Jason Iyobhebhe is modest when it comes to his student accomplishments at Sun Valley High School (SVHS) in Aston, but he has nothing to be modest about; particularly his most recent accomplishment as a HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) state gold medalist.
Iyobhebhe is part of the Delaware County Technical School Medical Careers program that is available to high school seniors interested in pursuing careers in the medical field. The academic program is extremely competitive and participants are vetted through a rigorous entrance criterion.
Iyobhebhe was selected for the program based on his exceptional performance in high school biology and chemistry classes, perfect attendance and flawless disciplinary record.
On Wednesdays and Fridays, he attends clinical rotations and shadows Crozer-Chester Medical Center staff as they care for patients. He also spends time in the operating room, the emergency department, the Intensive Care Unit, the pharmacy and lab; in physical and occupational therapy, in Nutrition Services and with all nursing units learning from career-based presentations from an array of health care professionals including: nurses, physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, medical technologists and pharmacists.
It was through this program that he was introduced to the HOSA Future Health Professional State Conference competition that allows high school students in medical career programs throughout the state to compete in a variety of medical categories. Iyobhebhe chose to compete in Medical Terminology at the competition held in Lancaster on March 13th and 14th.
“Medical terminology was something that has interested me during my time in the medical careers program at Crozer,” said Iyobhebhe. “I enjoyed studying medical terms gradually, learning the Latin roots and realized it was more than memorization. You start to associate the terms with the different parts of the body and it comes naturally.”
“You don’t realize how many terms there are,” he said, adding, “Learning the terms forces you to learn about the different parts of the anatomy you didn’t even know about.”
He won the gold medal for Medical Terminology at the state conference, beating approximately 50 other students from across the state in his category. As the first place winner, he has been invited to Disney World in Orlando, FL to attend and compete in the HOSA National Leadership Conference on June 25th through 28th. Additionally, he has an opportunity to apply for a variety of scholarships offered by HOSA to students pursuing higher education in the medical field.
“It was a pleasure bringing Jason to the PA HOSA conference,” said Rosemary Barakat, RDNSN and teacher for the DCTS Medical Careers Program. “Over the last few months I have watched Jason studying his medical terminology in anticipation of his competitive event. He answered questions in the classroom that no other students could, because of his knowledge of medical terminology. He was dedicated to representing himself, and our school, in the best possible light. I was thrilled when he took gold at the state conference.”
Iyobhebhe’s interest in medicine began when his family physician noted that she saw personal qualities in him that would make him a good doctor. That, paired with his affinity for science, peaked his interest that he looks forward to sharing with others at the national conference in Orlando.
What is looking most forward to? “The plane ride! I love airplanes,” he said.
It was on an airplane that he came to the United States from Nigeria in 2006 with his parents and younger sibling, eventually settling in the Penn-Delco School District.
In addition to ambitious academic pursuits, Iyobhebhe participates in a mixture of extracurricular activities. In the fall, he’s a member of the varsity soccer team and plays striker. In the winter and spring, he participates in track and field as both a triple jumper and a middle distance runner.
He also works part time at a local fast food restaurant; is also an active member of the FCCLA/ Vanguard Volunteers group that conducts a number of activities to engage and improve the community; and he’s a member of the Sun Valley Spanish Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society through the DCTS.
“Jason stood out to us as a top candidate for the Medical Careers program,” said Rosemary Edmiston, SVHS assistant principal. “His solid academics and involvement made him an excellent candidate. We are proud to know that Jason is one of the most successful students in the program at Crozer.”
Barakat attributes his success in the program to his “dedication to learning.”
“Jason has many fine qualities, but one of his most admirable is his outstanding work ethic,” she said. “His assignments are always completed on time and are a reflection of a very conscientious student. His assessments are consistently ‘A’s’ and his hard work has given him the highest GPA in my class.”
“I am amazed at Jason’s writing ability,” she added, “After each clinical shadowing experience, students must write a journal, sharing what they have learned. Jason’s journals are full of information that he learned from nurses, doctors, and physician assistants; information that could have only been gained by engaging the staff in conversation, not simply shadowing them.”
Iyobhebhe plans to attend Millersville University and explore the school’s 3+4 pre-med program, which allows students to attend Millersville for three years preparing them to transfer to a top medical program at a partnering institution for the next four years.
“My mother always told me never to limit what you can do and to always keep pushing myself,” said Iyobhebhe. “It is my family’s support that gives me inspiration to pursue and succeed in medicine.”