Copperas Cove senior heads to international HOSA competition

Special to the Leader-Press 

There are 245,000 HOSA members worldwide with fewer than 500 qualifying for the international competition this week in Nashville, Tennessee. 2022 Copperas Cove High School graduate Chelsea Waddell will represent her school district and the state of Texas, competing in the health science event of Dental Terminology. 
“I’ve always had a goal to do something that helps people, and after having to be in an orthodontist’s office on multiple occasions I realized the meticulous, hands-on work dental professionals do to better peoples’ health and boost their confidence through their smiles was exactly what I wanted to do,” Waddell said. “I specifically chose Dental Terminology as my event this year because I had already tried both the major dental competitions, dental terminology and dental science, and the former seemed like a more achievable competitive event to pursue while being a senior.”
Waddell’s event consists of a 120-question test. Waddell placed third on the test both at the regional and state contests where the top three finalists in each category advance to the next level competition. No feedback from the judges is received other than Waddell’s placement in the competition. 
“I’ve used this as confirmation that my studying was worthwhile, but I needed to focus more on small details. For the international competition, that is exactly what I did; I continued to study what I have been while adding in smaller pieces of information that I generalized in the past,” Waddell said. “For the regional and state competition, I was working my studying around school, and I was finding openings to study minimally each week. At the time, that looked like 30 minutes or an hour if I was lucky. With summer, I’ve found more time to study now, but I am still stretching myself between studying and preparing for the transition to college. Despite this, I try to look at my material twice a week for at least an hour.”
Fifty-eight HOSA competitive events are organized in collaboration with healthcare organizations and qualified healthcare professionals with who the competitor is able interact. This is helpful in terms of career paths and job opportunities and internships.
Waddell said her advice for others looking for success at HOSA competition is to believe in themselves, study whenever they can, and ask for help when necessary. 
“Sometimes when I was studying, I thought all my work was for naught because there was still so much I didn’t know and I had no clue what type of questions they would ask,” Waddell said.  
“But at the end of the day, mostly everyone is going through that and that’s what makes it a hard competition. The only way to get past that is getting familiar with the study materials in the guidelines and seeking tips from people who’ve gone through the same or similar thing before.”

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