SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Sylacauga High School (SHS) senior Mary Wilson recently won the grand prize award at the state Career Tech Student Organization (CTSO) conference. Mary Wilson placed first in the video essay competition called, “Tell My Story,” where students were asked to tell their story explaining their Career Tech organization from different perspectives.

Mary is president of the Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA) chapter at SHS, and her story was about the impact that involvement with HOSA has meant to her.  Mary explained quite simply that “HOSA changed my life.” She went on to describe the personal difficulties in her life during her freshman year of high school, and that she had no inner drive to succeed.  “When I walked into my first health science class I thought, ‘what am I doing in here?’ because my health and emotional state were not good.  But as I began to gain proper nutrition, I developed a healthier state of mind and body, while I also began to have more drive to succeed,” she said.

Mary credits her teacher, Lisa McGrady, for encouraging her and nurturing that drive.  “Mrs. McGrady began asking me to help with small things that broke me out of that cycle. As I gradually became more involved in class, I also became more involved in HOSA.”

In the last few years, Mary’s involvement with HOSA activities has also developed leadership skills that have helped her grow personally. In turn, her leadership has helped challenge her fellow HOSA members at SHS to strive for a higher level of excellence in their competitions. “I try to encourage everyone to get involved in an activity, because that can make such a big difference in their life. Because of what I have learned through HOSA, I have been able to tell my story and share my testimony with ease,” she stated.

Mary learned she was the winner of the video contest in front of 6,000 CTSO members at their state conference, earning her HOSA chapter the cash prize of $500. Her award-winning video was produced by fellow students in the SHS journalism class.

Through the Career Tech Health Sciences curriculum and HOSA, Mary Wilson has found her calling in life. She plans to attend Auburn University and earn a degree in nursing, with future plans to be a nurse practitioner.  “I love patient interaction, and I feel like I can best use my God-given talents in that way,” Mary said.

Congratulations to Mary Wilson for this tremendous achievement!

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