DAYTON, Ohio - Ponitz Career Technology Center strives to be an "economic engine for the region," fueled by young talent and churning out students with job-ready skills or college-ready career paths. When Community Blood Center (CBC) came to campus for the Tuesday, April 8 blood drive, it was an instant opportunity to both help save lives and to practice what they're learning.
Many Ponitz students are interested in health care careers, and the blood drive was a chance to see health science in action and be part of the process. Digital Design students saw an opportunity to set up a photo booth where students could strike "hero" poses after donating. Automotive Technology students pitched in by holding a car wash - indoors on a rainy day - to raise money and purchase heaps of pizza, sandwiches and snacks for the Donor Café.
As a result, a broad representation of the school played a part in the blood drive's success. The drive registered 90 students, including 21 first-time donors, and collected 66 blood donations for 116% of the collection goal.
Biotechnology Director Joshua Roark is co-coordinator of the blood drive with school nurse Judy Fehr. He brought his biotech class to CBC's Dayton headquarters in October to tour the donor room, component lab and testing labs. "My teacher pushed us to go donate," said Senior Damon Bradley, a biotech student who plans to attend Wright State University in the fall. Damon qualified for the CBC Red Cord Honor Program by making his third lifetime donation at the blood drive.
Fellow senior and biotech student Aleaha Branham volunteered to work in the Donor Café. She served Damon a slice of pizza and talked about her tour of CBC. "I got to see the real deal," she said. "Our set-up (the mobile blood drive) is not the same as the blood center. Like with older people donating. They donate WAY more than we do!"
Senior Sheldon Hardy, also bound for Wright State next year, decided Tuesday was the day to become a first-time donor. "I don't know," he said. "I never did it before. After four years it was time. Everything was great!"
The lunch waiting in the Donor Café was a nice surprise for students and it came courtesy of Automotive Technology Supervisor Rick Seither and his students. "I heard they were trying to raise money to buy food for the students to have something to eat after they gave blood," he said. "I had an idea that we could do a car wash, charge $10 apiece and raise about $200. I sent out an email and got a flood of responses and filled up my schedule."
Most of the requests came from faculty members, Rick's automotive students worked the car wash in shifts, and Language Arts students also volunteered. "It was a great way to get students and teachers from all across the school involved and be part of the blood drive," said Judy Fehr.
Seniors Shane Cooper and Devon Marinelli, both Digital Design students headed to Sinclair Community College next year, ran a very professionally organized photo booth. Andrew Rhinevault made his 4th lifetime donation, then had his picture snapped. He viewed his smiling image on a laptop, then received a free "suitable for framing" glossy print with "Ponitz Blood Drive" printed down the side.
But Ponitz students left the blood drive with more than a photo. They took away some pride in accomplishment. Dental student Diamond Tucker was quiet and seemed a bit nervous as she made her first lifetime donation. But when asked what motivated her to donate, she answered with a smile of satisfaction. "Everything!" she said.