Since freshman year, I have always been a part of HOSA. I have been to every conference since 9th grade and I have has memories that are enough to last me a lifetime. This past year, my best friends and I decided to take on the competition "Community Awareness". The goal of this event was for the competitors to choose a topic which they believed needed to have more importance and raise awareness on that specific topic with a lot of different activities throughout the course of the year. After much thought, we decided to raise awareness for Alzheimer's. But as we researched this topic we found that stress is actually a major cause in the development of Alzheimer's. So with this topic in mind, we started in June of 2018 on developing what would become something we would later be immensely proud of : Power In Purple.
We started an Instagram and Facebook and now we have over 800 supporters on both platforms combined. We did a total of over 15 events over the course of the entire year. From a Karaoke Night to a Donation Drive at school to writing multiple articles to Yoga Day to volunteering at a local memory center, each event and every weekend we would be working someway or another on this project and it was something that was much more than just a competition. By the end of the year, we had raised more than $250 to donate to the Alzheimer's Association and gained the support of multiple communities in the Atlanta area. We presented to 100's of students who were in elementary, middle, and high school and we gained so much love and support from everyone.
As the competition date got closer, we worked to develop a presentation to present to the judges. It was a short 5-minute presentation where we had to encompass a year's worth of work which was hard but, somehow we managed to do it. Ever since finishing our scripts, it was practice practice practice.
As the day of the competition rolled around, we presented to multiple people that we know and we didn't know and took any advice anyone had to give to us. We worked tirelessly over such a long period of time and at one point, we were able to recite our lines in our sleep. Everyone was telling us that our presentation was so good and we were going to do amazing and with this, our confidence starting building up. After finally getting over it and presenting to the judges, we decided that we should not think about it anymore and whatever happens, will happen.
It was the morning of the awards. All three of us got up, did a little prayer and proceeded to get ready for the day ahead of us. One by one, each competition was being announced and the winners came one by one to receive their awards. As it got closer to our event, the three of us held our hands and squeezed each other's hand and were huddled together. Finally, it was time. "Community Awareness" was shown on the screen that was displaying each team. I slowly looked up and couldn't find our names anywhere. I looked at my teammates and then I looked at the screen again. I was instantly devastated. For the rest of the session, we just stayed quiet and didn't say anything more.
Then the session finished, and one of my friends walked up to me and saw the tears start to form in my eyes. She extended her hands out to me and immediately following this I just started sobbing. She started to say these words of encouragement and all I could think about was the year that my friends and I went through. I thought to myself "All the obstacles we faced, all the time we spent, and all the preparation we did just went all down the drain". The rest of the day I was so sad and dejected that I didn't want to talk to anyone about it and I didn't want to say anything to anyone.
Then the next day I finally felt a little better. I looked at the portfolio we made to show to the judges once again. I expected to start sobbing and cry again but instead, I started to smile. This time, I remembered all the memories and inside jokes, my friends and I made over the course of the year and this feeling of satisfaction came over me.
I reminded myself of all the things we did in my mind. The impact we made was amazing. We spread our message to so many people and because ous, , they now have a better understanding of Alzheimer's and stress. And this is when I realized that without this experience, I would have never gotten tunderstandnd how much this movement that we created meant to me. Purple was not just another color anymore but it was something that became a part of my high school career and something that will remain the highlight of my junior year.
The medal we would have gotten if we won perhaps wouldn't have given me the same feeling I had. I realized that this was something I love and I know that we made an impact and that is all that matters. And in this process, I found lifelong memories and two people who I know I can do anything with. We achieved more than we expected to and did not get the results we wanted but that is the beauty of this experience.
We let our success be measured by something like a medal or a grade or some kind of materialistic thing . But really, what we should be looking at is the way that this achievement will remain in your life forever. Take my experience for example, though it was something that we put our heart and souls into, we didn't get the results we actually expected. Instead, we got something that meant so much more. We realized the value of what we did and the value of the people we were able to reach.