KETTERING, Ohio – A new year of traditional high school rivals challenging each other to save and improve the lives of their neighbors got underway Thursday, Nov. 3 with the “Unity in the Community” Blood Drive at Fairmont High School.

The “Unity in the Community” campaign is a partnership between Community Blood Center, Universal 1 Credit Union, Alter and Fairmont High Schools, and Miamisburg and West Carrollton High Schools.

Universal 1 donates $500 to each school as an award for hosting a fall blood drive.  The rival schools combine the awards and present $1,000 to a charity, community organization or family in need.  The check presentations take place at an Alter-Fairmont basketball game and a Miamisburg-West Carrollton basketball game.

Fairmont set the pace with Thursday’s blood drive. “It was one of the highest number of sign-ups for the fall blood drive that we’ve had,” said Erica Rogers, who serves as co-coordinator of the blood drive with Activities Director Corey Miller.

Support rose 10 percent for this year’s fall blood drive with a total of 224 donors, 109 first-time donors, and 174 donations for 100 percent of the collection goal.  There were 23 more donors and a dozen more first-time donors.

“It’s been our highest fall blood drive,” said Corey. “We have a lot of kids who take pride in the Red Cord, so that’s another way to look at that.”

CBC awarded a $1,000 High School Leadership Grant to Fairmont for “Red Cord Excellence” in 2015-16.  The award is an indicator of strong student support at multiple blood drives because it recognizes seniors who have registered to donate at least three times during their high school careers.

The blood drive also gets strong volunteer support from sponsor groups the United Student Body and the Allied Health Career Technology Program.  Several Allied Health students donated at the blood drive and handed out juice and cookies to donors in the Donor Café.

“A lot of them want to be nurses, physicians our occupational therapists,” said Allied Health instructor Malia Pryor.

“It’s an opportunity for us to do phlebotomy,” said Allied Health student Emily Dunaway.  Students who meet the program requirements can earn a $3,000 scholarship to Sinclair Community College and the top students are chosen for CompuNet Clinical Laboratories internships.

For students like 16-year-old sophomore Daniel Montgomery, the blood drive was a new chance to help others. Daniel made his first lifetime blood donation Thursday, and heard about the Unity in the Community campaign for the first time.

“I hadn’t heard about it before,” he said. “But I thought it would be good to help people by donating.”

The schools alternate naming the charity to receive the $1,000 award. Alter will choose the recipient for the 2016-17 school year.  Last year the Fairmont United Student Body chose the “Community Summer Food Program” sponsored by Partners for Healthy Youth in Kettering.

Alter will host its Unity in the Community Blood Drive on Nov. 17.

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