Scott. She’s really good at aspiring kids. She doesn’t hold us back if we have a crazy idea,” she said.

“Take every opportunity you have to do something, because if you don’t, you might regret it someday,” she advised lower classmen.

Smithgall’s greatest accomplishment so far is being able to graduate high school.

Spring Sports

By Amarise Buanteo

Girls Soccer

The girls soccer team has had an a successful this year. They had qualified for the the state soccer playoffs. This was the last season of lady tigers soccer, for seniors Cheyanne Bennett and Jaycie Dillenburg. They fought hard to make it to where they were but sadly the team did not make it past the the playoffs. The lady tigers fought to make it into the playoffs and they fought hard during the playoffs, but they lost 3-1 against Pagosa Springs.

Senior Jaycie Dillenburg has been on the SHS soccer team all throughout her high school career. She plans on continuing her soccer career at NJC after high school.  This year on the team she was the captain and the leader.

“The things I will miss most about soccer are all the little things that happen everyday in practice with my teammates and coaches that nobody else understands,” said Dillenburg.

Dillenburg also said, “My biggest accomplishment is breaking two more school records.”

Junior Peyton Huss has been on the girls soccer team for two years now. This year she was one of the team captains alongside Jaycie Dillenburg.  The goal they made this year we to make it to playoffs which is exactly what they wanted at the beginning of the season. She plans to continue playing for the rest of her high school career.

“The best memory from this season is beating Frontier Academy in the pouring rain,” said Huss.

Huss also said,”The season is going well! We qualified for playoffs, which is exactly where we want to be right now.”

Sophomore Nevaeh Archuleta has been on Lady tigers soccer team for two years now. She enjoys playing soccer with all her friends and improving on what she needed to be a better player. She plans to continue playing for the lady tigers for the rest of her high school year.

“My goal this year was to work hard with my team, and just be able to work the ball a lot more.  I’d say my biggest accomplishment this year was talking more on the field and working more on my crosses and shots,” said Archuleta.

Sophomore Paige Dettmer has been on the SHS lady tigers soccer team for two years now. She has made many memories with her teammates on and off the field. She works hard for where she wants to be on the team and achieved it.

Dettmer said, “Starting varsity at the beginning of the year. I worked hard for that starting position and I got it. My goal for this year is to just play the game I love and push myself as much as possible.”

The season was a good for both varsity and junior varsity. The varsity team met their goal for the year by making it to the playoffs. Even though the season ended in the playoffs they played hard while having a good time. They beat the teams they wanted to beat and they made new records, along with many great memories.

soccer 1500


The 2017 track season was not a one of the best track seasons there has been. With all the bad weather that has been happening and due to the bad weather the track was torn. There was supposed to be a home meet and the very last home meet for our SHS seniors but it was canceled due to the track being torn. Even though the season started out tough the team has came out on top.

Victor Ferri picture

Senior Victor Ferri has been in track for all of his high school career. He has been a two time state champion for pole vault. He will be returning to state this year to try and get his third state championship. He’s ranked as number one in the state right now.

“The season has been amazing it started out rough with the track being torn and the weather being bad. Although the last couple of weeks the weather has been better,” said Ferri

“Being state championship buddies with Austin our sophomore year and getting through interviews together. My goal for this year was to clear 16 feet and 8 inches half an inch taller than the world women’s record and to be able to say I’m better than a woman would be dope,” said Ferri

kylie chavez

Senior Kylie Chavez has been in track all throughout her high school career and plans on taking it to the next level by continuing track in college. She is currently first in triple jump, and second in long jump and high jump. She is hoping to bring home another state championship for this year.

Chavez said, “My favorite memory is winning state my freshman year. I was so young it was crazy to believe I’d won and it took sometime to sink in! State track is always the most fun experience.

“What I’m going to miss most about track is the atmosphere. All the people from so many schools are amazing. I’ll also miss tanning in the sun after my events,” Chavez also said.

Although the track team had a rough start with the track being torn and the weather not being the best they could they still came out on top. With most of the track team going to state and many of them being in the top for their events is a proud accomplishment. Hoping that all team members do well at state and bring home some more state championships.


Baseball is America’s pastime at least that’s how many people know it. In the springtime people get out the lawn chairs and the coolers because it’s the start of high school baseball. The SHS baseball team has worked hard this year beating one of the hardest teams to accomplishing the goals they had set for themselves. They had to play in some tough weather with it switching between cold and hot weather not to mention the pouring rain that comes along with spring. Although the team did not make it past the districts they worked hard to get there and played hard in the districts.

Senior Matt Stanley has been in baseball for all of his high school career he has been through many wins and loses but has played hard each and every game. He has been there when the team made it to the final four two years ago. He has made many memories with the team whether it’s out on the field, in the dugout, or even just in practice.

“I’m going to miss a lot of things about high school baseball, but probably the two biggest things I’m going to miss about it is first my throwing partner Errick Denning, we have thrown to each other since my sophomore year, not being able to keep the same routine as the last three years of us throwing to each other during practice, games, and off the field is going to be the toughest thing both of us could deal with,” said Stanley.

“Second I’m going to miss the process of every season. During January getting up at 5:30 and having open gym, throwing and hitting to be prepared for the upcoming season. Working out everyday after school to become stronger, every practice and finally playing in those games to show off what was accomplished during practice to show the work has payed off. Those are the biggest things I will miss.”

Stanley also said, “This year it would be amazing to make it to the final game of the year. That state championship game. WIn or lose in that game, it will be the farthest the Sterling High School baseball team has came to a championship in a long time, but the ultimate goal is to win state because we have the talent and work ethic to be champions.”

Sophomore Dustin Ferguson has been on the SHS baseball team for two years now is planning on continuing it for the rest of his high school career. He has made many memories with his teammates on and off the field. He has worked hard to earn his spot in the varsity games along with showing people that all his hard work has paid off. He has made accomplishments not just as an individual but has also helped his team make some accomplishments.

“This season has been amazing. It’s baseball, I love it. We have had our ups and downs but I feel closer to this team than any other team I have been a part of,” said Ferguson

Ferguson also said, “Best memory I have is last season when I made my first diving catch on my first game as a varsity player and standing up and listening to everybody cheer. Made me feel like I was here and ready to play. The biggest accomplishment this year is being a team that isn’t ranked in the top ten and beating the number three team in state. Even though they didn’t have their best pitchers we still held their high powered offense in check and showed them we are not a team to be taken lightly.”

The baseball team had a pretty good season with many accomplishments made. They did a few ups and downs as a team but they powered through them. They should every team they played that they are here and ready to play.  With all the practices they had outside and inside has helped them accomplish many achievements. Even though they didn’t make it past districts they played hard to try and make it to the championship. It was a hard year for them but they overcame it together as a team.



Tennis has had a great season for them many moved up to varsity and some moved up in varsity to singles or a higher doubles. It was a season with many improvements and accomplishments for the team. Although no one made it to state this year they had played hard and even beat some of the hardest teams. It was a great season for the team and they worked hard this entire season.

Junior Mckinzie Davis has been in tennis for her entire high school career.  She has been on the singles for most of her high school career. She’s been on varsity for the past few years and has worked hard every year she was on it. She plans on continuing with her tennis career for the rest of high school.

Davis said, “The season went really well! We had a lot of girls who were fairly new to the sport and by the end of the season we had all improved a lot.”

“The best memory I have from this season was from a tournament that got delayed so we made a fort on the bus and made the best out of the day before we had to play. I would say that my biggest accomplishment would have to be my determination throughout the season. It’s always easy to get discouraged but that’s when you just have to pick yourself up and keep going until you get where you want to be,” Davis also said.

Junior Julia Ssessanga has been in tennis for her whole high school career. This year she was number three singles which was an improvement from last year as she was number one doubles last year. She plans on continuing with tennis next year for high school year and to try and get move up in singles.

“My best memory from this year was our team night at the bowling alley where we all truly connected. A big accomplishment for this year would be staying strong even though I was down, learning to get back on your feet and stay strong mentally,” said Ssessanga

Ssessanga also said, “My goal for this year is to improve my footwork along with trying to stay positive on the court.”

The tennis team had worked hard this year and many had the improvements they wanted. Many of the players had gotten so many accomplishments and they had worked hard to get those accomplishments. Even though the no one made it to state they worked hard to get to regionals and worked even harder in regionals. It was a good season for the SHS Girls Tennis team.

Tennis picture

Tiger Scholar of April

By Abby Cross

The Tiger Scholar for the month of April is Alan Polly due to his outstanding technical expertise.  Polly has a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and plans on attending college for two years to study criminal justice, which he has always been interested in.

“My favorite school subject is Creative Writing because the class is very laid back and  because it doesn’t flow like a standard boring class, where all it is is do this, do that, and act  like you’re learning. Creative Writing is more realistic and keeps class interesting,” said Polly.

His favorite teachers are Mr. Moon, Mr. Blake and Mrs. Fehringer. Polly’s favorite memory from high school is when he bought his first car. In ten years, Polly has no clue where he will be and what he will be doing.

Some advice he has for the under classmen is: “Just do you work and don’t complain until you’ve finished. College in Colorado has to be done so just do it. You can’t change the requirements,” he said.

In his spare time, Polly enjoys gaming, game modding, house improvement, yard improvement and drawing. He has one biological brother, two step brothers and a step sister.

“One of my top role models is my step dad. He always tries to do things even if he doesn’t want to do them. He puts family first, no matter what and has been a great family man,” said Polly.

His favorite quote is by Eminem and says: “You don’t get another chance. Life is no Nintendo game.” This is his favorite quote because it is pretty much saying “go for it,” don’t hold back, but it also says don’t be stupid and learn from your mistakes.

Polly’s favorite book is A Child Called It because it is one of the only book series he has been able to keep reading, and it also links into his love for criminal justice.  

His favorite movies are the Final Destination movies, his favorite food is Italian food, and Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday because everyone can come together without greed and it does not get as much “hate” as the other holidays.  

“Looking back in time, I don’t think there is anything I’d change. Everything has gone very well for me,” said Polly.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


SHS Dissects the Competition at HOSA Conference

By Kirsten Hernandez

From March 7-9, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) held their state conference at the Denver Renaissance-Stapleton. There were 750 students that attended Colorado’s state conference. During the conference students attended general sessions, educational symposiums and competed in over 50 different Competitive events. A number of 26 students from SHS, Caliche High school, Haxtun high school and Northeastern Junior College attended the HOSA state conference. Of the 26 students, four made it to nationals which will be held in Orlando, Florida in June. 15 students made it into the top 10.

Lauren Zimmerman, a senior at SHS, has been a member of HOSA for all four years of high school. This year Zimmerman competed in Extemporaneous Writing.

Zimmerman said, “The best part about being a member of HOSA is getting to meet new people every year and learn new things.” HOSA has impacted Zimmerman’s life in several different ways, she said, “It has taught me to be a leader and work hard at anything you do.” Her favorite memory from this year’s state conference was eating pizza on the balcony or going to the recognition dinner with everyone. Zimmerman expressed her love for the program by setting goals and striving to help others and get them involved.

Cassie Schlueter, a senior from SHS, competed in this year’s state conference for the first time. Cassie made it in the top 10 in her event, Community Awareness. Although this was Schlueter’s first year being a member of HOSA it has already impacted her life.

She said, “It has really helped me decide what I want to do for my future through clinicals.”

Schlueter’s favorite memory from this year’s state conference was getting to know everyone she went with more. Schlueter said the best part about being a member of HOSA is getting the opportunity to compete at state, and guide her along her path through the medical field. She states that she would recommend this program to anyone who is considering the healthcare field.

Kodie Krueger-Wettstein, a junior from Caliche High School also competed this year. Krueger competed in Physical Therapy who earned her way into the top 10 as well. Her favorite part of state was visiting a symposium that included learning about the human body through anatomy and clay. This was Krueger’s first year in HOSA, and she would prefer to do it again. She states that the best part of being a HOSA member is experiencing careers that you are interested in and learn what the different opportunities are in those careers. Krueger plans to pursue attending HOSA, and is looking forward to more experiences to come.

HOSA impacts lives in different ways every year, and continues to prosper in health care. It certainly provides guidance to students and educators in directing them to their goals. Leadership is also focused on and taught to these HOSA members, and is a very important skill to learn in the healthcare field. These participating students encourage others to join HOSA for a great experience.