Buckeye High School anatomy students win state competition…again!
RAPIDES PARISH, La. (RPSB) - Make no bones about it. The human body is a complex system to understand, especially with Covid-19 impacting those bodies. But that didn’t stop Buckeye High School’s anatomy students from pulling together and muscling through a state competition designed to help understand what makes our bodies work.
“I got in school at 6:45, and I would walk in here every single day,” said Gabe Hoosier, Buckeye High School senior. “I would just sit here until the bell rang for 1st hour, and during that time, I would learn about a different body system that day. I ended up covering every, single body system in the human body before the tournament eventually started, which actually helped me out a lot.”
It’s that kind of dedication as to why students taught by science teacher Lacey Hoosier have placed and won in the Anatomage state competition - for the second year in a row. The winning team of this year’s competition were Gabe Hoosier, Celise Crenshaw, Buckeye High School senior and Emily Roche, Buckeye High School junior.
The Anatomage company, which is a company that designs medical tables to help medical students dissect a virtual cadaver, partnered with the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) to create a tournament designed to help students who want to major in the medical field.
The tournament is usually held at the HOSA convention every year and is only eligible for students who are members of a HOSA organization at their high school. Because of Covid-19, the organization has had to make it virtual since 2019, and they have allowed students who aren’t in the organization to participate.
Lacey emphasized that even though the competition had a new format last year, that didn’t stop her class from excelling.
“Last year was the first year and we didn’t know what to expect because it was virtual and it had never happened like that before,” she said. “There were only 15 or 18 teams last year, but we wound up winning last year, first in the state. I was super excited.”
With the excitement and the experience from last year, once Lacey received an email this year about the tournament, she urged her current anatomy students to compete.
“I immediately told anatomy, you guys want to enter this,” Lacey asked. “We are entering this. I paid for everybody to enter and we divided up into teams of three.”
After dividing up her class into teams of three, the path to this year’s competition for Lacey’s five teams was set for her students. Lacey points out that she had some concerns as the students got closer to the start of the tournament. Her anatomy class ends in May, so while the tournament began on November 9, 2021, she and her students had to compact a year’s worth of material into just a few months.
“We have had August, September, October, November and Buckeye High School is the only school in the parish who were hybrid for two months because of the condition of our junior high building,” Lacey explains. “I did not have them but two or three days a week, so we were severely behind, in the amount of material we needed to cover.”
Lacey’s students understood that learning a year’s worth of material in just a few months would be challenging, but by understanding their own strengths and weaknesses, along with working with one another, they felt prepared for the challenge that awaited them.
“Everybody was picked because of their certain strengths. Everyone specialized in a certain thing,” Gabe said, describing his other two teammates. “Celise knew the digestive system, and Emily did bones and then I would do something like muscles. Obviously, we weren’t limited to just those things, but it was all something we specialized in.”
More than 45 private and magnet schools competed in this year’s competition, with Buckeye High School being one of two public schools to enter. The first day required the student-led teams to complete a 25-question test in 5 minutes while using computers to answer and work on a virtual cadaver. Four out of five teams from Buckeye made it to the top 12 at the end of the day.
Lacey describes what the first day was like for her students.
“They had 30-minute rotations. The rest of the class would stay in here, while a three-person team would go into the computer lab,” Lacey said. “They would go on a P.C. and talk to the guy who would direct and teach them how to use the controls…when they were done, they would get a score and come write it on the board, and then the next group would go. You had no way of knowing if your score was good enough because it was unanimous.”
The final day of the tournament saw two of Buckeye’s teams making it into the final five, with one team winning to become state champions. Each member of the winning team won $200 and will be competing in the national, virtual tournament in June.
“It doesn’t feel real,” Crenshaw said. “Thinking about how I’m going to be competing against people from all around the country that I still haven’t grasped it in my head yet, that we are actually going to be doing this.
If there was one thing that the winning team felt helped them the most during the tournament, it was being a part of Lacey’s anatomy class.
“I just love knowing things,” Roche explains. “This class is definitely the thing for me. I’ve had an interest in being in the medical field, and Mrs. Hoosier is a great teacher and she loves teaching me things.”
Crenshaw echoed Roche’s sentiment and stated that, because of this tournament and being educated by Lacey, she said, “I just don’t think you should ever undermine yourself. We came in and thought we weren’t going to do it and had low expectations, but after it was done, we realized we could do it.”
The positive outcome and experience from this competition has convinced Lacey to start up a HOSA chapter at Buckeye. Because of this, her students will be traveling to a HOSA in-person tournament in March. Those who qualify in that tournament will head to the national tournament in Nashville, Tennessee in June.
Out of both in-person and virtual tournaments happening in June, it’s the one in Nashville that Lacey’s students are looking forward to competing in the most.
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