Award-winning medical students exist beyond the confines of the Medical College of Georgia.
Many Columbia County high school students recently won honors at the state Health Occupations Students of America annual contest.
Lakeside High School produced three first-place winners: Angie Bush, 16, for research persuasive speaking and research paper; Zaheera Lukman, 17, for medical spelling; and Kevin Hackett, 18, for medical photography.
Angie, a junior, spent two weeks researching and writing an essay on the use of anti-depressants in children. She spoke about her essay to a panel of judges at the contest at Atlanta in March.
"I kind of psyched some people out," she said of her approximately 15 competitors. "While they were all nervous, I was just sitting in the corner and smiling."
Angie said her ego was boosted by the extensive research she conducted on her topic.
"We had a choice of writing on cloning or anti-depressants in children," she said. "Cloning is boring. Anti-depressants in children fascinated me."
Zaheera, a senior, watched medical videos and studied from a medical dictionary to win her contest.
"By learning the suffixes and prefixes to a lot of the words, I got the structure down, and that helped," she said.
Kevin, also a senior, turned in three photographs taken at the Doctors Hospital radiology department and burn center.
Rhonda Dunn, a health occupations teacher at Lakeside, said she overheard a judge say he was impressed by Kevin's "very professional" pictures.
"This is the first year (medical photography) was offered as a category, so I feel really honored to be the first one to win it," Kevin said.
At Evans High, Maritess Banez, Shari Barden, Rashida Payne and Nikki Vizzari won third place as a team in the HOSA Bowl.
Greenbrier High student Autumn Sasser won first place for extemporaneous health poster.
Mallory Brewer, also from Greenbrier, won second place for medical terminology.
All of the students are eligible to compete in the national Health Occupations Students of America competition in June in Anaheim, Calif.
Dunn said that she estimates it will cost about $1,200 per student to attend and that they are holding fundraisers to make their trips possible.
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