Piper Slinka-Petka receives honors

Preston High School senior Piper Slinka-Petka of Kingwood, daughter of Michelle & David Hoffman and Lisa & Louis Petka, is very busy as she wraps up her high school career. Slinka-Petka is a member of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) at PHS and the secretary of the WV state-level chapter of the (CTSO) Career and Technical Student Organization. Slinka-Petka has been a member of PHS HOSA since her sophomore year, making this year her third year in HOSA. Her interest in health care has led to her acceptance at the University of Pennsylvania where she will study a pre-med track in psychology, with goals of attending medical school and completing a residency in plastic surgery.

Slinka-Petka was selected as the state chapter president last spring after competing with seven other students. According to Slinka-Petka the process was lengthy. “I had to complete the application and interview process, write an essay, take a test, give a speech, and speak to delegates from across the state.” She said she was honored to be named state secretary and that the experience has provided excellent leadership opportunities including hosting leadership workshops and attending officer training in Glade Springs, where she learned how to serve as a state leader. Prior to her state position, Slinka-Petka held the vice-president position of PHS HOSA and currently holds another VP position this year.

At last year’s state conference, Slinka-Petka said she heard a great motivational speaker Sam Demma, author of Empty Your Backpack: Unpack Your Beliefs, Take Consistent Action, and Create a Life of Meaning. “His whole motto is about letting go of all of the things that have happened to you and people that have doubted you so that you can succeed in small consistent actions.” She was motivated by his speech and took those lessons learned into her own leadership role.

In addition to HOSA and her state position, Slinka-Petka also takes advanced placement, dual credit (college) course work, and medical assistant coursework in the CTE (Career & Technical Education) program, is a member of the National Honor Society, is a varsity cheerleader, and participates in the following clubs: Interact Club (formerly known as Key Club) and pep club.

Slinka-Petka and PHS HOSA members will travel to the state leadership conference this March at Marshall University in Huntington. Amanda McCleary and Jodi Bell, PHS CTE teachers, serve as advisors for PHS HOSA and will accompany the students to Marshall in mid-March. Slinka-Petka said any students interested in health occupations should consider joining HOSA. “The club has really grown from 13 people, my sophomore year, to about 36 – 40 people this year.” While Slinka-Petka is the first student from PHS to serve at the state level, she encourages students to take advantage of the opportunity for leadership roles such as hers. “I feel like as an officer I was able to represent our school and being an officer has its perks because I am able to get the school in to stay at the main hotel for the state conference, which provides additional [networking] opportunities for students.” For Slinka-Petka, the opportunity has been a great experience “it’s taught me how to lead and innovate. I love working with the officer team that we have…at officer training the entire weekend was dedicated to leadership, goals, ambitions, how to work together as a team, and a lot of really fundamental skill building. I just feel that HOSA has given me a lot of skills that prepare me to move on.” At the University of Pennsylvania, Slinka-Petka plans to continue her participation in the college level HOSA. She added that one of the national HOSA leaders attends college there as well…maybe Slinka-Petka herself will eventually serve on the national HOSA stage. Preston County Schools is proud of Piper Slinka-Petka and wishes her all the best in her future endeavors.

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