CECHS Ibarra advances to HOSA National Conference

Dr. Dennis D. Cantu Early College High School’s senior Dayanara Ibarra, who hopes to pursue a career in the medical field and eventually become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), has advanced to the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) Future Health Professionals National Leadership Conference. 

Ibarra, who is the first Cantu Early College High School (CECHS) student to advance to the HOSA National Conference, will represent CECHS, Martin High School, and Laredo ISD at the national conference at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas June 21-24. She will compete against the top students in the nation in her respective event, Life Support Skills. 

At the national conference, Dayanara will have the opportunity to compete in events that are specific to her health profession interests. Ibarra will participate in competitive events that highlight her abilities within various categories including health science, health professions, emergency preparedness, leadership, teamwork, and recognition. 

During the state competition, Ibarra competed with 18 students and placed third in the Life Support Skills event. Only the top three students from every event advanced to the national conference. So, these students are part of an elite group of the top three students in their respective state and event.  

Dayanara, who had never been in HOSA and is competing for the first time this year, was in shock when she heard her name called.  

“I was covering my ears because I was stressing out and scared. What if I don't get it. I had the feeling that I forgot something or missed something,” said Ibarra. “So, when they said my name, it felt so wonderful. I was so happy my heart dropped because I made it. I was like I’m the first girl from Martin High School to make it to nationals.” 

Attending the upcoming national conference with Ibarra will be her HOSA sponsor and CECHS Health Science teacher Mandee Walker.

“I am extremely proud of Dayanara for advancing to Nationals. She has put in a lot of time and effort in preparing for competition,” said Walker. “It is awesome to see her hard work pay off. She is deserving of this opportunity, and I am excited to see her excel in her respective event.”  

Ibarra plans on using her experiences at the area and state level at the national conference. “This was my first year competing with other people. I learned a lot about competing that I will use at Nationals,” said Ibarra. “Now I have more experience competing with other people. At State I was like competing with Texas people from different areas and now that I'll be competing with people from all over the United States. It's going to be fun and exciting.”

 In her first year as a member of HOSA, Ibarra has gained a better understanding of what it means to be a healthcare professional. “Being a member of HOSA, I have learned a lot about the medical industry that I really didn't know,” said Ibarra. “I was really interested in being a dentist, but HOSA changed my mind. Now I know being an EMT is in my heart, and I want to show other students what EMT’s are all about.” 

            Dayanara credits her family, teachers, and friends for her success. “My family so proud of me especially my mom and grandma. I’m very thankful to them for being there for me,” said Ibarra. “Also, my teachers and friends that have been staying with me after school to practice on them. I asked them to stay with me so I can use them as my patients and my teacher Mr. Aguilar who helped me learn to do the procedure right. I’m very thankful to them, without them I would not have succeeded.” 

“HOSA gives Dayanara and our students the chance to develop important skills to become leaders in health professions,” said Walker. “These skills include teamwork, communication, interpersonal skills, responsibility, and character.” 

“Dayanara will be exposed to top level competition and have the opportunity to showcase the knowledge of her event,” said Walker. “It is a great networking opportunity, because not only are other high schools in attendance, but colleges and universities as well. She will build relationships and create memories that will last a lifetime.” 

Ibarra is a member of the National Honor Society, Martin High School FFA, cross country, and track teams. 

She plans on attending Texas A&M Kingsville to purse a degree in the medical field. Dayanara hopes to return to Laredo and help her community as an EMT.