HHS student wins 1st at international event!

HHS student wins 1st at international event!
Posted on 07/25/2018

Hickory High student wins first place

at international competition


When a rising junior at Hickory High School competes in Pharmacy Science against students from foreign countries such as China and Canada, as well as all 50 states in the nation, the pressure is on.

But after Chloe Lum placed as one of the qualifying top three at the North Carolina competition for Health Occupational Students of America (HOSA), she realized game-level preparation for the HOSA International Leadership Conference and Competition would demand an entirely new intensity.  

The pressure was real; but Lum could only hope her studies would pay off. This was the first year (a pilot year) for Pharmacy Science to be added to the international competition, so there was no precedence to gage participation, testing and achievement.

Lum recently traveled to Dallas, Texas, where 10,000 students gathered to compete in several categories on the international level. In the decisive stretch in Lum’s category, the high school finalists were tested in two rigorous rounds including a written exam and a multi-component skills scenario.

In the end, as the top achievers were called to the stage,  the name—Chloe Lum, from Hickory, North Carolina, was announced as the first place winner of the international competition in pharmacy science.

“I was extremely nervous but I am overwhelmed with excitement,” said Lum. “I didn’t think I’d make it to the top ten, and then they announced my name as one of the top three. I was standing on the stage, and they announced the third place winner, then the second place winner, and then I knew I had won!” she said. “I was smiling so much—I just became numb.

“When I walked off one side of the stage carrying my award plaque—I was looking for my Hickory High health science teacher, Mrs. Amy Elliott, who escorted me on this trip. She had gone around to the other side of the stage—but when we finally caught up with one another, it was all screams of excitement!” said Lum. “Then I first called my parents, Karen Lum and Gerry Lum—followed by calls to my two best friends.”   

According to Lum’s HHS instructor, Amy Elliott, RN/BSN, extensive study occurred in class and outside of class in preparation for the international event. “We did a lot in class to prepare Chloe through Honors Health Science and she studied all supplies used by pharmacists and she purchased several books. She was taught medical terminology and medical math in class. She also learned how to remove medication from a vial (one of the tested skills) and she studied each of the required medical steps,” said Elliott.  “In addition, Chloe’s mother is a nurse practitioner—so Chloe was able to shadow a pharmacist at the hospital where her mother is employed.

“Chloe was tested on dosage calculation, identification of medications by trade and generic names, pharmacy tool recognition, questioning of a patient with a new medication and withdrawing medication from a vial, pharmacy law and ethics, disorders and treatments, sterile and non-sterile compounding, verifying content of a controlled substance prescription, and so much more,” said Elliott.

HOSA offers 60 competitive events that are aligned to the National Healthcare Foundation and Accountability Criteria outlined by the National Consortium for Health Science Education.  The mission of HOSA is to empower HOSA-Future Health Professionals to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration, and experience.

In addition to preparing for state and international competitions, Lum plays lacrosse at Hickory High and she is a member of the HOSA Club, Beta Club, Interact Club, and Latin Club. She is also enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Hickory High for her junior and senior years of high school.

“It’s amazing that Hickory High is now represented as a first place winner at the 2018 HOSA International Leadership Conference and Competition,” said Lum. “I was the only first place winner from North Carolina in any competing category. 

“I am thankful to my family, my wonderful teacher, Mrs. Elliott, and Hickory High for offering valuable health courses in their Career Technical Education (CTE) program,” said Lum. “Hard work does pay off. The entire experience has been incredible and I am overjoyed—as one day, I want to be a pharmacist.” 


International first place winner, Chloe Lum, with her teacher, Amy Elliott.

(Article by Beverly Snowden, HPS director of communications)

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