DANBURY — The top two graduating seniors are hoping to end their Danbury High School careers with another prestigious accomlishment as they prepare to compete in an international competition this summer.

Valedictorians Cole Dahlstrom and Amy Stahl share an interest in the medical field and are members of the school’s chapter of HOSA, an organization for future medical professionals. They put together a presentation on a steroid called Oxandrolone that can be used to treat burn victims’ muscle tissue.

After wowing judges at the area competition, the seniors went on to win first place under the medical innovation advancement category at the state competition in Corpus Christi.

They are now gearing up for a final competition June 23 in Orlando, Florida, where they’ll go up against winners from other states and nations at HOSA’s 40th International Leadership Conference.

Beating some of the top schools, particularly students from Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, was an incredible feat in itself, Dahlstrom said.

“We didn’t go against just 3A schools. It was against schools like DeBakey High School, Pearland, Manvel, Klein,” Dahlstrom said.

The duo placed in the top three out of about 30 teams at the area competition hosted by Clear Creek ISD. The competition seemed even more daunting when it got to the state level, Stahl said.

“It was pretty intimidating to see all the big schools’ projects and we were just like, ‘Well, it was fun to come to Corpus Christi,’” she said.

The state competition had about 21 projects in each of the two categories. Texas happens to have the largest and most competitive group of participants, Dahlstrom said.

The idea of doing a project on Oxandrolone, how it works and how it compares to other steroids came to Dahlstrom while interning at Shriners Hospital in Galveston. The senior said he’s interested pursing a career path in either orthopedics or dermatology.

“This past summer I had the incredible opportunity to conduct research at Shriners Burn Hospital in Galveston,” Dahlstrom said. “In my time there, we did a clinical trial with rats where we administered Oxanadrolone over a period of time.

“Even over a seven-day period — which is what the clinical trial was — Oxandrolone was still working effectively within the body,” he said.

When it came time to create the project, Dahlstrom knew he wanted to center it on the fairly new drug, which has been around since the late 1980s. He then enlisted Stahl to join HOSA and be his partner on the project.

While Stahl wasn’t a member of the organization until this year, she’s known since freshman year she wants to become a psychologist.

“I’ve always been really passionate about helping people and listening to people,” she said.

After graduation, Stahl will attend Stephen F. Austin University and Dahlstrom will go to Texas A&M University.

Stephany Garza is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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