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GHS senior tops in health competition

May 26, 2010 - By Meredith Mayberry

Staff Writer

Ben VanSlyke is happy about winning first place at the state-wide Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) competition through the Genesee Area Skill Center.

But that doesn't mean he wouldn't be happier if he won at nationals.

VanSlyke, a 17-year-old senior at Goodrich High School, is currently enrolled in forensic science classes through skill center, a trade-school atmosphere with job-specific courses that involves Genesee area schools, such as Grand Blanc, Clio, Davison, and schools throughout Flint.

"Meeting so many different people is my favorite part of skill center," VanSlyke said. One of the people he met through the program happened to be his partner in the HOSA competition. Tyler Lee from Grand Blanc High School, worked with VanSlyke to win first place in the HOSA regional championships in February, and they recently took first place in the state competition, as well.

The national competition will be held in Orlando, Fla., in June.

"I'm not really nervous about it," VanSlyke said.

"I mean, it's not like there's a global competition, so getting to nationals is impressive enough."

The GHS senior said he and Lee are oddballs in these CSI-like events. "Neither of us are really heading toward the medical field," he said.

"So we're not like everyone else." His and Lee's involvement in HOSA's competition has less to do with the actual classes they take and more to do with what those classes entail. Because their classes involve interactions with dead bodies and bodily fluids, VanSlyke and Lee were directed toward the health occupations competition.

"We were kind of the oddball guys," he said. Instead of the medical field, VanSlyke said he wants to work in the military or with a federal agency. "I've been involved with the military for several years, and I have a lot of family ties with it, so I could see myself going into that," he said.

"Skill center has really helped with that. It makes high school classes seem irrelevant."

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