MERIDEN — Two Maloney High School students pursuing careers in the medical field are scheduled to compete in a national skills competition this month after winning their respective categories on the state level.
Annie Patel will compete in the Nursing Assistance category and Afrida Hoque will compete in the Medical Terminology category of the National SkillsUSA competition.
“I’ve always had a passion for the medical field as a kid,” Patel said. “I took this class in hopes for it to clarify whether this was the field for me or not. Everything came naturally and I loved learning about medicine and the human body.”
The two seniors are led by Maloney High School’s longtime medical careers instructor Cindy Simone, who has a professional background as a surgical nurse, visiting nurse and college nurse.
“I am so happy to have this opportunity which I had in high school,” Simone said. “To bring it forward, especially in Meriden. I have been blessed with such great kids that really want to learn. If they want to learn, I want to teach.”
SkillsUSA combines students, teachers and industries to ensure a skilled workforce, according to its website. The organization helps prepare students who are going into trade, technical and skilled service occupations including health.
The conference will be completely virtual this year with local hands-on elements for competitions. The students will stay at the high school and all of their work will be live streamed for the judges.
Patel and Hoque are both in their third year of medical careers classes and are currently learning pharmaceuticals and how to diagnose diseases.
For the competition in her category Friday, Patel will perform three skills on the live stream, complete a written test and an interview. She is also preparing for any unexpected stations that may come her way.
“It’s an element of surprise,” Simone said. “We have no idea what could be asked or asked to do. So she has to be up on her skills and know her physiology and anatomy.”
Hoque, who is also the class’ salutatorian, competed as a sophomore and took home a silver medal. This year on June 16, she will be completing a 100-question exam while on camera.
“I’m not as nervous,” Hoque said. “I have experience with medical terminology that I didn’t have before. I still am nervous because I won a silver medal last time so I want to do that again.”
The awards ceremony will be live streamed on June 24 from 3-8 p.m. through the SkillsUSA website.