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LHS club helping prevent flu

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Health Occupations Students of America club gets state honor

By Jesef Williams

People throughout South Carolina will soon learn what a Lancaster High School student-driven group has done to promote health in Lancaster County.

The LHS chapter of the Health Occupations Students of America, or HOSA, is the December pick to the All-Health Team.

The All-Health Team recognizes youth in the state who are positively impacting the health of their communities.

LHS’s HOSA club is being honored for its efforts to educate and prepare the school community to fight influenza – whether it’s the seasonal flu or H1N1 (swine flu).

The club’s project is called “Stop the Flu.”

Earlier this semester, the group began preparing small bags filled with hand sanitizer wipes, cough drops and information about how to prevent catching or spreading the flu. Each teacher received a bag for free; the group sold the bags to fellow students for $1 each.

“The goal is to try to cut down the cases of H1N1 or seasonal flu in Lancaster County,” said Susan Burgess, a LHS teacher who advises the HOSA group.

“They stepped up and have been a really good group this year,” she said. “Very enthusiastic.”

For their work, the HOSA group has been awarded $500 to expand the “Stop the Flu” program as well as All-Health team gear, a statewide news release and a television commercial on WIS-TV in Columbia.

On Dec. 3, a cameraman from the TV station visited Lancaster High to film segments for the commercial, which spotlights the group while further spreading its health message.

Joann Moton Minder, program manager for the All-Health Team, was on hand that day to formally present the HOSA group with its honor.

She said the “Stop the Flu” project is timely.

“This is flu season, and they’re understanding that and developing a project to educate others,” Moton Minder said.

“We want to get them involved in promoting healthy measures while they’re young, and hope it will carry on for the rest of their life,” she said.

Senior Quavis Tucker, president of LHS’s HOSA club, said the group wants to expand its flu kit efforts to the Lancaster County community. The group will carry the project into 2010.

“Since the flu is really bad, this would get people to understand what you can do to prevent it,” Tucker said.

The All-Heath Team

The All-Health Team is the result of a partnership among the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, WIS-TV 10 and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

The program, which has been in existence since 2003, picks a youth group each month as a member of the team.

The Lancaster High group will now vie for one of three grand prizes that will be announced early next year.

The group’s commercial is expected to first run Dec. 21 and continue for about two weeks.

For more information about the All-Health Team, visit scdhec.gov/allhealth.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or (803) 283-1152