CLAYTON, OHIO - Good Friday can be a bump in the road for the blood supply because so many donors are hitting the road for Easter vacation. Not a worry at Northmont High School. The 'Bolts have already enjoyed spring break, so students spent Good Friday, April 18 dreaming of the beach while hosting the "Be a Lifesaver - It's 'Jaws' a Pint" blood drive with Community Blood Center (CBC).
The blood drive theme comes from senior Chris Beecroft and sophomore John Bates. John is being groomed to take over student donor coordinator duties after senior members of the blood drive sponsoring Student Government graduate. He's guilty of stretching "just a pint" into "jaws a pint" for the slogan to match Chris' shark attack artwork on the volunteers t-shirts. "We kind of combined the two ideas," they said.
The t-shirt design inspired a beach theme for the entire blood drive, and Friday's sunny and warm weather cooperated nicely. Students wore Hawaiian shirts, beach hats and leis, signed their names on a tropical beach poster, and posed for photos with their heads inside the toothy jaws of a cardboard shark.
The gym was a beehive of activity with more than 200 students signed up to donate. Tables in the Donor Café were piled high with free pizza, snacks, fruit, bagels, donuts and cupcakes. Student Government volunteers were responsible for gathering local sponsors for food donations and the more than 90 prizes donated for a raffle. They sold raffle tickets for $1 each, with proceeds going to purchase extra food, help fund a scholarship, and contribute to Northmont's "Movie Night."
By the end of the blood drive 221 had registered, including 105 first-time donors, and 170 completed donations for 99% of the collection goal.
"It threw us off a bit to have the blood drive in April," said Julie Marshall who is co-coordinator of the blood drive and co-advisor of Student Government with fellow faculty member Kathryn Abels. "Its five weeks later than our traditional date in March, but today is actually going smoother than it ever has before."
Much of the credit goes to the experience and team work of the senior volunteers, especially student donor coordinator Maggie Woolf who has handled sign-ups and appointment scheduling since her freshmen year. "I collect all the papers of the people who sign up," she said. "Every night when I get home I put them into the computer and pick out the best appointment times to be out of class."
It's Maggie who has been training John Bates to take over the appointment coordination next year, no easy task with a blood drive the size of Northmont's. She hopes to continue volunteering at CBC blood drives when she starts classes at Miami University next fall.
"I started helping with blood drives because of my grandfather, who got an award for all the gallons he donated," she said. "My mom and dad both went to Northmont and they remember when everybody got dressed up for a M.A.S.H. theme blood drive. They told me it was a wonderful experience."
Dedication to blood donations has passed from one Northmont generation to the next. "This is driven - grassroots - from the kids and the staff members," said Northmont Principal George Caras. "It's become part of the Northmont culture. They control it and they understand the value of it. Anyone who feels bad about kids today - come see this. See how responsible they are and honestly care about their world. It's really something, and it's a tradition."
"I like what they've done and realize how important blood drives are, and how big a roll we play in the blood supply in our area," said volunteer Katie Howard, a junior.
The many first-time donors and underclassmen at Friday's blood drive continued the tradition. "I was too scared to do it last year," said junior Amanda Rose, who wore a floppy beach hat and Hawaiian t-shirt to make her first donation. "I decided I would do it this year!"
"I just felt it would be fun," said junior Caitlin Cuesta, who said she was sick and couldn't donate at last year's blood drive. She smiled all the way through her first lifetime donation and said, "How cool is it to brag 'Hey I just helped save three lives!'"