DAYTON, Ohio – Belmont High School began a new era in 2011 when it moved to its brand new “Bison Blue” building on Wayne Avenue. The Bisons reached another milestone the following year with the school’s first ever Community Blood Center blood drive. Their spring blood drive on April 10 marked six years of helping save lives.
Belmont hosts two blood drives a year, always in October and April. Belmont school nurse Marian Doukoure coordinated the first blood drive on Oct. 12, 2012, and is still the coordinator.
“We started in 2012 after we came over to the new building in November of 2011,” said Marian. She had been inspired to encourage blood donations, especially in the African-American community, after her three-year old nephew was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. She argued that students might miss class time, but they would be learning valuable lessons about community service.
Tuesday’s blood drive totaled 69 donors and 47 donations. Belmont’s October and April blood drives combined totaled 147 donors, including 63 first-time donors and 108 donations for 96 percent of the collection goals.
Blood drive sponsorship at Belmont is a joint effort between the National Honor Society and the Navy Junior ROTC. NHS advisor Thomas Peters is a CBC “Donor for Life” with 169 lifetime donations, and commonly donates at the Belmont blood drives.
“I think if you can see that your teachers do it, that’s encouragement,” said Thomas. “I’ve been donating as long as I can remember. We use the blood drive as a service project at Belmont. NHS has been involved from the beginning.”
Not all students in the NJROTC program at Belmont will join the military after graduation. Emphasis in the program is on developing good citizenship, individual discipline and leadership, and promoting community service.
“We don’t recruit, but I think of the blood drive volunteers, 14 are NJROTC,” said Senior Naval Science Instructor Commander Scott Smith. “It’s an opportunity for community service.”
Senior Kristian Jergensen made his first lifetime donation at the blood drive. He plans to join the Marine Corps after graduation. “My recruiter said to do it, but I wanted to anyway,” said Kristian. “I’ve always wanted to give blood and I thought I might as well do it now.”
“I’m old enough, and I wanted to,” senior Adriana Martinez said about her decision to make her second lifetime donation at Belmont. She sees it as a way to remember and honor her grandmother. “My grandma always got excited when we did this kind of student projects and told her about it.”
CBC/VECTREN LEAD THE WAY SCHOLARSHIP ENTRY DEADLINE IS APRIL 20
The Belmont High School spring blood drive was a chance to remind students that the deadline is April 20 to enter the CBC/Vectren Lead The Way Creative Scholarship competition to win $1,000 for college tuition assistance.
Scholarship applicants are challenged to design a winning marketing campaign for a high school blood drive. They must craft an original theme or slogan, explain why it would encourage students to donate, and creatively express the theme with conventional marketing techniques or innovative, artistic methods.
“I would probably do a song,” said senior Madison Robinson, an NHS member and volunteer who helped check-in students at the Belmont blood drive. “I play a lot of instruments,” she said. “I play piano. I’m learning guitar and ukulele. I dabble!”
Madison has earned a full scholarship to Wright State University, where she may study nursing or perhaps crime investigation. “I just want to help somebody, somehow,” she said.
That includes encouraging her classmates to come up with a musical idea of their own for a Lead The Way Creative Scholarship campaign!
Applications must be postmarked by April 20. Mail applications to: Community Blood Center, 349 S. Main St., Dayton, OH 45402, Attn. Education Specialist/Lead The Way. Examples of winning campaigns and the 2018 scholarship application are available at www.GivingBlood.org and at your high school. For more information contact Cristina Pickle at BloodEducation@GivingBlood.org.