Call it a homecoming or call it a birthday party. The annual Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drive at Stivers School for the Arts is always a celebration of the joy that comes with giving the gift of life. Just ask the now retired school nurse who started the drive, and he young students who now support it.
When former Stivers school nurse Monica Whitty retired from Dayton Public School last May she promised her colleagues she would return as a volunteer at the high school blood drive. She started the drive when she became the school nurse at Stivers more than 10 years ago and watched the drive grow. She linked her support of blood donations with her mission of building self-esteem among her students. They responded with 715 donations and 15 Red Cord Honor Program graduates.
At the Friday, Nov. 30 blood drive the torch officially passed to Peg Senne, the new school nurse and blood drive chairperson at Stivers. Monica was there to help greet students and steer them to registration. “I love it!” she said about serving as a volunteer. “It’s better, really because I don’t have to run off to manage a nursing situation in the building. It’s great, and I get to see my buddies.”
While Monica chats with parent volunteers Osha Godsey and Dawn Hopkins in the Donor Café, seniors Ashley Pavy and Samantha Riggs eat cookies and talk about their goal of earning a Red Cord to wear at graduation. Samantha qualified with her donation today, Ashley will need one more.
Across the gym, a group of students gather on a set of bleachers, waiting to be called into screening. “I was a little nervous before I got here,” say first-time donor Noah LaChance. “But I’m not nervous anymore.” “I just want to do it to help,” says fellow first-time donor Devonta Rayford.
Senior Tra’chell Jones waits for screening with a handful of dollar bills pinned to her blouse. Today is her 18th birthday and she is “wearing” dollar bill birthday present from her friends. “I’ve been doing it since I was little, at home and at school,” she said. “I bring cupcakes for my friends.”
To Tra’chell, being able to give blood on her birthday is an added treat. “I did it on my birthday last year too,” she said. As an experienced blood donor, she is often in a position to give advice to classmates. “They ask me, did it hurt? How did you feel?” she said. “I told them it was a good thing afterward. I figured out I saved a life. That motivates me. It’s not a bad experience, you get to help people.”
As Tra’chell settles onto the cot ready to donate, Monica is visiting with junior Markita Cummings who is just finishing her donation. As Markita head to the Donor Café she describes her feeling as “awesome.” “Because this was my first time trying I was able to donate,” she explains. “The last two times I tried by crit level has been too low, but the third time’s the charm!”
Markita takes a sip of juice and smiles with satisfaction. “Now that I’ve done it, I feel really good. “I feel like I helped someone, so I’ll be doing it again.” It was the sense of accomplishment Monica Whitty always promised the students, and the commitment she always encouraged.


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